Boarding the ship in Lyon
We took a quick cab from the hotel to our ship, the AmaCello in the morning. AmaWaterways took our luggage for later storage. After a light lunch on board the ship, we headed to the Lyon Museum of Fine Arts. It was about 16 Euro’s each way by cab (there were three of us). It’s a very nice collection of world class art. (To call a taxi, simply ask at the front desk and they will take care of it)
We were back at the AmaCello by 5 pm at which point we unpacked, showered and changed for cocktail hour. It always amazes me how efficiently the cabins are laid out. We were easily able to find room for 10 days worth of clothing. We even had unused space.
We decided to eat at the Chef’s table our first night. Since most people are unaware of the Chef’s table, there was only about 10 people there (it holds 24). The food was simply spectacular and the service was great. It happened to be Halloween and so the waiter dressed in full costume. We all had a lot of fun but were tired by that point so off to bed. You can see the artistry of our meal below:
The ship overnights in Lyon. After breakfast we had several excursion choices – which is very typical. Dave did the bike trip in the morning around Lyon. We biked north along the river pathway toward a beautiful park, Parc de la Tête d’Or. The park dates to the 1857 (contemporaneous with Central Park in NYC) and the front gates were recently refurbished and looking great. The park contains huge botanical gardens and zoo. The botanical gardens originally grew plants for medicinal purposes as well as being the models for the silk flowers being produced in the city. Lyon still has a large pharmaceutical presence.
Next we went across the peninsula underground through a tunnel (Tunnel de les Croix Roisse). One tube was for road traffic, the other for buses and bicycles / walkway. That brought us to the Saone river near an old fort used to protect the townspeople from angry silk workers in the mid 1800’s. After a little ride along the river, we were in Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon, circa 15th century). Actually we dismounted our bikes right across from the Court of Appeals on Rue Saint-Jean. Lots of Italian renaissance style architecture and lots of hidden passages called the traboule. Some led to interior courtyards, with apartments surrounded by circular staircases which provide access to 4 – 5 stores above. While the streets were full of tourists, there were lots of very nice small shops, bakeries and restaurants along the way. From there, we rode across the bridge to the peninsular through Bellecour Plaza and the Statue Équestre de Louis XIV. As it started raining slightly by then, we headed back to the ship, on the left bank of the Rhone. It’s easy to see why this is a UNESCO site – lots fantastic architecture and history.
Sue’s walking tour covered much of the same area of Vieux Lyon but included a trip to the Cathedral. Usually there’s a beautiful view overlooking the city from the Cathedral, but the rain took care of that. And the walking tour showed some of the murals that adorn Lyon’s buildings – some are incredibly realistic.
Chilling in Lyon
After lunch we took it easy as it was still raining. Our Cruise manager Monica presented an overview of the entire cruise that afternoon. She reviews all the excursion options and gives a little more insight into each (ex: on bike tours she’ll say if there’s hills involved or how much effort they take; she’ll also say how hard the walk will be, if there’s cobble stones or stairs.) Suddenly it was cocktail hour at 6 pm then dinner at 7 pm. We finish dinner about 9 pm, talk and play backgammon till 11. This pretty much sets the rhythm and tone of the cruise.
In the next blog post: we explore Beaujolais and Vienne, Wine and Romans.