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Saturday
Jul122014

July 9-11, 2014

We awoke to another, less than sunny, day on the luxurious Viking Hermod. As reported, the crew does a fantastic job of fulfilling every need of the 117 passengers aboard. Breakfasts, lunches and dinners are an exercise in self restraint gone bad. Aside from the smoked salmon, numerous cheeses and salami meats for breakfast are beautiful fruit, made to order omelets and of course anything your heart

desires and your stomach can withstand from the unlimited chefs menu. If it’s not poached eggs with toast, it is eggs benedict, and on and on. Same goes for lunches….it’s an anorexic’s nightmare.

As if we haven’t consumed enough wine already, this afternoon, we headed for a wine tasting in the Crozes Hermitage wine region. There we tasted a white wine and several reds all of which were made exclusively of Shiraz grapes. They were quite good, but we already had our hearts and palettes looking forward to the Burgundy’s that dominate vineyards North of here. After the tasting, we marveled again, at the rocky soil that predominates this Cotes d’Rhone valley.

 Then, as if our blood sugar levels weren’t high enough, we stopped at a chocolate factory that specializes in some of the world’s finest sweets. The owners of this massive chocolate enterprise have it right….give plenty of free samples and your customers will lose the will to resist. Virtually every delight was available for tasting, customers were clamoring with requests so much it reminded us of a futures trading floor where, instead of traders bidding for the best price of an orange juice future months in advance, there folks simply wanted more candy! When we left, instead of small pieces of paper littering the floor, there was only trashed pancreases belching out a gastric SOS! So, the group of us loaded back up in bus and returned to the Viking river cruiser armed to the teeth with chocolates.

The next day we joined a walking tour of Vienne and a mini train ride to Mont Pipet. The view of the town from the top of the hill was lovely. The town, one of the oldest in France, is small but quite charming.

In the afternoon, we sailed to Lyon, the gastronomic capitol of the world. Leading with our palettes, we joined the Viking chef for a tour of the upscale market (there is also a traditional open air market). There we viewed a host of individually-owned kiosks with all sorts of French delicacies and specialities, including snails ready to be cooked, frog legs, a variety of pates en croute, cheeses, meats -- it was endless. We bought some of our favorite cheese -- epoisses. The chef buys his supplies from this market. Dick viewed a fire brigade of fresh fruits, vegetables and other food stuffs being transferred to the ship.

That night Dick needed a casino fix so he headed off to Lyon’s Grand Casino. While he was expecting to meet James Bond, the poker players looked very much like any other poker players except he didn’t have the slightest idea what they were talking about. But in the game of poker, money does all the talking.

Meanwhile, back at the ship, the program director announced that, due to the unusually heavy rains, the Soane River has flooded and the ship cannot get under the bridges. So, we were told that we would remain in Lyon for the remainder of the trip -- not so bad really because Lyon is a wonderful city and we will still be able to do our excursion to Burgundy.

The next day, the tour bus escorted us through Lyon. We visited some unique art represented on the town’s buildings. The local arts group took over an abandoned building and painted the entire thing with pictures of people standing on balconies and peering out of windows. The people on the bottom floor are contemporary and those on the upper floors are from earlier generations. The building is quite spectacular.

   

We were then led to the "secret" area of Lyon.  The guide should us a large wooden door that looked like just an old door to a house.  But it opened to a passage way to the houses.  Apparently, the people didnt want others to know where they lived.  One house inside the passage was the tax collector house that had, of course, the highest tower.  The entire area was fascinating.

After the visit to the secret place, we traveled up to the highest point in the area to see the Basilica Notre Dame de Fourviere. The panoramic view from the Basilica was beautiful -- all the houses and other buildings are white, off-white or a variation of beige, with red roofs -- a gorgeous color combo.

The basilica has beautiful murals on the walls and the ceiling is almost too ornate.

On Friday we took another tour of the city of Lyon. Lyon, located on the confluence of the Rivers Rhone and Saone, has always been a wealthy town. The silk trade transformed it into a textile center. One of the silk companies had an exhibition of  silk weaving on the boat. In town we were able to see the beautiful scarves made by the company.  We even saw the silk worms doing their thing.

We learned of a darker part of Lyon’s past. During WWII some 4000 of Lyon’s citizens were killed and 7500 others deported to Nazi death camps under Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie, the “butcher of Lyon.” Nazi rule ended in 1944 when the retreating Germans blew up all but two of Lyon’s 28 bridges, which have since been rebuilt. In 1987, Barbie was extradited from Bolivia, tried in Lyon for crimes against humanity and sentenced to life imprisonment.

After the tour of the city, we visited the Musee des Beaux Arts. Most of the art is French, but we also viewed one early Rembrandt, a couple of Picassos, some Dutch and Flemish painters, including Bruegel and some sculptures by Rodin. The museum is in an 18th century convent.

Reader Comments (3)

Sounds like a great time! Watch those ankles with all the smoked salmon, mine blew up like a balloon!!!! What a way to go! Laurie found a lovely home in McKinney and will move on Aug 2. We are delighted! Today we were packing since it will be no time until the move. The kids are excited, they will be going to different schools. New start for all.
Love to you both!

July 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLila and Bob

Hope the sillk worms are being paid a fair wage for all that work. This might be something Amnesty International wants to investigate- slave labor in Lyon. The photos are fabulous and the descriptions, well they are fabulouser! We imagined consuming all of those fantastic delicacies while we scraped our oatmeal bowls.

July 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEdn Peggy

Lyon,, Wonderful!

July 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGinger

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