Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sight-seeing around Lyon

Lyon is amazing.  I'm finding it hard to write about my first few days here because I feel like so much has happened, when in reality I haven't done a whole lot.  Everything here amazes me: the language, the buildings, the people, the parks, the statues.  Everything is beautiful and ancient.  I can't even believe my apartment is in the middle of the city on a beautiful street with shops and cafés and people...It hasn't quite sunk in yet that I will be living here for almost a year.

The day after I arrived, the Centre Oregon organized an outing to see some of the touristy place in Lyon.

This is Lyon's Basilica, Notre-Dame de Fourvière.  
  This is the view from the basilica
Lyon is a super old city.  It used to be part of the Roman Empire, so these are the ruins of a Roman auditorium.
These two pink houses are some of the oldest in the city, built in the 1600s I believe.
The balconies of this building are still made of the original wood they were built with, in the middle ages.  The wood went through an intense hardening process when they were built so the structure would last longer, and the balconies are still functional!
A famous café in Vieux Lyon where they have the famous puppet ("les guignols") performances.  Hundreds of years ago, the puppet shows were meant to inform common people, most of whom were illiterate, about local goings on.  Mostly satirical humor about corrupt politicians.
The Saint Jean cathedral in Vieux Lyon.
The oldest working clock in Europe.  Was built sometime before 1600.  On the stroke of every hour, the rooster on top wakes up and whistles, and a bunch of the other figurines move, too.  All the mechanical parts are original, it's kind of amazing.
View of the basilica from the cathedral.
So apparently when you were rich some hundreds of years ago, the way to show it off was by building a useless, but awesome looking, tower of stairs.  That no one can see unless they enter your courtyard.  
Ok, so now's the drum roll.  I got to move into my actual room this evening!!!! I've been staying in my roommate's room because my landlord's grandkids were staying in my soon to be room (that room adjoins the two apartments).  But no more.  Now I have my own ginormous space.  Check it out and be jealous.
Yeah, that's a bookcase full of French literature.  I won't be running out of reading materal :).
The actual "bed" room is behind this curtained area where there are two twin beds.
That's all for now.  There's some more meet and greet stuff this weekend yet, and the "stage" starts this upcoming week.  It's basically just an orientation period that will prepare me for the french university system.  This could be either very beneficial or a waste of time.  
Hope everyone at home is doing well! I love and miss you all!

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