Friday, November 30, 2012

October 21st: Paris to Lyon

The weather wasn't quite as bad the next day, so we got up a little earlier to go for a run. I mean, how often do you get the chance to jog through Paris?   :)

We warmed up on the narrow streets down to the Louvre. It was deserted; there were only a couple people wandering around the pyramids.

We made a right, ran past the Arc de Triomphe de Carrousel, and started toward the Jardin des Tuileries.

A small fountain/pond at the far end of the Jardin. Those white things at the far end were bird sculptures that bobbed around in the water in the breeze, and you can see the Obelisk in the Place de la Concorde in the back. It was really neat to run through this part; the only other people around were other runners. All you could hear were feet crunching through the sand.

It was pretty dreary the whole time we ran, but it never actually rained. 
At one point we ran over the beginnings of another lock bridge. I don't think we saw one single fenced bridge that didn't have a lock on it somewhere.

We eventually looped our way back to the Louvre and ran through the Cour Carrée. It's a huge courtyard completely surrounded by the museum.

We hadn't been running for too long (we only wound up running about three and a half miles by the time we got back to the hotel), but there was already a line of people waiting for tickets by the time we made our way back up to the pyramids.

The joke's on them...if you know where to look, you can see inside the Louvre for free! I remember walking through this same room the day before.

There was a neat outdoor art display on the way back to the hotel. Someone had taken microscopic pictures of cells, viruses, DNA, and the like, and paired them with great works of art.

After wandering around the display for a little while, we made our way back to the hotel, got cleaned up, and made our way to a laundromat. (That's one of the ways we keep our luggage lighter on longer trips; we did the same thing in NZ last year and it worked great. If you stay in relatively populated areas it's usually never a problem to find a laundromat.)

We still had a few hours before we had to check out of the hotel, so we grabbed breakfast at a small cafe while we waited for our clothes to finish.

Eventually our clothes were done, we made our way back to the hotel, repacked, and checked out. After all of the fun we had finding the hotel after our first RoissyBus experience I'm not sure why I agreed to take it BACK to the airport to pick up our rental car, but we actually made it to the bus stop without too much trouble, got back to the airport, and got our rental car.

So, let's say you've never driven a manual car. Ever. But you've read about how they supposedly work and watched a couple YouTube videos. And the car is in a cramped parking garage. I mean, this should turn out ok, right?

Twenty minutes, one destroyed guardrail, and one slightly crashed car later, we were back at the rental counter trying to explain what happened to the girl working the desk. Thanks to some language barrier issues, we're not sure she ever really understood what we were trying to tell her, but when we tried to just cancel the car rental she offered us a Smart Car instead. It was a tight fit (did you know they can hold two adults, two checked-size bags, two rolly carry-on bags, and a backpack?), but we squished inside and got the heck out of there.

Drive!! Drive before they figure out we broke stuff!!

The drive from Paris to Lyon was one of the longer ones we had planned (somewhere around five hours), but at least we were on major roads the whole way. The tolls in Europe are kind of obscene, though. That five hour drive wound up costing us 33 Euro in tolls alone!

A random castle on the side of the highway. Not something you see in the US!

Sunset on the way to Lyon.

I had hoped to get there while it was still light, but it didn't work out that way. However, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise that we had a Smart Car, since in our attempt to find a hotel and/or parking (because we had such success winging it in NZ, we didn't have any hotel reservations for Lyon) we managed to accidentally drive through Vieux Lyon, the Old Town part of Lyon. Through parts that are usually closed off to cars. (That's what we get for following a taxi.) At one point we were driving down cobblestone alleys, so close to little outside cafes that I probably could have reached out and grabbed a glass of wine off someone's table.

Eventually we found a place to park and after striking out at the first place found a really cool hotel with an open room. They even had parking right at the hotel, so we wandered back through Vieux Lyon to grab dinner and move our car.

Lyon Cathedral. There are so many gorgeous churches in every city.

We had dinner at a neat outdoor cafe (that we may or may not have driven past earlier...oops). The food was really good, and we stopped an an ice cream place next door that had dozens and dozens of flavors. We eventually moved the car and made our way back to our room. We decided to spend an extra night here, so we had the entire next day free to explore Lyon.

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