Couchsurfing in Lyon

We parted ways with Annick and hit the ground running.
france sunset
Farwell, Saint Savin!
france autostop
Show 'em how it's done, John!
First stop, Lyon!

Well, we actually didn’t hit the ground running; rather, Thierry dropped us off near the highway and we began sticking our thumbs out hoping for someone to take pity and scoop us up before it began to rain. And lo and behold, it only took about 10 minutes! We were surprised to find that our French actually had improved during our time at Annick’s farm, and we managed to “talk” (er, get vague ideas across) with our friendly driver the whole hour to Lyon.

Arriving around noon, we had some time to kill until 7:30pm, when our couchsurfing hosts would be home to receive us. So, off to the the Parc de la Tête d'Or (so named due to a supposed golden head of Christ buried somewhere in the park...oh how that early-century rumor mill turned!) to bide, ahem, seven-and-a-half hours...

Parc de la Tête d'Or lyon, france
Approaching the Parc de la Tete d'Or
Since John and I are basically carrying small houses on our backs, it’s not easy to go tour around the city together; we would probably get chased out for knocking down children and elderly ladies with our backpacks every time we attempted lateral movement. So, we take shifts sitting with the bags while the other goes off to explore. 

First things first, don’t go visit a French city on a Sunday, and definitely don’t go if it’s raining. Essentially, nothing was open, and on top of that, in Lyon, you have to ascend quite a hill (about 800 feet in 1/4 mile) to reach the city center. I'm sure that reasons for establishing the city atop a huge hill had something to do with city defense in the olden days, and indeed, I felt mildly defeated once I reached the top.

After the slow ascent, I puttered fruitlessly amongst the closed shops. Taking cue from the rain, I let the downward slope of the city drain me back down to the river Rhone, and across to the park where John was nesting over our belongings. To bide time, we snacked on granola, shredded carrots, and a can of beer (because when you’re sitting aimlessly in a park, there should probably be at least one can of beer involved). One thing about traveling on a budget is that you have to be patient, and this means that sometimes you have to sit in a park for over seven hours while it rains. Finally, it was time to ascend the hill yet again to meet our Lyonaisse hosts.
french dinner
Eat your beef heart out

John and I were ready for some English language communication after the many brick walls we had hit with Annick, and our lovely hosts Theo & Quentin were just the ticket. They popped a bottle of champagne soon after our arrival (to celebrate anything, really), and then Theo cooked us a dinner of spaghetti with thin slices of beef heart. The heart was actually quite good—kind of a textural mixture between liver and a thin pork chop.

Finally, dry & contented, John and I drifted off to sleep, ready to eat our way through Lyon the next day.

The Savings: Since hitchhiking is smiled upon in France, we made the hour or so journey for free, and took a subway to our host's flat once we arrived to Lyon. Couchsurfing, of course, is free, but we bought a bottle of wine for our hosts. This kindness was returned when they cooked us dinner, so the only money we spent today was a dollar or so on subway fares plus a snack to hold us over while we waited in the park!

1 comment:

  1. ahh, he's doing the rather expensive version of my trip--if only!




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