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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Europe CNY 2012 - Day 10 - Lyon

Europe CNY 2012
Day 10 - 28th January - Lyon


Revelation from the previous evening: anonymous social intercourse with people you need never see again is very liberating. No wonder people like one night stands!

This day I took a flight to Lyon.

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Greenmarket, "Scene of the worst riot in Edinburgh's history" in 1736

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"EatScotland"
Arguably substituting the knife and fork for the saltire dishonours the flag

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Annoying photoshop for Bank of Scotland

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Scottish National Gallery

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Works on Princes Street. The Loch Ness tour guide had said that the tracks were laid 2 years ago and had never been used - now they were working on the lines again. Sounds like the lifts in my block - they installed new lifts and almost immediately emergency maintenance was needed (maybe they awarded it to the lowest tenderer)

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George Street

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James Maxwell

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Scott Monument

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Dr Livingstone, I presume

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Train tracks

Annoyingly, everyone gave me different directions to the airport bus stop, but I found it eventually.

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"warm, welcoming, relaxing (this bloke's not bad either!)"
Airlink - airport bus ad

A guy at the bus stop had lots of badges including ones that were flags and "Glasgow's Pride" but the bus moved off before I could do anything.

The airport bus not only had wifi but power plugs (at the disabled seat, with a warning about 240V for Americans). Amazing.

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"Edinburgh Airport. Inspiring journeys"
It wasn't so bad that I wanted to leave.

There was an airport charge of £1 for dropoff - not even for parking. Gah.

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"Take 1 bag of airport shopping IN ADDITION to your hand luggage*
Excludes Ryanair"
I hate Ryanair.

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"Taste of the USA. US inspired burger and beer only £11.50. Or try the real thing, and fly direct to New York and Orlando"
The newest ethnic cuisine. I wonder how the recipe is adulterated.

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Crisps: "Roast Chicken made with 100% British Potatoes" vs
"Roast Chicken"

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Free plastic bags for you to pack your stuff. Love it.

There was a very spooky application of technology at the airport:


Hologram projected onto a board, with pants and shoes at the bottom and a translucent cutout at the top. At least it wasn't a boring presentation.

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Airport encouraging impulse shopping: you can collect your purchases on your return

My original intention was to have the marked down shortbread for breakfast, but the Cheese and Bacon Cornish Pasty from West Cornwall Pasty Co called to me. Sadly it wasn't fresh nor crumbly, and as expected it had little bacon (it was mostly potato). The lamb one I'd had on Bluebeard's Castle night had been better: more meaty, more crumbly, and fresh too.

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"Thank you for choosing Edinburgh Airport for your journey. Haste ye back"
This is a nice motto, even if most people don't really have a choice (according to travelmath the 2 other airports near to Edinburgh are Glasgow and Dundee, both 50+ miles away [vs 8 for Edinburgh airport] and the latter doesn't do international flights).

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Cooked English Breakfast: "Traditional Scottish Breakfast with: Prime pork sausage, local back bacon, baked beans, free range scrambled eggs, mushrooms & grilled vine tomato"

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Daring RBS ad claiming Edinburgh is the "Home of the Enlightenment".

There was something on "federal law" on a counter at the gate and a fine quantum denominated in $. I didn't know Edinburgh was part of the US.

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"No dogs except guide dogs and dogs travelling with passengers"
I suppose this mean you can't buy your dog a ticket to travel by himself. Sad.

When we landed in Lyon it was raining Dippin' Dots. It was more painful landing on me than ice kachang.

One ground staff told a woman "Prenez photos de l'avion, c'est interdit" (it's forbidden to take photos of the plane). Bizarre rule.

Bad translation at passport control: "Citoyens UE. Citizens UE".

The idiot passport officer stamped my passport under the "This passport is valid in all countries except" page. So I was worried I wouldn't be able to visit France in the future (they let me in in October, but who knows?) I pointed out her error to her, and she gave me the equivalent of a gallic shrug.

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Ahh, the pariochialism of les provinces. As this was the airport, this should've been bilingual!

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"Are you ready to endanger your safety? Counterfeit products are responsible for many accidents"
The hysteria of the intellectual property cartel

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You can take a taxi all the way to Geneva. Very good.

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Flirt with the porter at the airport

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"Automatic doors. Because a door that opens by itself is no longer an obstruction for all, automatic doors are replacing doors you need to push and pull"
I love how they take care to explain the replacement of doors.

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Roman Medicine Exhibition at Museum

A plum tartelette at Paul cost €3. This was almost as much as in Singapore. I had a mini-croissant, because I remembered the one from March 2011 was lousy, but this was okay.

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In France, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is titled "Men who didn't love women"

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Eat French, eat Cheap. Less than €1 for meat (110g per person - you can check what they used for their calculations on Auchan's website).

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Cool Navy Ads: "what if you were already a sailor without knowing it?"

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"Young Cosa. What the fuck?"
Huh

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Lyon Cathedral (of St John the Baptist)

Too late, I realised that the address of the Hostelling International hostel meant it was on a hill and I would have to trudge up with my bag (it was number 41 and there were 2 houses at the foot of the hill, but a long walk with no buildings after that). Luckily my metro ticket still worked for the funicular (there're free transfers within an hour).

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Sign for Roman artefacts in the funicular. This was novel. But it was impossible to admire the artifacts as the car did not stop.

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Map of foot of the hill of Fourvière

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Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière

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It was closed for renovations from 10 Jan to 3 March. GAH. January was really an awful time to travel.

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On the basilica


Lyon Panorama from top of Fourvière hill

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I was amused they had a chapel for Thomas Becket

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Strangely there was a Chinese connection (more on this in my October 2012 travelogue, which should come out before October 2013)

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ATM in church compound. Beside the Chinese sign too. How appropriate.

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"Voluntary abortion. Need to talk..." ("Interruption volontaire de grossesse" refers to an abortion for non-medical reasons)
Hurr. The official stance of the Catholic Church is that abortion is not justified even for medical reasons. Ratzinger will hear of this!!!

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Gallo-Roman site of Lyon-Fourvière

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Theatre

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Glass window of next-door Roman museum

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Memorial to someone who died here in Feb 1944

In the end I ended up walking further, since I took the funicular to the wrong station and had to walk down the hill. Number 41 was actually opposite number 16 so it wasn't that far up the hill.

Anyway the hostel was only €8, and the room had a lot of power plugs (in London there was half a power plug per person and in Edinburgh about 2 - this had even more I think).

I felt a bit sad seeing people eating food in the hostel. It was Lyon, the French capital of gastronomy!

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"Do not hang anything from the window (site is listed by UNESCO)"
This was lame

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Lyon from Fourvière hill

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Lyon by night

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Motorised Wheelchair speeding up hill. Go disabled!!!

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"Cow Street"

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Montée des Chazeux. I didn't try to climb up.

I went looking for a dinner place. One recommended by the Rough Guide was gone, and another was full.

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L'Amphitryon, famous restaurant

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Heat lamps. Very wasteful.

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Le Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon) since 1947
They didn't let me in. They were probably hoping for a couple to come in, which would net them twice as much revenue as one person while taking up the same space.

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Menu of Le Panier à Salade, which let me in

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Terrine de campagne (Country-style terrine)
This was nice and rich. I prefer terrine to foie gras (which is too rich)

A guy came into the restaurant to sell flowers - but it was only 28th January. Then again, the French are known for being good lovers.

There was an option for a "communard" but that was just a kir with red wine so I passed. As was too often the case, the bread was not crusty (it only had a hint of crustiness).

For my main I decided to try something new:

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Quenelle sauce Nantua. There was a bubble when it came.

From what they told me it was rolled up and puffed pork with cream sauce. The place was recommended by Trip Advisor and Lyon was the French capital of gastronomy so I decided to try it though I didn't know what a quenelle was. Unfortunately I didn't notice any meat.

The cream was rather bland and unsalty and the quenelle itself was like bread. Maybe the guy said it was made of bread (du pain), not pork (du porc). Oops. Later the guy said it was a brioche.

The lack of saltiness was easily solved, but I must say soy sauce is superior in this respect as it's easier to homogenise the food after adding it.

One girl at another table ordered Orangina, served in a glass marked "Orangina". It looked like a free glass you get when buying the drink, quite gauche.

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Boring crème caramel. It was quite firm - a good one should be wobbly. I think crème caramel is actually nicer with gula melaka (gula kelapa for you Indonesians) - there's more depth to its taste.
The dessert menu was boring: crème brûlée and chocolate something (cake, from what I saw at the next table) were the other choices

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"You are at the end of the Silk Road (from China to Lyon)"
Really? If Lyon, why not Paris, Antwerp, Bruges or London?
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