Day 6 June 7, 2012
Au Revoir, Colmar! Bonjour, Lyon!
We were lucky to be in Colmar for at least one morning farm market. After our breakfast, we hurried over to the old section of Colmar to see what they were selling at the market. The first things we saw for sale were mattresses. Go figure. Anyway, we bought cherries, goat cheese (no surprise there), fresh bread, garlic and bean spread, and olive sausage. The sausage was sort a leap of faith since it wasn’t even closely related to sausage you would find at a grocery back home (an explanation is required here – it is dried sausage that has been aged; rather strong tasting and a bit “gamey,” but delicious nevertheless). We also stopped at “local” pastry shop a few doors down from our Colmar home to say goodbye and get a pastry for the train trip.
The TGV was lovely. The seats were very plush and comfortable. The train made so little noise that we had to look outside now and then to be certain we were moving. As we darted through the countryside, it was striking to find every parcel of land was “touched” by humans. If there is “wild” France someplace, we haven’t seen it. The countryside was lovely and the crops seem to be doing well.
Lyon is a BIG city. We pulled into the station and had to navigate the crowd from the TGV station to the local trains. We did really well and managed to follow our host’s directions for the two train stops and transfer. We did especially well with her directions that said when we got out of the subway to look for the big statue and “walk in the direction the horse’s tail is pointing.” Our home for the next two nights is in a third floor apartment on a wide pedestrian shopping street. It is just lovely. We feel like locals already.
After getting settled we headed out for what turned out to be not what we expected. We thought we’d take a boat tour to get oriented to the city. The fact that it was rather sunny and warm made being on the water seem very appealing. We sat in the second row and were thinking that we were going to be pretty much alone on our lower level of the boat. Moments before we were to pull away, we were joined by a wedding party of about 25 men, women, and small children. The bride, in her wedding gown, was African American French and the groom, in his tux, was African French. About two-thirds of the way through the tour, the bride got up and was given the mic and led us all in “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” One of the bridemaids then led us all in a rousing rendition of “Down by the Riverside.” It was a hoot.
The first real rain of the trip so far caught us by surprise and drenched us on our way back to the hotel. We dried off, changed clothes, and headed out to dinner. We found a lovely street with nothing other than open-air cafes. We chose the one we were standing in front of when another downpour came. It was fine and we were grateful to have avoided ordering some type of organ meat by accident. The menus in this part of France are riddled with parts of animals we don’t normally choose to eat. I’ll not go into more detail on that.
We have a full day in Lyon tomorrow. It is the gastronomic capital of France, so we should have a great time – barring downpours!