Monday, February 16, 2009

One day the sun will come out

Hello again, faithful blog followers! Tomorrow the Marys and I leave for Firenze, therefore, an update seemed to be in order, n'est-ce pas?

My pictures this week are mostly from my recent visit to Parc de la Tête d'Or, the Park of the Golden Head. Legend has it that in the park, an enormous expanse of land containing a lake, an island, a zoo, a cinema, the contemporary art museum, and botanical gardens, there was a buried golden head of Christ. Searches for the head immediately after the establishment of the park (1856, making it exactly contemporaneous with New York's Central Park) proved inconclusive, but the name stuck.

I visited the Parc on a very nice day -- the weather might have been as warm as 50 Fahrenheit! My forearms were exposed to French sunlight for the first time. I followed the paved promenade around the lake, journeyed through a short tunnel to the island in the lake, explored the upper reaches of the Parc, passed through the zoo and the botanical gardens, got lost trying to find the Orangerie, and wandered by the deer field on my way back. The adventure took several hours, all told, but the pictures were pretty worth it. I'll definitely be heading back there in the spring when the weather is nicer.

In other news, the professors are still on strike and little of note has been going on in terms of classes. Since we are now on winter break (break from what, I ask you?), the hope is that classes will resume on Monday the 23rd. If this is the case, the two makeup weeks built into the semester calendar before exams will suffice to make up the missed classes, and the calendar will be unchanged. However, if the strike continues, other makeup steps will have to be taken, although no one seems prepared to identify those. I am not worried, since there's really nothing I can do.

I am, however, very happy to be going to Italy tomorrow, as I'm sure there will be lots to see and do in Florence (and Pisa and Siena, for that matter). Look for pictures around this time next week, but not too many, since my various attempts to get a larger memory card have thus far been unsuccessful. I need a new camera.

Well, for now, enjoy the sunny eye candy.

Huge student manifestation in Place de Terreaux. The banner is (I think) expressing a general solidarity with the professors who are striking.

Geese wandering around on the green, occasionally threatening small dogs.

One of the (manmade) tributaries to the lake: detail of submerged leaves.

Shot of the World War I monument on the island in the lake. The names of the approximately 10,000 Lyonnais soldiers who died during the war are inscribed on granite tablets around the base of a large statue.

Looking back across the lake from the island/memorial.

Looking down the garden plots, which just made me long for spring.

In the gardens: something is blooming!

In the gardens again: lovely laid-out English style hedgework.

And finally we meet the deer!

Leaving the Parc: long shot in late afternoon.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

So if you're not going to school, you're basically just living in France?

Due to the extreme popularity of Squidgirl (not), more updates have been declare necessary.

Well, I don't have anything to do today, in any case. My roommates, ML and Doc, and I bought our TGV tickets to Paris today! We are taking the train to Paris on the 17th, flying from Paris to Pisa that night, and taking the 00:20 (that's twenty after midnight for my American friends) bus to the center of Florence. We're staying five nights in Florence, then taking the bus back to Pisa and passing most of Sunday there before our flight back to Paris that evening. The only downside is that we get into Paris at 21:30, too late to catch a train back to Lyon, so we will have to stay the night in a hotel or hostel close by. But none of us have Monday morning classes so that should be okay.

It's not as expensive as it sounds, I promise.

Other journeys, you ask? Well, I have a friend in Paris this semester, so I am trying to find out if I can stay with her. ML and I both have an interest in going to Geneva, which is only an hour train ride from here, so perhaps for a weekend, as neither of us have Friday classes. We're talking about going to Siena for a day from Florence while we're there, as it's close, but there is so much to do/see in Florence herself that I'm not sure we'll make it there.

I am also seriously considering looking into flights / trains to London. Whether I end up going will of course depend on how expensive things are, but it's a thought.

Travel is interesting, because there's not a whole lot going on in Lyon for us right now. The strike has continued unstopped since last Thursday, meaning it's been a week since I've been in classes, which is mostly just tedious for me. We hope things are coming to a resolution tomorrow.

Mostly I've been making a lot of food (and running for exercise, fear not). France is particularly helpful for that.

Memorial building on a plaque in Vieux Lyon. The text reads: In this house lived Victoria Nicollet, who died during deportation to Ravensbruck in 1945, a victim of fascism. In going by, remember her.

Man holding a flare at one of the grève manifestations, Thursday last.

Kayakers in the Rhône, midmorning.

Looking south from Pont Lafayette on the Rhône river.

Flags on Pont Lafayette at sunset.

Looking north on the river, this time.

The grand roue, or Ferris wheel, in Place Bellecour. No, I haven't ridden it.

Sunday afternoon meal from the market. From left: Bread and jam and a pain au chocolat (croissant with chocolate filling), basmati rice and roasted vegetables, instant cappuccino, apple slices and two kinds of cheese (vache and chèvre), and a mixture of coke and segrum's lime tonic water.

Yours truly, wearing my new beret in the kitchen mirror.