At the start of our journey home from Thonon, we had stopped at a little bakery Fredriech knew as we needed baguettes for our planned picnic lunch in Geneva. It was a typical French Bakery, Boulangerie Patisserie. The exterior had character and the inside smelled and looked enticing and exciting, selling all sorts of patisseries and breads. I met the locals and was given the opportunity to take a picture of the baker and the young girl serving. They were very excited to have an Australian in their bakery and I caused quite a lot of busy discussion.
I have learned since then that it is not a common occurrence for Aussies to visit many of these areas and, as visiting Australia is deemed a distant dream, Australians are adored!!! It is a strange, but nice feeling to be treated as though I am a rare, exotic species (Maryvonne’s description)...similar encounters have occurred since....even in Lyon!
Jean Lucien had left early for work so Maryvonne and I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast as the sun poured into their little kitchen. We caught our train to Lyon from St Etienne Le Terasse, 200mtrs from Breniers’ home. It is the oldest railway station in the world, of which Jean Lucien is very proud.
Enjoying the sunshine, we strolled the streets to be shown the beautiful boutiques selling their expensive wares...(oh la la....I think I am fortunate to be going to Africa soon so as not to be tempted to buy their gorgeous shoes and clothes!!)
It was my delight to meet Guillian and then share lunch with her and Fredrique, as I have heard so much about Guillian from her Mum! She is a very talented musician. Her singing is so beautiful to listen to and she dreams one day of singing at the Sydney Opera House.....When she does....I will certainly be there! At the moment she is teaching singing and busily preparing for her final exam in June at Geneva. ...Thai for lunch, Guillian’s waffles she had made with coffee, farewell to Fredreich who had to return to work....then we walked to the Crayon (a name used by the locals as it is a brown cylindrical skyscraper with a pointed top and does look like a pencil!!)... rode to the 32nd floor for a bird’s eye view of Lyon and another cafe (coffee!). It was sad to farewell Guillian as I won’t see her again before I leave France however, I was grateful to have shared this special time with her.
The final part of our day out was delightful. We enjoyed Parc De La Tete Dór. This enormous park is very peaceful and perfect for jogging around (...a pity I was wearing my heels!) It boasts: a rose garden whose roses are just about to blossom, a central lake, Botanical garden and hot houses – one of which housed an impressive display of our Aussie flora (....I was very proud to be able to explain to both Maryvonne and Jean Lucien, who had joined us here, about the ones familiar to me)...a deer park and a large zoo, a velodrome and sporting complex and parklands well used by many young children playing.....
As dinner was prepared Jean Lucien took me on an evening tour to the top of the hill in St Etienne. My understanding of the geography and beauty of the Breniers’ home town was enhanced as the sun set over this lush green, hilly terrain.
..................Tomorrow I Go To Paris!!!!...........
(Thank you Jean Lucien for the enormous amount of energy and emotion spent trying to negotiate the slower than you are used to internet to get the exact directions for me from Gare De Lyon train station to my hotel in Paris!!!.....I know I will appreciate this when I arrive)