Lyon

After spending a week in the south of France, we had only a few days to get back to Calais in the north to catch an early evening ferry back to Blighty. We had to vacate our holiday accommodation on Thursday morning, and our ferry was a little before six on the following Saturday. The closing stages of holidays can be quite ambivalent, especially if you’re like Holly and I and have pets you love very dearly back home that you’re missing terribly. There is the desire to eake as much time and vacation out of the remaining days, whilst still looking forward to getting home.

It was to the former end that, after leaving our little holiday spot, we only drove a mile or so and stopped off in Agay, resting up in a lovely beach spot and having breakfast with the beautiful blue of the Mediterranean Sea as our backdrop. We took in the sights, did some souvenir shopping, and when we could milk our time by the beach no longer, we made tracks for the first stop on our journey northwards: Lyon.

We arrived in the late afternoon, and checked into our hotel. I checked in on Facebook too, to which my dad commented “We went to Lyon – but it was closed!”. This didn’t make much sense at the time. We then ventured out into the city to have a look around.

Lyon is a landlocked city on a river in eastern France. It seemed pretty typical of urban France we’d encountered a lot on our trip. We started out by the river, which was beautiful.

1/80sec, f/132ISO 100, 24mm
1/80sec, f/13 ISO 100, 24mm

There was some sort of artificial flood plain or some such thing, a piece of modern architecture that created a second, shallow channel of water next to the river itself. The shot above is of a rock in that channel; the bike is on the path that separates the two. This next shot is along the channel.

1/80sec, f/13 ISO 100, 24mm
1/80sec, f/13, ISO 100, 24mm

The riverside felt pretty similar to the Thames Riverside in Kingston: just a nice area to sit down any enjoy water flowing past. This water looked a bit cleaner than the Thames, but I’m not about to go swimming in it (not least because I can’t swim). This meant that there were a few largely familiar sort of sights to see as I’ve seen and indeed photographed before back at home, such as this mooring ring.

1/8000sec, f/4, ISO 100, 32mm
1/8000sec, f/4, ISO 100, 32mm
1/1000sec, f/4, ISO 100, 60mm
1/1000sec, f/4, ISO 100, 60mm

There were also plenty of swans.

1/1000sec, f/4, ISO 100, 28mm
1/1000sec, f/4, ISO 100, 28mm
1/800sec, f/4, ISO 100, 105mm
1/800sec, f/4, ISO 100, 105mm

Something less familiar were saw there were these black swans. Can’t say I’ve ever seen one before.

1/250sec, f/4, ISO 100, 93mm
1/250sec, f/4, ISO 100, 93mm
1/250sec, f/4, ISO 100, 105mm
1/250sec, f/4, ISO 100, 105mm

They were beautiful to look at, but thanks to their dark feathers and the evening setting sun being behind them they were a bit of a challenge to photograph. I got a few decent ones, though.

1/250sec, f/4, ISO 100, 105mm
1/250sec, f/4, ISO 100, 105mm

Generally, it’s the white swans that look much more interesting in this sort of light.

1/1600sec, f/4, ISO 100, 105mm
1/1600sec, f/4, ISO 100, 105mm

I also wanted to photograph the people on the riverside feeding the swans, something a little different and in many ways more interesting.

1/00sec, f/4, ISO 100, 35mm
1/00sec, f/4, ISO 100, 35mm
1/1000sec, f/4, ISO 100, 24mm
1/1000sec, f/4, ISO 100, 24mm
1/500sec, f/4, ISO 100, 105mm
1/500sec, f/4, ISO 100, 105mm

Not content with shooting the people feeding the local wildlife, I also turned my camera on some of the other faces near the river in the spot we were in, from cyclists to families to puppies hoping to get served at riverside cafés.

1/1250sec, f/4, ISO 100, 28mm
1/1250sec, f/4, ISO 100, 28mm
1/400sec, f/4, ISO 100, 105mm
1/400sec, f/4, ISO 100, 105mm
1/50sec, f/4, ISO 100, 55mm
1/50sec, f/4, ISO 100, 55mm

The road running parallel with the river was lined by trees, giving me a change to take one of those perspective shots I love to shoot so much.

1/200sec, f/4, ISO 100, 24mm
1/200sec, f/4, ISO 100, 24mm

Further along this walk there were a few bicycles locked up, that I thought looked lovely in the evening sun with the autumnal leaves.

1/160sec, f/4, ISO 100, 24mm
1/160sec, f/4, ISO 100, 24mm

On the opposite side of the river was the more interesting architecture, such as this building, which Google tells me is a hotel. Probably a pretty expensive one, judging by the outside.

1/400sec, f/4, ISO 100, 60mm
1/400sec, f/4, ISO 100, 60mm

Behind the hotel is another river, and behind that is a hill called Fourvière. Atop that hill is the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, a 19th Century building overlooking the city, and alongside it, prominently visible, is the Tour métallique de Fourvière, a mini Eiffel Tower that’s now used for TV broadcasting.

1/2000sec, f/4, ISO 100, 88mm
1/2000sec, f/4, ISO 100, 88mm

However, the towers of the riverside building frame them both nicely.

f/4, ISO 100, 45mm (HDR)
f/4, ISO 100, 45mm (HDR)

It was around this point we decided we’d walked enough to get some dinner. This was about the time that my dad’s comment about Lyon being closed started to make sense. There was no eateries open at all. Plenty of places that had been restaurants up until 5pm suddenly were offering drinks only, or were shut entirely. After a bit of a wander we settled on burgers from a fast food place across the road from our hotel that we ate in our room. Bearing in mind Lyon is supposed to be the capital of French cuisine this seemed a bit backwards.

The next morning, we had breakfast, then left the city heading north, with our final overnight stop on our journey home somewhere largely familiar.

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