Sunday, February 1, 2009
Lyon, Je t'aime
In which our heroine travels to another foreign land and meets a Jew
Yes, it's true, I have left and returned to this lovely city of Barcelona quite successfully. If you dislike coincidences, good food, and great museums I suggest you just skip this entry. Actually, I suggest you get yourself checked out, because who doesn't like those things?
On Friday morning I boarded a plane to Lyon, France with Linda Levin and her roommate Catherine. Did you know:
Lyon is the second largest city in France?
It boarders the French Alps?
It has a fairly sizable Jewish population?
It has a miniature Eiffle Tower and a HUGE ferris wheel right in the center of the city?
You can buy condoms on the street in vending machines?
I did not know these things. I also did not know that when people talk about French loving their bread and cheese, they're not kidding. Seriously guys, best cheese and bread I have EVER tasted. I wanted to leave my tongue in France to soak up some rays and savour good food for the next dozen or so years, but that didn't work out. Ah well, I guess I'll just have to go back.
Now onto the most ridiculous coincidence of my life. Seriously, hold yourself together for this one. When we had been in France for maybe 3 hours, and on the street for less than 45 minutes, we saw a guy walking in front of us wearing a backpack with a Canadian flag on it. He had stopped some French couple to ask them to take his picture. They complied, handed him back his camera, and went on. He looked at his camera, sighed, and stopped us to ask, in French, if we could take the picture for him. I looked at him, smiled, and said, "English?"
We all laughed, he talked about Toronto for a minute, which is when Linda asked if he knew her friend Ilana. Now let me remind you it's crazy we ran into an English speaking Canadian to begin with, but when he DID IN FACT KNOW ILANA I nearly passed out. Guess what? Mark is Jewish. And apparently there are a total of 100 of us in the world and we all know each other. He also knew one of my friends from EIE (the study abroad program I did in High School). He is studying in Lyon and spent the rest of the day giving us a tour of the city.
We went to the Roman ruins, the Viex Lyon (a great view of the city), checked out the Cathedral, wandered around the old city (I guess Jerusalem isn't the only 'old city' out there), tried some great chocolate croissants, rode the ferris wheel, and ate at a tiny restaurant for dinner. Possibly the best food I've ever eaten. Plus, Mark acted as a translator for us the whole day which made navigating about a million times easier. Also made getting vegetarian food much easier. It'll take me a while to get over the fact that we just ran into the one person in the city who might have connections to us. AMAZING!!
Saturday we slept in, then went to two great museums. The Resistance and Deportation Museum which was all about the resistance groups in Lyon during WWII and was both educational and depressing. We followed that with a trip to the Museum of Textiles and Cloth. Everything we saw in their boggled the mind with its detailed beauty. No wonder they didn't invent the TV for so long, who needs TV when you can just look at your wall and be entertained for weeks at a time?
We also came across a street protest/strike. I don't know what it was about, but apparently strikes are a regular part of the culture in France. They just don't feel the week has been complete without one or two strikes. I'm glad we got to witness at least one. I feel I was officially inducted into French culture through my strike experience.
Today we headed home where I have yet to start on my homework...story of my life I guess.
Well if you want postcards from the next stop (Lisbon) just let me know and I'll do my best. For now though, hugs to all from my lovely city of Barcelona.