Posts Tagged ‘lion’

Up Fourvière one last time

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Something I loved about Lyon was the fact that no matter where you were in the city, you could almost always see the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière looming above. No matter what we were doing, the basilica was there doing it along with us, like a giant sitting on the hillside, a quiet but prominent and persistent friend, watching us play and laughing at our thoroughly un-French antics. (I admit that this illustration may be somewhat influenced by the fact that I am currently reading The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis.)

Lyon, France (Sep 18, 2010)

Photo taken in Lyon, France on September 18, 2010.

So, unsurprisingly, the basilica and the hill upon which it sits was something of a centerpiece of my Lyonnaise life. Due to its general impressiveness and historical and visual allure, as well as my silhouette-inspired interest in the lookout, I visited Fourviere more than any other place in the city. Sadly, since I needed to leave France sometime, there had to be a last trip up the hill for me! Happily though, I was accompanied that last time by Catie and her sister Emma, and the weather we were given was absolutely perfect. We even had a clear view of the alps from the top! (I had practically forgotten those even existed anywhere close to Lyon.)

Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)

Photo taken in Lyon, France on November 11, 2010.

There isn’t much here in Minnesota (where once again I presently temporarily reside) that could now fill the basilica-shaped hole in my life… The IDS Tower? The Mall of America? The Target Center? (I should quit my mocking for a moment and acknowledge that there is the somewhat impressive Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis, but it is definitely not a part of my everyday life like the Notre-Dame de Fourvière was. For one thing, I can not walk thirty yards out my front door in Plymouth and see Saint Mary’s!) I will miss my giant French friend, but for now, when I look up I can be satisfied with the beauty of the snow falling from the cold dark Midwestern sky.

Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)

Photos taken in Lyon, France on November 11, 2010.

The day I realized I would like to live in Scotland

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Catie and I are living in Lyon, France for three months this Fall. Cat is studying French at the local chapter of Alliance Française, taking classes every weekday for the entirety of our stay. She gets a break for a few days between each monthlong session however, and we took advantage of this by jetting (easyJetting, in fact) up to Scotland for five days to visit a couple of Cate’s Alaskan brethren. Her friend Hilary has been living in Edinburgh for several years, and her friend Adriane just moved up to Glasgow for the year to study at the Glasgow School of Art. Neither Catie nor I had ever been to Scotland before, so we were quick to jump at the opportunity to go and also visit close friends at the same time.

Heading into the trip, I did not really have any particular expectations. Catie and I were both looking forward to a vacation (away from our horribly stressful lives residing in a beautiful French city), and I was excited about reacquainting myself with my camera (something that I still don’t feel like I’ve done very often since Nepal in January of 2010) as well as getting away from my computer and programming iPhone apps for a few days. (I admit, I did bring my iPod Touch, but I left the laptop and iPad at home. I feign that the iPod was merely to keep in touch with worrisome parents and assure them that no Loch Ness -related incidents had occurred.)

Catie and I arrived fairly late Tuesday night, and despite Catie accidentally misinforming Hilary as to the time of our flight, we were successfully retrieved (in not too much rain) and brought back to a lovely apartment that Hilary shares with her boyfriend. (Oh, to have a one-bedroom living space with real furniture again… Catie and I are surviving together in our French studio apartment with futon bed, but just barely. In fact, we both felt like we were staying at some sort of luxe hotel while sleeping on Hilary and Phil’s air mattress with four pillows and large white duvet.)

Hilary luckily could (and was willing to!) take a couple days off work, so she was able to hang out and be our unpaid tour guide starting in the morning. We woke up fairly early, had a bowl of Rice Krispies (point, Scotland – I have had some serious beef with France on its lack of cereal selection), and set out onto the drippy streets of Edinburgh. I can’t say that I knew it instantly, but it did not take long for me to start feeling that we were walking through a truly magical place. I laugh at myself typing that word – magical – especially in light of how much I detested and made fun of Apple’s iPad marketing campaign centered on the very same, but I cannot think of a better way to describe it. I love the architecture and the unbelievable age of so many of the buildings. I love that you can see that age embedded in the stone with its dark striations that are probably due to years of pollution but have become a beautiful urban paint job. I love the texture of the materials all over the city – the rock, iron, and glass – along with the natural landscape into which they are embedded, and I love the fact that all of the associated colors and resulting patterns and contrasts become even more brilliant when they get wet from the common rain. And on top of all that, the cathedrals are as old and magnificent as any I have seen in Europe (although France may technically retain a bit of an edge in this category), the parks are beautiful, the food is generally delicious (including – for some reason yet to be discovered – a plethora of Indian, Nepalese, and even Bangladeshi restaurants), the accents are simply delightful, and if you spit, your chances of hitting a golf course are fairly high. (In fact, I believe there are over twenty courses in and around Edinburgh alone.)

So, while I was lying comfortably in bed at night after our first day of exploration, I started researching art schools in Edinburgh on my iPod. (And I found out later that after I went to sleep, Catie had done the very same thing, investigating social anthropology programs at the University of Edinburgh.) My dad did tell me before I left that we actually had a fairly significant family history going back to Scotland. Maybe it is that buried connection that I found while walking the streets of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 29, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 30, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 30, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 30, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 30, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 30, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 30, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 30, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 30, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Sep 30, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Oct 2, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Oct 2, 2010)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Oct 2, 2010)

Photos taken in Edinburgh, Scotland between September 29 and October 2, 2010.