Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lyon the Charmer

We left Paris 6.30am & headed towarrds the motorway. Traffic was already heavy & it was tough keeping up with the convoy as t was dark & as luck would have it, there was innumerable white vans about.

The drive itself was long & we made a couple of stops along the way. At the last toll just before entering Lyon, we were greeted by the local hosts & taken staright to lunch, chicken with olives, prepared the the local community. Then it was a dash to the mayor's office, where I was one of three to meet him. The municipality of Vaulx en Velin is twin to Beit Sahour(spelling) in Bethlehem & the Palestinian flag flies proudly outside the mayor's office. There's been pressure of course to remove it, but the mayor stands firm, insisting that whoever wanted the flag down, would just have to do it himself while facing the wrath of the people.

Then it was a mad dash to the heart of Lyon, where the rest of the convoy had been creating a ruckus. We stopped at the main square, where the locals came out in force & support. Speeches & well wishes followed & then it was lots of mingling & chatting. Lovely atmosphere. A group of Malaysian students had made their way there having heard of our arrival.

Right after it was dashing off to dinner of couscous with chicken before meeting the community in a hall where there were lots of suggestions and words of encouragement. We spent the nigt at a motel & left Lyon at 8.30 to head straight for Turin.

Lyon is a charming place. Its full of character & style, from its people to its building. The river runs through the city lazily & its people stroll about as if without a care in the world. While at the square, I spotted a chateu standing majestically on hill. Lyon is the second largest French city after Paris.

It was alas too brief a visit. I would've loved to see more of its charms.

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