Saturday, November 21, 2009

Amie pour Lyon

Bonsoir, Madames et Monsieurs, bienvenue. Oh my. Well, that was fun. The point is, I made it to Lyon.

Before we get into that, lets have a quick recap of what happened yesterday. Whirlwind tour of London, 500 photos, touristy goodness, historical enjoyment, rain, sunshine, and a visit to the West End. All in all, a very successful day.

The London Dungeons were a highlight of sorts (after all one can't be startled that many times without it having some sort of effect on you), but they had that wonderful touristy sheen over them, so while enjoyable, somewhat forgettable. The Tower of London however, and it's nifty (if patchy) audio guide was very interesting, and altogether amazing. The crown jewels are very pretty (and no I'm not talking about my undercarriage), but what I found most intriguing was the graffiti engraved into the stone of some of the prison towers. Especially beautiful was a zodiac calendar, carved with amazing precision. The man who carved it was hanged for collaborating with witches. Well, there you go. I did manage to make it to The Globe Theatre, but unfortunately the whirlwind tour didn't allow us the time for me to take the tour. I'm going to try my darnedest to get back there.

There's a positive gallery of images, and most of them speak for themselves.

Lastly, but certainly not least in my mind, was the show of Avenue Q on the West End. It was postively fabulous, but best of all we got a free upgrade from grand circle to front row dress circle seats. So much fun. Also, it was held in the Gielgud Theatre, which was beautiful and very true to its origins as a 1920's theatre. We even got to say hi to two of the cast as they held out buckets at the front for a children's charity. "When you help others, you can't help helping yourself" they said... and sang. Can't wait to see a couple of shows on Broadway also.

An exhausted train journey later, and packing began in earnest. A few extra warm bits and bobs to fit in made it a squeeeze. Also, the stitch from my recent surgery started giving me trouble so I completed some self-surgery and removed the stitch, complete with a small amount of attached flesh. Gross beyond belief, and mildly painful.

But now, the kicker. The journey to Lyon started well enough, getting up on time, sedately having breakfast, catching the train to St Pancras International and having enough time to make a skype call to Mum and Dad and then get on the train. EVen the journey to Paris was smooth, and I made friends at 220km/h. That is to say, my neighbour was a director/screenwriter who happened to be working on a script for a CG-animated version of the hannah-barbera classic "Top Cat", and this small excerpt he was going to send off to one of the actors from Moulin Rouge to give a whirl. Fingers crossed he gets the green light and we see that film in a couple of years. That aside, when we reached Paris I exited, and at the moment where I reached the end of the platform, a feeling of being very alone settled over me.

Within moments I was approached by a wily beggar, clearly preying on english travellers with a sob story. Nothing went my way. The automatic ticket machine wouldn't accept my credit card as the one that paid for the ticket to Lyon, the ATM wouldn't accept my travel money card's pin, and I had no change, only notes to buy a ticket from Paris Gare du Nord to Paris Gare du Lyon. A helpful ticket lady got me my ticket, I bought water at a stall to get change, got the Metro card and rushed to the platform. Unfortunately though, I hadn't left myself enough time, and I missed the train to Lyon by 2 minutes. The trains are rediculously on time here, they leave precisely when they say they leave. So there I was, apparently stranded in Paris, stumped for a moment for what to do. I'll admit, there was rising panic. Even so, I whipped out my trusty iPhone with french phrasebook, navigated a way with the ticketing office; I missed the train turned into "Le train departee non avec moi" ("the train left without me"), and changed a ticket for the next train. With a moment to regroup, I began feeling better, but I was still shaking a little and my pulse was beating nearly as fast as the eurostar travels.

The rest of the trip to my hotel in Lyon was relatively uneventful, but the hotel is lovely and I've taken refuge in my room/chambre. I should probably go and find something to eat, but I think I'll just have some toblerone, a packet of chips from the room and wait for the buffet breakfast in the morning. It has been a big day. Unfortunately the Wi-Fi here isn't free, so I'm only going to post the text on my roaming mobile data - I'll upload the photos from some free Wi-Fi and update the post with them later.

Hopefully breakfast tomorrow will steady my nerves so I can journey about the city. Muse awaits, at the very least.

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