Day 14 - 1st February - Lyon
Lyon in snow again - the cold weather continued
Bugnes. A local speciality. I'd never seen it before. There was a sample so I tried some. It was very light and crisp, with icing sugar.
For breakfast, I decided the other items didn't appeal to me so I opted for the classics (croissant, pain au chocolat). In the end I ended up giving a bit of the croissant and the pain au chocolate to beggars.
First, since it was very early, I went to the cathedral.
Book of Life.
Relics of St Jean-Marie Vianney, curate of Ars
"This prayer can be lengthened in lighting a small light"
I was amused that the names of the months on the primary clock face are in English
One could hear the clock
The stained glass was well described, and from the 13th century.
Window of the Redemption
Nave to door
Rose Window, in West Transept (above Astrological Clock)
Henry IV and Mary of the Medici were married here in 1600
"To the eternal memory of St Louis, King of France"
This gushes on about his virtues. His remains stayed at this cathedral in 1271.
Chapel of St Vincent de Paul
Window of Good and Bad Angels
Window of Two Adams
Life of St John the Baptist
"The Virgin among Virgins"
When I saw this, I laughed
Municipal library (Palais St-Jean)
I don't know why I took this dog
From bridge beside cathedral
Basilica from below
"Borgen, a woman in power
From the first episode, you will be like them: ready to do everything to go to the end"
Bellecour (large square)
This was the second time I'd seen a woman on a kick scooter (second time period, too). As with how generally only women wear boots that tells you something. Later I saw a few more kick scooter users - and all were women again.
Louis XIV statue
Basilica from Bellecour
The tower is above the metro entrance. I liked that.
Apparently it was a big thing that the Samsung Galaxy Note was available in White. They copy the iPhone in more than one way.
"Choose your side of the force: Jedi Burger"
Ad for the same TV series as earlier: "To make the best TV series, we went so far as to take the worst of human nature"
Cute pun. "Or €n Ca$h" (This is a pawn shop, "or" is "gold")
"Choose your side of the force: Dark Burger"
Apparently no one liked Quick's Dark Vador Burger
Get advice on tax reduction! I thought it was not kosher to talk about reducing one's taxes in France
I then went to the Fabric and Decorative Arts museum (housed in the same complex).
Museum of Decorative Arts
You get a Late Bird discount of €2 after 4pm
Courtyard from Museum
Photography (even sans flash) was not allowed. I kind of understood as they were sensitive to light.
The Decorative Arts Museum was laid out like a palace, i.e. quite blah (for example, the labelling was lousy, being mainly card holders on shelves, so if something was at the back of the room you wouldn't be able to see the label). The layout suited the collection as it was mainly 18th century stuff. Probably things looted from palaces during the Revolution. Here, sans historical significance/context they were even more plain than in normal palaces (e.g. Versailles, Schönbrunn). Actually some of the stuff was even quite bad - perhaps the Fine Arts Museum had had first dibs.
The Fabrics Museum was more interesting. Not least for the commentary: "Mahomet disappeared in 632", "The Mongols were seduced by Persian textile production".
Even more interesting was some really old textiles. For example jambière aux chevaux ailes (leg pad with winged horses, which was very nice), from the 5th-6th century and Antinius in Egypt. There was even stuff from the 3rd century which was very well-preserved (from Egypt, naturally). It was rare indeed to see textiles which were so fine, as they degraded easily.
There was a 4th century caftan of pimias, also from Antinus, Egypt. It was basically a peacock on silk design.
The museum had a room showing examples of damage from light and pollution to textiles.
In the Ottoman empire, only Imperial Workshops in Istanbul could use metallic thread.
There was a special exhibition with dresses for Virgin Mary statues (for Notre-Dame de la Daurade in Toulouse). They were mostly 19th an 20th century robes (though they started dressing them from the 12th century), but there was one from 1760-70. The monks of St Maur had a book to track the "descentes" (descents?) of the Black Virgin. They recorded the miracles of the effigy and the offerings. The phrasing was amusing: "les dons qui ont été faits à la statue" (the donations which were made to the statue). So it was like idol worship! There was alo a 21st century robe for the Virgin - in a camouflage pattern (i.e. military garb). Err.
There was a fragment of a sarong or "écharpe, selendang" for "Women of Chinese Origin". Apparently other races couldn't wear this type of sarong.
On le costume 1870-1900: "Le corset se maintient tandis que le costume façon tailleur donne de la sinuosité à la silhouette féminine, affinant la taille, dessinant les hanches, accentuant la cambrure tuant des reins (seins?) et la saillie de la poitrine". This was a fancy way of saying that the corset was very uncomfortable.
There was a painting, "Murmures" from Lyon by Bucol after Paul Delvaux, 1979. 5 young women with hats, nice hair and jewellery but they were topless and showing off their pink nipples. Wut:
In looking for this picture, I found a page of someone who took some pictures of both it and other items in the collection. The page is in French but you can just look at the pictures: Lyon (VI): Dernier jour, dernier musée... - Nouvelle Feuille
Sadly but predictably the bulk of their collection was French stuff from the Enlightenment Era and especially Lyon. In other words, from the time when Lyon was big in the Fabrics business. This was not too interesting, with the Persian, Dark Ages and Egyptian stuff being much more so. I was thinking maybe I should have gone to the Gallo-Roman museum isntead.
For lunch I looked around. There was cheap tapas:
€2 patatas bravas!
However I decided to go for Asian food.
Viet place menu
5 minute Bánh xèo
3 minute nems. This was actually a special request - the menu item came with rice and was a main course; I asked for an entrée portion.
This made me think of whether it was safe for most people to eat them in Vietnam. The cold ones would be liable to attract bacteria, and the hot ones would be eaten with uncooked lettuce and mint.
Interestingly, the food came quickly but people were eating à la française (i.e. slowly).
The decor was very Chinese, which I found very amusing. Even before going to Vietnam (which came 3 months later), I'd known that they'd stolen a lot, but it was amusing to see it in the flesh.
This lantern was particularly striking: "小田原城". I recognised this correctly as Japanese, and have found that it refers to Odawara Castle. Perhaps their decor was not too Vietnamese after all. Not that many clients would be able to tell.
Chinese (?) Mandarins
From the outside the Vietnamese cafe "Petit Grain" didn't look like an Asian restaurant.
Delights of the East
"Say YES! to condoms. 1€. 5 lubricated condoms. Making love for 20 minutes is 300 calories burnt"
I protest the racist act of putting a picture of Africa on the package and so linking Africa with STIs
Paul: stuff you can't find in Singapore (i.e. pork)
Stuff I got: a Chouquette and an Apricot Tart
I found out why the chouquette was so cheap - it was all air
The tart wasn't very good being all sour, and there wasn't enough crème anglaise to counter the sourness. And it wasn't fresh, so the layers of the pastry were not flaky.
"A stop in the station, a stop in life. SOS travellers"
So much for helping travellers - weekend hours are very short at "Travellers'aid"
I then took the plane to Stansted in the UK.
Planned obsolescence - they retired the airport bus for the train
"No entry (acces authorized by prefectoral decree)"
It must be difficult getting people access to work in the airport
I took Easyjet back to the UK. Easyjet was in Terminal 3, which was like a warehouse.
I'm not one for frills, but this was ridiculous. Terminal 2 was not that good but at least it was better.
The first picture especially is representative of the long, bare, spooky, empty corridors, reminiscent of the lairs of Evil Geniuses. It was a temporary building, but still.
At least I managed to buy something from a Brioche Dorée. I love Brioche Dorée - it is both cheap and good (definitely cheaper and better than Paul).
My chocolate feuilleté was chock full of warm fresh chocolate
Slightly more normal airport scene
To save time during security screening, "place yourself in the trays provided"
Apology for the shitty building
"You are passing through the future terminals 1 and 3"
Another foreboding corridor
EasyJet was super kiasu. Before checkin even closed (i.e. >40 minutes before the flight) there was an announcement to say you had to go to your gate immediately. Maybe they were scared it was too far due to the construction.
Worse, they announced the gate was closed but let people in. So if they tell you that the gate is closed, you must come immediately. If they tell you that you have to come immediately to the gate, you must come to the gate. And if you are told that you must come to the gate, you can take your time.
Cute packaging for Les Galipotes d'Ardin: "All the ingredients of love". "Galipote" is part of an expression about womanising, amusingly enough.
"iPhone charger. iPhone not included"
You don't need to fill in the UK landing card if you have an EU passport. Makes one wonder why the card is in French and especially German.
I've found that, with the arguable exception of warnings about the death penalty for drug trafficking in Malaysia and Singapore aside, UK immigration's signs are the most hostile towards their customers.
The "all other passports" sign at Border Control said "including US citizens". Perhaps this was for dumb Americans. Or dual citizens.
Cute ad aside: Yes! In Europe you have rights if your plane is delayed, unlike in Asia! No wonder Easyjet and Ryanair are so expe...
"The Low-Cost way to London. From £8
The Fastest way to London. 45 minutes"
This is a perfect example of market segmentation
"No mobile phone use
Outdated sign from Swine Flu era
There was no one at Stansted Customs, so I couldn't have declared anything even if I had wanted to.
They admit they are screwing you with exchange rates at the airport, but tell you at least it's not as bad as if you waited even longer. Well done.
I used Scottish money to pay at the Airport Duty Free. The cashier paused, then asked if it was from Scotland. Hurr.
English breakfast hotdog. With spicy baked beans, brown sauce, mushrooms. The cashier gave me the chips free. The guy asked me how it was: the mushrooms were boiled (sautéed would've been better) and bacon would've been good. He said they were limited by their facilities. Frankly all this didn't work -grilled onions owuld've been better.
I bought 2 pairs of Clarks for £90 (there was a sale) and finally bid farewell to my old, battered New Balance pair, which had served me on many travels over the years (since 2007, I believe, and maybe even mid-2006).
Vending machine accepting multiple currencies
There was a cleaner who set off the security screening machine. Amusingly they scanned her broom.
I then took a 3 hour bus to Oxford. One streth had lots of very reflective metal stus in the road. There were different colours for the lane and road shoulder, and when a turnoff was coming up too.
One thing nice about English highway signs - they warn you they are coming up. So a sign will come up with 2 strokes, then a sign with one, then the actual sign. This was good so you wouldn't miss, say, directions.
At Oxford I bunked with Hum Sup Guy who, beside offering me his room (and bed - he took the floor) feasted me as only he can.
"I'm glad you are come, for there is such fun here!"
Pear and Raspberry
Various yummy things
A life skill I want to learn but will probably be unable to: how to spot a hair weave
When my stick was out some people in Lyon gave up their seats to me. This didn't happen all the time.
The UK Android Market had movies. Singapore sucks.