We are eating and walking our way through Lyon.
And drinking wine along the way.
While getting lost a little more frequently than we would like to admit.
Which may or may not have anything to do with the wine.
Highlights include: shopping for breakfast at the market, taking a pastry class, a traditional Lyonaise dinner that resulted in three new friends and a hike up the side of a damn mountain in Vieux Lyon.
Our first Euro match, Hungary/Portugal, was fantastically exciting (minus the last 10 minutes) and we’re looking forward to Switzerland/Poland this afternoon.
It’s been years since a not awesome incident at USA/Poland in Chicago, so we’re hoping that Poland’s traveling supporters are a bit more mellow than the Chicago contingent. We’re going to the stadium as true neutrals — no Swiss or Poland gear for us — so there shouldn’t be any issues. We’ll be cheering on the Swiss; if any country could appreciate our appearance of neutrality, it should be Switzerland!
Checked into our apartment, which has a view so quaint that we think we’re basically French.
And on our way to Hungary/Portugal!
Hint: this is our lunch. Hint: it is poutine.
That’s right, our journey has begun and we’re at the airport in Toronto.
Our layover in Toronto is lengthy but we have been saved by (what else?!) soccer on television. Also the airport bar. Also gluten-free brownies.
A few hours (and one additional soccer game from now), we catch our flight to Europe. We’ll arrive in Lyon on Wednesday morning after what is hopefully a decent sleep on the plane. On the agenda for tomorrow: exploring Lyon followed by Portugal/Hungary in the evening.
From UEFA headquarters to suburban Detroit: we have tickets.
Lyon to Nice: done.
Lyon to Saint-Étienne: booked.
Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport to downtown Lyon: completed!
Upon our arrival, we will be take the Rhônexpress from the airport to the Lyon-Part-Dieu railway station. Rhônexpress is a fairly new transit line. It’s privately owned, not a government entity, so it’s a bit pricey in comparison to the other train tickets we purchased, but still less than hiring a taxi.
You can buy a Rhônexpress pass online for about $16.75, which is a very modest $1.48 discount over paying full-price in person. You don’t buy a pass for a certain day or time (we’ll appreciate that flexibility if we have any travel disasters) — it’s just good for three months after purchase.
Trains leave every 15 minutes and it takes about a half-hour to get into Lyon. It sounds pretty hard to mess up. Which is exactly what we’ll need after a long day of travel.
We are looking forward to a beach day or two while we are in Nice. Perhaps a canoeing adventure or a cruise on a paddleboard while we’re at it.
This requires a bit more planning than packing a swimsuit and a bottle of sunscreen because, in Nice, the beaches are rocky.
Instead of sand, Nice’s beaches are covered in little stones called galets.
While they are a fashion statement that we would rather not make, apparently water shoes are a necessity.
In preparation of traversing the galets, we hopped onto eBay and bought a flashy pair of water shoes for $2 per pair.
Our snazzy water shoes are being shipped from China and will undoubtedly look fabulous paired with our bikinis.
Watch out, Nice! We’re bringing our unique brand of practical fashion to you in 51 days!
We will be taking in one match in Saint-Étienne, an industrial town that is approximately 30 miles from Lyon.
To get there, we will be taking a regional train from Lyon into Saint-Étienne early in the afternoon on the day of the 3:00 pm game and we will take the train back at the conclusion of the match.
As it’s a regional train (unlike the TVG train that we’re taking from Lyon to Nice), we didn’t have to book these train tickets but, it seemed better to get them purchased in advance from our beloved Captain Train, rather than deal with hordes of people at the train station who are clamoring to buy tickets after the match.
We picked specific departure times for each leg of the trip, but we do have a bit of flexibility if we happened to be delayed for some reason or another. The tickets allow you to take the same type of train, travelling the same route (as indicated by color – either blue or white).
Saint-Etienne train station: the Fanzone and trams to the match will be located nearby.
We don’t expect to be delayed, especially on our way back to Lyon, because everything that we’ve read indicates that spending just a few hours in Saint-Étienne on either side of the match should be enough. It isn’t exactly a tourist hotbed but we hope that we will have a chance to admire the architecture and modern design that Saint-Étienne is known for and, time permitting, visit the Cathedral of Saint Charles Borromeo.
It is entirely possible that we will forgo the cathedral and the architecture for a comfortable establishment (or at the Fanfest, though those generally do not live up to the hype) and a glass of wine.
Despite the breakneck speed with which we approach it, we will be on vacation, after all.