Just about every European city has a card you can buy for a specific amount of time (one day, two days, etc.) that will allow you unlimited use of the city’s public transportation as well as free entry into most of the museums in that city. Yesterday I bought a Lyon card for a museum blitz today. Travelling with Susie, we were not in many places where it was conducive to visit museums, but Lyon has some great ones. You learn so much!
Here’s what I learned today (in museums and around town):
- The garbage truck comes at 656am.
- Too much time and money is wasted having breakfast at the hotel – just a coffee and croissant in some small café on the street tomorrow.
- Mass in French in the small chapel next to the big Mary church on the hill is beautifully sung a capella and the acoustics are great.
- Lyon was the hub of the Roman Empire in this area. Two Roman emperors were born here. You can see the ruins of the two amphitheaters they built on top of the hill.
- In Roman times, when a person died, they were burned with some perfume and food on a funeral pyre. Their ashes and bone fragments were put in a jar and buried under a headstone. Some folks left just the top of the jar showing, with their headstone imploring passersby to remember them by pouring wine down the jar and onto their bones. (I know who of my friends would choose this option – you know who you are!!)
- The first movie was made in Lyon by Monseiur Lumiere (lumiere in French means light, amazing, no?). Mr. Lumiere was making photographic glass plates at the time and the first movie was workers coming out of the factory.
- Lyon was the center of the resistance in WW2. Women and kids 16-18 helped as the men were at war or arrested. Most did not make it.
- When it’s a long holiday weekend, many restaurants where you might have lunch are not open.
- Black stockings are back.
- A picture of a monkey eating grapes, a peacock on the wall, and a parrot with its mouth open symbolizes greed, vanity, and gossip-mongering.
- Kir makes a good aperitif.
- The toilet in my room (and my neighbor’s room) makes a scary noise when you flush.
- French people make that same yawning sound when they’re tired as we Americans do, morning and evening.
Traveling is so educational!