The jet lag is starting to wear off so we woke a little earlier to head into Lyon. We purchased an all day pass for public transport in Lyon which is a good deal for €6 as we wanted to cover a lot of ground today.
On the way to Lyon we asked a young gentlemen to confirm we were at the correct bus stop, and ended up chatting with him most of the way to downtown. He is trying to start a company to refill wine bottles directly rather than sending them to recycling first and then remolding them. He told us there is a similar program going on with beer bottles in Oregon that we were not familiar with. We enjoyed a wide ranging conversation from tax methods to population density of Oregon vs France. These small contacts are always fun and encouraging.
When we finally arrived in downtown Lyon after a detour due to a market along the route and getting caught in a major traffic jam, we ran into the finish line for the Lyon marathon. We spent a little time watching the runners finish, and enjoying the good mood of the spectators and runners as they crossed the line.
Our next stop was the Roman theater which was pretty close to the finish line, the problem was it was about 600 feet higher on a pretty steep hill. There were two funiculars up the hill which were covered by our transit pass, but I could not find them so we ended up climbing the hill. The Roman theater is quite large and well preserved. It is still used to stage plays during the year, and holds about 6000 people in its current configuration. During the Roman era there was a second wooden deck that accommodated another 5000 people.
In the distance we saw a cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary and headed over there. It was a fairly modern cathedral built around 1872. The story about the cathedral is it is on a hill overlooking the original cathedral in Lyon Saint-Jean. In the 1500’s when the plague was going thru Europe the town prayed to Mary that if she spared Lyon from the plague they would do an annual procession to the top of the hill, and the plague skipped Lyon. In the 1600’s there was a cholera epidemic in the area, and the citizens again prayed to Mary and promised a church on top of the hill if Lyon was spared, and it was. Finally during the Franco-Prussian war in 1870 the citizens asked Mary to spare them from destruction by the Prussians this time promising a cathedral, which was duly built when the Prussians by passed Lyon.
We also found the funicular so our trip down to the main city was much quicker and easier on the knee’s. I have become quite reliant on Google for navigation, and it was at this point that I realized that despite Lyon being the third largest city in France, its transit system was not loaded into Google maps. So now to get to our next destination I had to go back to the old way of trying to compare a city map with a transit map to figure the best way to get to a food hall with several famous restaurants. It was not pretty but eventually we arrived just in time to watch all of the restaurants close up for the day.
So instead we headed back to François where Ton prepared me a delicious meal.