Woke up round 9, locked up and got dressed.
Located coffee bakery shop with view of old church. Great start to any day.
Walk towards river and find pedestrian only street that follows the river.
Cross river on pedestrian bridge, walking past boats, cruise ships.
Many boat restaurants seem permanently docked, while party cruise ships sail but likely not very far, just round Lyon at night.
Continue walking through old Lyon, cobblestone streets now, no cars.
Rest in front of smaller, still big church courtyard with fountain.
Kids group takes over fountain and courtyard so I watch as they learn and play.
See stairs that seem to go up forever, keep walking, many head up this way.
Pass by ATMs, Subway and other new stores that have been retrofitted to old architecture.
Another flight of older, smaller stairs that no one is using, figure best to mount & struggle with them alone.
Hundreds of stairs later and I’m at the top, sweaty but not too out of breath.
Locate bench to recover, see kids ride up on bikes.
One takes out spray paint can and tags small area with blue symbol and they run away.
Amazing view of Lyon from highest point! Mix of old and new buildings, cathedrals.
You can see the two rivers, Rhone and Saone, that bisect the town and all of old Lyon below.
Thinking Lyon > Paris
Blind accordion player situated right by tram is a blur of fingers as he plays a fast tune greeting the tourists departing the rail. Change please is the name of this tune.
Head to nature park, hospital grounds, behind the cathedral.
See buses pull in and older crowds appear.
Head down different route, down a steep street, then stairs, back to a street and so on until I’m in old Lyon.
It’s afternoon so must be time for ice cream, everyone has a cone or bowl. I drink the last of my water, don’t want to waste my stair workout on a cone.
Rush hour traffic makes it harder crossing roads.
Head to hostel to refill water bottle and use Wifi. Locate a park nearby that used to be a military fort.
Fort is closed but huge courtyard is open, people skating, playing soccer, basketball.
I find a skate park and post up on bench to watch skateboarders and in line skaters turn tricks on small ramp and pool like bowl, while sun goes down.
On the walk back home run into a groc store so get some things, first large grocery store with produce and meat market I’ve seen, most are very small convenience sized.
Sit on the grass in now crowded park near hostel and eat a sandwich. People are drinking wine, playing chess or cards while children play on the equipment.
Gaze up at apt that overlooks the park to see a man, with arm over a woman in front of him on their windowsill, sharing a smoke. Most romantic scene I’ve encountered in France but alas they are too far to photograph even when I zoom.
Decide to get beer for the night vs paying 5$ per pint.
Stop into Lidl, a small groc store similar to Aldi that I’ve seen throughout the country.
End of day discount for croissants is too good to pass up, a quarter vs. 1.5$!
Return to hostel to put beer in fridge to see lady using all the burners to cook beans, sausages, veggies. A queue of pasta is lined up to one side of the range as people wait.
I shower and return to find someone in my bunk sleeping. What?!
Talk to reception, yes my bunk was given away and they are totally booked.
For about 2 min I’m convinced I will have to find another hostel for the night. It’s 10pm.
After talking with another guy and checking computer, he says they saved a bunk that I can have for same cost, but in a room with fewer people. Score!
I head outside with a beer to calm myself after transferring my bags to new room.
Thus far people have been sleeping at all hours of the day when I’ve entered dorms, 3pm, 7pm and 9pm.
I place the rest of my 6 pack into the fridge and head outside to cool down from my near panic moment.
I sit next to older man quietly smoking hand rolls and drinking wine. Throughout he night he will go through two bottles, glass after glass in silence.
I overhear English for a change, mostly French and Italian before tonight.
I decide to join them after my next beer.
‘English, where are y’all from?’ I ask.
‘N Ireland,’ one them tells me.
They are drinking wine, Cotes du Rhome, by the bottle and are amazed at the price.
They are following N. Ireland team across France as this is first time in a decade they’ve scored a goal in the Euros, much less qualified to play.
I tell them I’m from the states, ‘ah well what’s the fooking deal with Trump, man? Get that sorted out.’
They all laugh and tell me it’s hard to talk to an Irishman without including politics.
They find a small cup on the table and pour me some wine, ‘drink what we drink, mate.’
The next few hours they rag on one guy who is driving them to Marseille in the morning but promised not to drink past a certain hour, which has long passed.
Just after midnight he leaves, weary of arguing about how pissed he is and how sober he’ll be in a few hours.
They eat crips from a huge bag, each farts loudly the whole night.
Politics is discussed, they do want a united Ireland but more than that, a new system. They worry about what the UK would do if they left, how the EU works, trade improvements, etc.
We change subjects to music. I list Beatles, radiohead, the Clash as my favs.
They don’t like U2, Bono is a cunt, but have all seen them live and conceded they put on a good show.
Round 2am they agree to call it a night, 4 bottles later, me a 6 pack in.
We are the only ones outside.
I wish them a good trip and said I’ll follow the team during the Euro series.
Song: Phoenix 1901