All packed, breakfeasted, and ready to bus back to the Gare de Lyon station to head for our riverboat. Traffic was almost as insane as yesterday that did make us worry for a bit as the clock kept ticking.
We made it with time to spare while our bags were put on a truck to meet us at the boat.
We had first class tickets in the first three cars of a sleek TGV high speed train. Very luxurious…all airplane seats should be like that. We took off right on time for the quick 180 mph, 2 hour trip.
The landscape went flying by the windows of the smooth and quiet cars that belied the speed. Until. About 20 minutes out we felt and heard a rapid deceleration. At first we thought there was a station coming up or an area of slow track. Nope. The train drifted to a stop in the middle of lovely rolling fields with cows wandering the distance. Dead silence. No air movement. No air conditioning. No announcement.
Then we heard footsteps and metallic clangs on the roof of our car. And, finally a PA announcement, all in French, that we could loosely translate as some kind of electrical problem. Duh.
A half hour later we felt the air start to move as well as the train. Same problem 15 minutes later, but shorter delay. Then on to Lyon. But, there are two stations in Lyon, and we were too late to be able to reach our final stop. Lots of discussion as to whether we should get off? But the Viking red shirts appeared. We were whisked off to a waiting bus for a short ride to our boat, the Viking Delling.
A welcoming view from the bus toward the old city of Lyon just below the hill. We’ll explore it soon. No. That’s not the Eiffel Tower. It was created around some utilities some say to help prove Lyon is the second largest city in France with 2 million inhabitants (third if you don’t count the surroundings). Don’t say that to the people of Lyon.
Our boat was parked just outside the local University on the east bank of the Rhône. Several bridges in the area cross over to The Peninsula of Lyon, where all the modern action is. The peninsula is bordered by the Rhône on the east and the Soane on the West. Their confluence is at the very southern tip where they are now called only the Rhône as it wanders south. The city and bridges were damaged badly in the bombings of WWII. It laid pretty much in ruins until after Nazi rule ended in 1944, but now is in full swing, still going through a successful redevelopment.
It is now the most important educational center outside Paris with, I think, twenty museums. It’s brimming with young people.
We did an afternoon orientation walk in the heart of the peninsula. Above is an art piece and fountain by a Korean artist that was supposed to be temporary, but it’s been there for 17 Years. It’s at one end of the center square, a huge place where everyone meets for concerts, bocce tournaments, football, you name it. We checked out the shops, and of course, the restaurants as Lyon is probably the capital of cuisine in the world. We’ll talk a lot more about that tomorrow and the next day.
We headed back past some local Rhône residents to get familiar with our luxurious boat, and to prep for what turned out to be an incredible dinner. This trip is not for anyone who wants to maintain their weight. Tomorrow we’ll be on an extensive tour of the old city of Lyon. Loosen your belt, and get some rest.