Sunday, June 15, 2014

Photos and Observations on Lyon

I won't be writing any new homilies over the next few months unless under extraordinary circumstances.  The French studies are coming along but not quite that fast.  Given the complexities of French it is unlikely I would ever try to preach in it.  It is coming along given that we have had only nine days of classes.  On Thursday and Friday we covered things such as prepositions and so on.  I realized that it is very hard to have a conversation without knowing prepositions such as next to, above, under and so on.  Also learned how to give directions.  We are finally approaching that critical mass of words and concepts necessary to have a conversation that can result in further learning. 

The weather cooled a bit.  At 6:30 it was about 55 degrees with a nice breeze.  One man said that Lyon has some of the best weather in France.  I can't argue at the moment.  Though one of my teachers was complaining about the heat when it was hitting the low 90's during the day the humidity was only 22%.  After the horror of eight summers in D.C. this is absolutely glorious.  The problem is getting dehydrated and not realizing how much body water one has lost.  

Now that jet lag is gone I woke early yesterday morning and went out just as the sun was coming up to take photos over in Vieux Lyon.  Some of the results with explanations will appear below.  There was/is an international exposition of the come-to-know-our-country type at Place Bellecour.  I made two separate visits there yesterday with camera in hand.  Exhibitions ranged from a fashion show of Cambodian fashion to Irish step dancers, a Brazilian watercolorist who specializes in abstract paintings of beach and soccer scenes and many others.  

Two of the men in the community took me out for dinner last night.  Lyon is about food.  There are several streets within walking distance, not counting Vieux Lyon, that are chock-a-block with cafes, all of which have outdoor seating under awnings.  They line both sides of the streets rather like the bars on Bull Run in Plymouth before the flood (for those who know no explanation is necessary for those who don't none is possible).  I had one of the dishes typical of Lyon, boudin noir, that is black sausage.  Black because that is what happens when one cooks blood inside a sausage casing.  Very good meal.  The other two men were going to a movie but I chose to walk back to the house.  Didn't think I could say awake for a movie in French that wasn't beginning until 10 PM.   It was the first time I was on the streets of Lyon after 7 PM and the first time on a Saturday.  This is a bustling city.  Lots of young people.  I don't know what time it shuts down but it was certainly booming at 9:30 PM.  Of course I could still read a book with normal print sitting outdoors at 9:30 PM here.  Apparently somewhat farther to the north than Boston.  

Some of yesterday's photos. 

The architecture here is beautiful.  Obviously very old.  But it seems even buildings that are newer are designed to enhance rather than clash and stand out.  

The windows of the apartment building fascinate me.  Apparently each floor is a separate residence.  I am not entirely delighted with the alignment of the photo.  I was taking the it from the opposite side of the Saone, the sidewalk was slightly pitched and I couldn't quite get centered.  Nonetheless, I like the effect. 

By way of contrast this apartment window is just across the bridge.  To get to the main entrance for St. Georges, turn right at the corner.  Not quite as luxe.

Av Victor Hugo just off Place Bellecour.  I walk this twice daily to and from the subway.  Shops line both sides of the street for a great distance all the way down to the train station at Perrache.  Having seen no evidence of elevator shafts I suspect all of these are walk-ups.

Saturday morning farmer's market along the banks of the Saone. 

The Basilica of Our Lady of Fourvier can be seen from many parts of the city, particularly where the community is.  Have not yet gotten up there but expect to within a week or two.  As there is no way I want to walk up a hill that steep it will entail a short walk to Perrache and about five minutes on a bus.  One of the men in my class, a Salesian priest, lives adjacent to the basilica with his community.  The first photo was taken while standing just below the bridge while the other was taken from Vieux Lyon.   St. Georges is in the foreground in the first photo.

I only noticed the tiny cafe across the street from the community yesterday morning.  Bit of a self-portrait to the right in the window. 

Three art galleries in Vieux Lyon in the early morning.  

Jawbreaker anyone?  It is always fun to take shots that fill the frame with shape and color. 

Breakfast in Vieux Lyon. 

The word sandwich seems to be almost international. 

And speaking of international, Russian dancers at the exhibition at Place Bellecour. 

+Fr. Jack, SJ, MD

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