Friday, August 5, 2016

Sunday July 31

It is now Thursday August 5th at 4:30 in the afternoon. I will try to remember what I have done since I awoke last Sunday morning in Paris through today.  Fortunately I have photos, and can also have my friends Didier & Anne to help me remember. 

So I woke up at around 8:00am on the Sunday, took my shower and tidied up the airbnb in Boulevard Saint Martin.  My metro pass expired yesterday and I had to drag my luggage with me to the Gare du Lyon where I will catch the train to Lyon later today.  I have not yet used uber in  Paris so decided to give it a try.  I opened the app and was given the choice of ride, and I chose "pool" which could be share ride with others heading in the same direction.  I saw that an uber was nearby in a Peugeot and he arrived in no time. 

The driver was very charming, and kept apologizing for not speaking fluent English.  I told him it is I that should be apologizing as I am in France and should be speaking French.  During our drive, we continued trying to communicate and then I thought....I forgot about Google translate app!  I told him about it as I opened my phone app. Using the microphone icon in the app I continued the conversation with him by speaking into my phone. The French Siri that lives in Google Translate spoke my words to him in French, and then listened to his answers or questions in French and French Siri spoke to me in English.  It was very funny and fun.  When he dropped me off, he asked again the name of the app, and he wrote it down.  He jumped out of the car, got my luggage and took it to the curb, and then refused a tip I tried to give him.  No, No he said, is OK.  I told him he was very kind and said good-bye and he replied Bon Journee.  Lovely ride, lovely driver.

I rolled my luggage over to the escalator, and then up into the terminal main level.  I had done research last night and knew that the hold luggage place was under the N tracks, so I tried to find it.  I walked through Terminal 1 and found out how to go downstairs and ended up in the same place the uber had dropped me off, so I went up the escalator again.  I found an information booth and they told me it was in Terminal 3, so across the main terminal I went to a door marked Terminal 2 and 3.  I walked and walked, stopping at a Sephora store in the station to buy some make up remover tissues, and a nail clipper in a pharmacy.  I finally saw a sign that showed Terminal 3 was down stairs and a ramp.  After I rolled down the ramp, I went to the left and saw a starbucks (I am not going to Starbucks in Paris, sorry.  I can get excellent cappucchino or café at any restaurant in Paris.) I returned towards and past the ramp and finally saw a sign and a symbol for left luggage so walked to the other end of the terminal and in the door of the place. 

You place all your luggage and handbag on the xray machine like in TSA at the airport and then you enter a large room with lockers of various sizes.  These machines only accept coins, so I changed a $20 euro bill into coins, and as I started to put my stuff in a large locker, the attendant told me I could fit my bags in a medium size locker (which would save me money), so she led me to the locker, told me to put my things in side, and then insert the coins.  She walked away and I followed her instructions but forgot to turn the latch on  the door, so another attendant, a man said you have to turn the lock.  I did that, inserted the coins $7.50 euros, and the ticket came out showing that locker number. 

I left the place and went back up into terminal one and out the door to the front of the Gare du Lyon.  It was a nice beautiful sunny morning, now about 10:00am and I was hungry. I walked across the plaza in front of the station, and down the stairs to the street.  I saw a restaurant with tables outside right across the street, so I headed across the street at the signal and took a seat facing the station.  The waiter arrived and I asked for a cappucchino and water natural.  In a few minutes he returned with the coffee and the bill.  I told him I wanted to order something else - 2 (deux) croissants and an orange juice (presse-  fresh squeezed).  He headed off to get my breakfast.  While I waited a young girl with a baby walked back and forth in front of the restaurant asking for money.  Another daughter  was also doing the same thing, probably age 9 or 10.  A few people gave her money but most said no.  The waiter returned with my breakfast and I finished it and got a regular coffee.

I wanted to find a pharmacy to buy something, I think emery boards, and walked around the corner and down a retail street heading away from the station.  I found a pharmacy but it was closed.  It is almost noon I thought, why is it closed.  As I headed down a cross street I was still searching for another pharmacy, but I saw only closed businesses.  It finally dawned on me it was Sunday and many businesses are closed on that day.  I made a left turn and headed back towards the station, stopping for one more cup of coffee before crossing back to the other side of the street where the station was. 

I walked into the station and looked for my train information on the arrival/departure boards.  It was now around noon, and my train departs at 13:53 or 1:53pm (they use 24 hour time in /Europe),  It was too early for the terminal and track to be shown, so I looked around and saw a café/bar upstairs and took the escalator up, turning right to the "bar" area since I didn't need to eat.  I sat down and plugged in my phone to charge, and ordered vin blanc (white wine).  I looked at my mail and FB and killed another hour sitting there sipping the wine.

Around 1pm or 13:00, I paid my tab and headed downstairs and back across Terminal 1 through Terminal 2 and down the ramp to Terminal 3 to retrieve my luggage from the locker.  This went very quickly and I headed back up to Terminal 2 to see if there was more information on the arrival /departure board.  Within 10 minutes it was posted, so I headed to the train, looking for 1st class, door 2, seat 71 which was upstairs.  It was actually pretty easy to find the train and the door, and I hoisted my carryon bag onto the luggage rack, and took my seat, which was very comfortable and right near the car entrance.  A man with two young daughters took 3 of 4 seats opposite me.  No one had bought the seat across from me, so I opened the little table and took out my phone to read a kindle book. The man was very careful to keep the girls engaged and quiet.  The train started and I spent my time looking at my phone or  gazing out the window at all the passing villages, farms and roads.  At cows and wheat fields and lots of corn fields. 


After a couple hours we arrived at the station Lyon Part Deux.  I knew there were more than one station in Lyon, as my friends had told me to get off at Lyon Perruche, but it was not clear either on the train, or on the TGV website how I was to get there but there was information on some sort of tram that takes you to the other two stations.  I lugged my heavy carryon downstairs and showed a lady my ticket (a fellow passenger) and asked if I get off, or stay on the train.  She told me to get off.  I didn't trust that she was paying attention, so I saw a conductor and asked him the question and he pointed and said next station and indicated I should get back on the train so I did, but not going upstairs again with my luggage.  I asked if it was OK for me to sit downstairs in an empty seat until we reached the next station and he said OK.

There was an older woman asking the conductors questions and getting help loading her luggage onto the rack. I am not sure what she was saying, but I think she was confused, perhaps she was not from France and could not understand their answers.  I don't know.  She finally sat down in the row behind me, but during the entire ride to the Perruche station she kept getting up, looking at her luggage, examining the tag, looking out the entry door, and then sitting down again.  Since my bag was sitting right to the left of her bag, she was making me very nervous and so I felt like I needed to keep an eye on her so she didn't run off with my bag.

When we reached the station, she offered to let me by, just before we stopped.  I motioned to her to go first but she was hesitant so I hopped off the train and headed into the station.  My friend Anne had texted maybe 10 minutes before that they had arrived at the station from Clermont Ferrand.  I had texted when  I was arriving.

When I got up the escalator it was not clear to me where to go, so I just walked and walked until I found a station exit, but it was obviously a side exit and not the main one.  My friends called me to find out where I was, but I couldn't understand them so I handed my phone to a security guard and asked him to talk to Anne, to find out where they were waiting.  After a few minutes he told me to go to a particular restaurant in the station and they would wait outside.  You have to remember that I had not seen this couple for 20 years, and on FB there are no photos, so I thought I would recognize them , but not positive.  I thanked the guard and headed in the direction he pointed and as I passed a staircase I saw them waving at me, and we reunited.

They took my luggage and we headed down stairs to the car..a mini.  We put the bags in the car and we drove to Leonie's flat on top of the hill in Lyon in a building on the 4th floor that was originally a silk factory.  There was no elevator or lift, so after parking on steep, narrow streets we headed into the building and walked up 6 flights of stairs.  We turned right through a doorway, and then right again into the open door where Leonie lives.  She greeted us with the typical French to cheek kissing welcome, and we went in and sat down. 

I think we had a glass of wine then, but I am not sure.  I should have kept notes at least, but I didn't so I am going to say we drank wine, got cleaned up and decided where to go for dinner.  Leonie wanted to go to a Paul Bocuse Brasserie called L-Est. It was her favorite of the 4 or 5 Brasseries he operates in the city.  We walked down the 6 flights of stairs, then around the corner, and I followed them through hidden passageways in buildings marked by a plaque with a lion on it by doorways.  These passageways I had also seen in Clermont Ferrand twenty years ago, but I had forgotten.  We went down and down the hills eventually arriving at the restaurant. We decided to sit outdoors in a canopy covered patio. 

I was very excited to be eating at a Bocuse Brasserie. At one point I went to the bathroom inside, and had my friends take a picture of me outside the pass from the kitchen.  My dinner that evening was (I will have to look at my pictures and captions as all I remember right now is Baba au Rhum for dessert).  We finished up and headed out taking a scenic route past the Opera and other buildings before taking the metro up to the top of the hill, because I (the oldest one) have hip dysplasia and the hiking up the steep streets, then the 6 flights of stairs was not great for me, so they suggested this alternative.

We returned to Leonie's cute apartment and I am thinking we then had more wine and some cheese and bread.  Again I have to look at my pictures to be sure. It was then around midnight and time to go to sleep.  I was to have a small mattress pad with a cover, while Didier and Anne took the thin mattress from the couch and placed it on the floor on the other side of the sofa.  I was not very organized with my luggage other than brushing my teeth, so I went to bed without looking for something to do when I awoke the next morning when my friends were still asleep.  It was a very hot day and night, and the windows were closed, so I didn't sleep very well that night tossing and turning and listening to Didier snore. LOL

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