Procrastination is the road to perdition. The original plan was to spend a long weekend in Lisbon, but when it finally came down to booking the trip a mere five days before it was meant to happen, air fares had shot up to stupid levels. Pushed for time, my friend and I plonked for Lyon instead, courtesy of some very reasonably priced EasyJet flights. Neither of us had been to Lyon before, and I was kinda keen (and terrified at the same time) to practice my abysmal French.
I came to regret this snap decision the very next morning. That’s when I heard about the escalation of the strike situation in France. I had been vaguely aware of some ongoing disputes to do with employees’ rights or something, but I’d not really been on the ball about the ramifications of this national crisis: oil refineries blocked off by burning barricades, a third of petrol stations out of fuel, public transport up the spout, air traffic controllers about to join the fray, etc.
**Spoiler alert: I fretted over nothing!**
In the end, we weren’t impacted by the strikes in any way whatsoever. Our trip turned out to have been very fortuitously timed, slotting in between two big bouts of industrial action.
Our only two complaints were the shitty hotel – our floor was stickier than a marshmallow factory – and the copious rain, but it was still a great weekend with lots of laughs and good food (except for a lunch involving gristly dry sausages – probably the only type of French food that a German can authoritatively criticise*).
Lyon is stunningly beautiful – I was agog whenever the curtain of rain parted, and everyone was really friendly and helpful. Even the staff of Marshmallow Towers.
The city stands at the confluence of two rivers and so there’s an infinite number of photogenic bridges:
Lyon has tons of cute cafés…
It also seems to have been moving day in Lyon:
Yup. Cakes!!! What else?!?
So, did I get to practice my French? Well, yes, a little… with mixed success. I understood virtually all the written information I came across, which would have passed me by a year ago. Also, the mere attempt of communicating in French with wait staff etc was received very well. Some chose to switch to English or Spanish, but they did it in good cheer, since, I guess, we had at least tried to make an effort. I hope to do better next time 🙂
*Find my German sausage post here: Nothing separates a German from their sausage