Friday, 23 November 2012

Lyon: Une Promenade Matinale

vendredi le 23 novembre, 2012; 18:35
emplacement: dining table, chez Dimouchy. Vourles, Lyon France
pourquoi: Because Anna asked why I haven't posted lately

I really love my traveling soulmate, the Amazing Anna. We are so connected because I was tinkering with a piece for my next post. I sat inside a café in Lyon with the goal of hashing it out but guess what distracted me? No, not boys. Facebook. Fail.


Because you see, it was on Facebook that my travel soul sister asked why I hadn't been blogging.

Ma belle cherie-soeur, ce post est pour vous. Je t'aime!!

One of the great things I love about wanderin' is not going to the 'must sees' and doing the 'must dos'. Instead, I find complete pleasure in the simple things. Such as 'une promenade'. And I have gone on some nice walks.

One crisp morning I took the bus into Lyon d'aller faire une promenade. This city is full of lovely bridges so I started my walk by hanging out on one of them. The rivers Saône and Rhône split the city of Lyon into three major parts. It's easy to remember that the Rhône is on the right side, the Saône is the left side and they converge southwards in the Confluence area. The two rivers create Presqu'île which is the city center of Lyon, aka "The Island"

Hmm, what am I looking at?

Oh, that's a nice view of the old buildings...

Lyon, like a lot of other European cities, is very old. The cool thing is this is a designated UNESCO heritage site. I think I'm subconsciously drawn to these sites because it just occurred to me that the cities I absolutely adored were UNESCO places. Melaka in Malaysia and Luang Prabang in Laos. Oh, how I pine for these two cities...

One of my favourite things to do is meander in the narrow streets and laneways of old towns. And Vieux Lyon did not disappoint. I highly recommend going on a weekend morning stroll when most of the city is still asleep. I adore this 'alone time' because I enjoy the quietness of a place before it roars to life.

Sunday morning dance practice? Peut-être:

As I traversed the streets this one morning, I just headed upwards from the left bank of the Saône where Vieux Lyon rests in her quaintness.

Every so often, I would take note of her crumbling textures:

And always keeping a keen eye on street art. I'm jonesing for some Banksy or Mr. Brainwash. Definitely always looking for Space Invader. But none so Paris perhaps? Peut-être.

But these types of street art are cute too:

I wonder how I can free Joe...he looks more like Federico Aubele...

As I climbed upwards in the old city, I stopped to take in the views incrementally; stealing glimpses as the sun slowly warmed the rooftops. I could feel the city waking up from it's Sunday morning slumber. The air was still crisp and the soleil toasted my chilly cheeks as I hiked towards the big church at the top.

The river Saône in the near distance:

Alas, I made it to the top! The statuesque church, known as Basilique de Fourvière is definitely a touristy place. But lucky for me, at 10:30-ish, I pretty much had the place to myself. And for some strange reason, there wasn't any Sunday mass happening. Perhaps later in the day? Peut-être.

In the meantime I took in the nice view of the city. The tower in the distance is Part-Dieu, a shopping and business center. It is also known to locals as 'le crayon':

My obligatory self portrait:

And look at me all fancy using the self timer on my camera!

I spent a good little while up here just watching the clouds moving life by. And with hardly anyone around, my mind was free to focus on some music in my headphones.

At the moment: Song For Max:

And as I put Shed Demo's album on repeat, my mind was also free to focus thoughts on the Dashing Young Buck. Do you think boys are still distracting me? Peut-étre. My favourite French word these days. Maybe. No, really, that's what it means.

So, was I thinking about a boy. Totes. That's Canadian for totally. You can take the Canadian Girl outta Canada but ya totes can't take the totes outta her!

Hmm, that was kinda corny. Boys. Make. Me. Corny. Sometimes.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Coastally Surreal

lundi le 5th novembre, 2012; 13:11
Location: Starbucks, rue de la République, Lyon France
Pourquoi: Beautiful things happen in threes.

Ever see something so f@cking beautiful, you could cry? Make that two things for me. Okay, three.

Firstly, Spain. Ohhhlaaa, espagne. I sunbathed topless the first time with you 13 years ago in the Mediterranean Sea. You filled me with so much warmth, it never left me. Then the universe brought me back to you with the most wonderful host family in the world. How do I honour you with this post?

Let me start with my ode to you:

For one week, my host family, the Dimouchy's and I spent our holiday in Ajuntament de Roses, a town that wrapped itself around the Med Sea near the French/Spanish border. On 28th October we piled up all the necessities into the car needed for the 5hr drive out of France. One thing I deliberately left behind was my laptop, thinking that since we're on holiday, I wouldn't be giving English lessons to my host sisters. Wrong. Luckily Adaptability is my #1 strength (Thanks and lessons centered around our daily happenings.

But before any English words were written, young Alice took the time to draw a wonderful "Portrait of A Chinese Girl" in the middle seat.

She pretty much captured the essence of me sleeping in the car (minus the drool thankfully). I mean look at the lips! And my misspelled name will be in a future lesson no doubt (:

D'accord, a few hours later, we pulled into town and filed into our flat for the week - a small-ish home facing the sea. Sunsets on the balcony? Sure! Better still - sunset on the pier. Simple pleasures.

One day we strolled into the local market to sample the good eats available. Now, I have had some good churros in my time...

But nothing beats a local making it right there. BAM! Now that's fresh:

Ever want to sample sangria to your heart's content? Then get your butt to Roses, Costa Brava, Spain.

Yup, some serious sampling happened here...

On another day, we went for a leisurely hike on the well marked trails. We're on holidays after all so stress-free activities was on order. Hugging the cliffs while the sun sparkled like diamonds in the sea is pretty stress-free don't you think? 

Clear blue skies and the snow capped Pyrénées Alpes didn't hurt either:

Like diamonds in the sea:

Secondly, on a rainy day, my host father, Marc and 15yr old Juliette took me to the one place I had anxiously been awaiting. I've got goosebumps writing this and wish I could articulate what an experience it was for me to go to this place. The first time I saw his work in the flesh was back in 1999 when I was in Paris' Montmartre neighbourhood and happened to stumble upon the somewhat hidden museum. This artist was a coming of age for me in my final high school year. He opened my eyes to the world beyond the "normal". Before him, I thought Gustav Courbet was the kind of artist I aspired to be. Or emulating Van Gough would validate me.

But when clocks are melting, giraffs are burning and drawers are coming out of a woman's breasts, it changes your perception of what is real. It becomes surreal. Which then becomes real.

He was an absolute Genius:

I have spent countless hours studying his work. And while The Persistance of Memory piece is in America, The Hallucinogenic Toreador is appropriately placed in this museum that He Himself conceptualized, designed and painted.

A close up of one of the most alluring paintings to me:

The following piece trumps the Raft of the Medusa in the Louvre in terms of size. Overwhelming.

 "Apotheosis of the Dollar":

Homage to Mae West, was...surreal. She was as unconventional an actress as Dali was an artist:

Visiting the Museu Dali was the highlight of being in Spain this time around.

The past week, my eyes feasted on clear blue skies, diamonds dancing in water and brush strokes by a master.

Beautiful things happen in threes. That's why it's my favourite number. The third thing was receiving two pictures in my messages this morning that were so beautiful, I could cry.

And of course, I won't share this with you because...well some things are just meant for me (: