Throwback: May- June 2012.
Sometimes I rush to write about my travels but on other days like tonight, I have a sudden urge to write about travel adventures some years ago. But what should I write about when I cannot remember the details? Since I am going back to Europe this September, I thought it would be meaningful to write about the first time I stepped onto European soil. It felt so long ago even though it happened only 2 years ago. I felt like I have grown and changed so much – even the photos that I take are really different between then and now.
The first European city that I stayed in was Lyon and so tonight, I will introduce this charming city. 🙂 I love Lyon, I might be biased because this was the first European city that I lived in for about a month and the first is usually remembered as the best. I find Lyon very liveable, it is a city without much excesses – one mega shopping mall, a few cathedrals, some roman ruins, a cluster of universities, a spacious park, a couple of museums and 2 beautiful rivers. The sad thing is that I can’t remember the details so I will just let the photos do the job. After all, a picture says a thousand words, doesn’t it?
The most touristic part of Lyon is the Old Lyon (Vieux Lyon) which has been registered as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is always a joy to get lost in the narrow alleys in the old part of the city and re-orientate yourself again. I remembered that I enjoyed having a good meal in one of the many restaurants in Vieux Lyon before making the ascent up the hill towards the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière at the top of the hill.
This is the beautiful basilica at the top of the hill. A pity that there was some renovation going on while we were there. I remember watching a sunset on this hill on our last day here and we were pleasantly surprised that the basilica looks so charming at night when it was lighted up. 🙂
The Grand Roman Theatre in Lyon was the first roman ruins that I have seen. It was built in 15 BC and it could house up to 10, 000 people. While it might not look as spectacular as the Colosseum in Rome, what I like about this place is that it is not so touristy. I remember visiting this place twice and on both occasions, the Grand Roman Theatre was as empty as it looks in this picture. It was a joy to sit on the seats and admire the city view from here.
Lyon is a city between two rivers: Rhône and Saône. Rhône river was an important river historically because it connected many French cities (e.g. Lyon, Avignon) to the Mediterranean port cities (e.g. Marseille). I remember having a sandwich picnic and feeding the swans by the Rhône river, what great times!
I still don’t really know how to pronounce the name of this park but I really like this park. As it was within walking distance from our campus (CPE Lyon), we frequented this park quite a lot just to have a picnic and relax. The park is quite big with a size of 117 hectares and it has quite a number of things – a zoo, a rose garden, many green fields and a very big lake.
I also visited my first European flea market in Lyon. It was a great experience, people there were selling such a huge variety of things! It was quite fun to shop and bargain using our poor French.
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon (The Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon) is one of my favourite museums. I enjoyed the free audio guided tour as it really helped me to gain an appreciation of the European arts. Furthermore, the museum was also relatively empty when we visited so we had ample space to stand around the paintings and appreciate them (unlike the Lourve). It was also because of this museum that I became a huge fan of Claude Monet. I love the way he used colours. For me, somehow Claude Monet’s work is able to resonate with me – his artwork overwhelms me with beauty yet at the same time, it strikes me with a bolt of melancholy.