Tag Archives: Bridges

Last Minute Lyon

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.

And into the disaster zone we go!

And off into the disaster zone we go!

**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 Bridge

A shot of me taking the above shot

A shot of me taking the above shot

Lyon Bridge

 

Lyon view

Lyon views

Lyon Town Hall

Grafiti

Hinterhof

Penguins

Lyon has tons of cute cafés…

Lyon Café

Lyon Café

Lyon Café 1

 

Here's one where you can play any conceivable type of board game

No, it’s not a café with slot machines, but one where you can play any conceivable type of board game

Lyon Café

Flashy and with great ambience for sure, but a tad expensive. €23 for sausage and lentils? Forget it! In Spain, you can have that for a fiver. And the sausage will be up to scratch.

Lyon Café

Roses

It also seems to have been moving day in Lyon:

Got a shelf to move but no car? Just pop in on a skateboard!

Got a shelf to move but no car? Just pop in on a skateboard!

Kill two birds with one stone: Use mattress as rain shield

Kill two birds with one stone: Use mattress as a rain shield

Can you guess what's coming?!

Can anyone guess what’s coming up next?!

Yup. Cakes!!! What else?!?

Lyonese praline tart - fancy stuff!

Lyonese praline tart – fancy stuff!

...unfortunately, the one I tried wasn't all that great. Way too sweet and the pastry seemed to be made of bulletproof cardboard

Unfortunately, the one I tried wasn’t all that great. Way too sweet, and the pastry seemed to be made of bulletproof cardboard

Poached pear anyone? Now this one was absolutely delicious :)

Poached pear with gooey chocolate sauce anyone? Now this one was absolutely delicious 🙂

...but sometimes all you need is a crepe and a nice cup of tea :)

…and sometimes all you need is an apple sauce crêpe and a nice cup of tea 🙂

And some nice poppies to finish off :)

And some happy poppies to finish off.

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

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Photo Challenge: Look Up, Look Down

First time for me participating in a Photo Challenge event. I’ve seen plenty of these posted on the blogs I follow. Though marvelling at the originality of some of the entries, I’d never felt compelled to get my own feet wet until now.

Well, you see, three days ago, I took a picture of a fancy modern footbridge here in Toledo, which I cross regularly to get to a friend’s house. I’d taken pictures of it before, but this is the first one I snapped LOOKING UP, and when Debbie from Travel With Intent announced her photo challenge “Look Up, Look Down” yesterday, I just couldn’t resist 🙂

Footbridge

If you want to see what the bridge looks like from another perspective, click here. Incidentally, those pictures were taken LOOKING DOWN from the block of flats on the right-hand side (in the picture above), where my friend lives.

The Old and The New: The Spiny Footbridge

I took these pics a couple of days from my friend Olga’s house. You can just about make out Toledo’s historic town centre in the back, then there’s a much newer part of town (Buenavista) in the middle, and the rather snazzy modern footbridge I have to cross to get to my friend’s place in the foreground.

At the end of that bridge, apart from excellent company, there’s a glorious pool waiting for me, which beats any pot of gold at this time of year 🙂

Buena Vista Bridge

Buena Vista Bridge

A Walk Along The Tagus River At Dusk

Last Sunday evening, I went for a walk with a friend along the Tagus river (Tajo), which circles Toledo. I’ve done this walk dozens of times, it’s just ten minutes from my house, and it never gets old. Our walk took place in the evening as the sun was gradually setting, the river was eerily still, and the light amazing.

Tajo

Tajo

Tajo

Tagus At Dusk

Tagus at dusk

Tagus at dusk

The bridge featuring in last three pictures is El Puente De San Martín, (Saint Martin’s Bridge), one of Toledo’s two ancient bridges. You can read a couple of interesting tidbits about it in this post, and admire its handsome structure close-up and in daylight.

Toledo’s Rustic Street Views and Charming Crumbling Buildings

Chances are, in another 500 years from now, not much of this town will be left standing… so best snap as much of it as I can while I’m here.

See the green crane ruining my masterpiece of a shot?! There's always building maintenance work going on. But not nearly enough.

See the green crane ruining my masterpiece of a shot?! There’s always building maintenance work going on. But not nearly enough, as we shall see…

Not quite trusting that balcony...

Not quite trusting that balcony…

Welcome to the 13th century. I'm expecting somebody with a horse cart to push past me, hollering,  "Bring out your dead!" any minute now...

Welcome to the 13th century. I’m expecting somebody with a horse cart to push past me, hollering, “Bring out your dead!”

Toledo Houses

For sale! I do hope that line-up of blue pots is included :)

For sale! I do hope that line-up of blue pots is included 🙂

Toledo Buildings

This row of buildings looks quite tidy and as if (at least some) building regulations had been adhered to

This row of buildings looks quite tidy and as if (at least some) building regulations have been adhered to

Steep or what?! The local joke is that you can always tell a Toledanian woman from a visitor by how firm her butt is from having to go up and down these inclines every day. Each and every one of my guests has complained about sore thighs, calves, and behinds. One of my  London pals, who's been here three times now, has aptly termed this "toleditis".

Steep or what?! The local joke is that you can always tell a Toledanian woman from a visitor by how firm her butt is from having to go up and down these inclines every day. Each and every one of my guests has complained about sore thighs, calves, and behinds. One of my London pals, who’s been here three times now, calls it “toleditis”.

Toledo Buildings

And people are afraid to walk under ladders...!

And there’s people afraid to walk under ladders…!

For some stunning views of Toledo, click here.

Photographs of its two amazing historic bridges are here and here.

Toledo’s Beautiful Buildings: St. Martin’s Bridge (Puente De San Martín)

Toledo has two glorious historic bridges, Alcántara Bridge, of which I’ve posted a set of pictures a couple of weeks back, and St. Martin’s Bridge, coming up below.

The bridge was originally commissioned in the 14th century by Archbishop Pedro Tenorio, and, according to local lore, the architect who built it had made a big boo-boo. He realised a few days before the inauguration that he had miscalculated the bridge’s load bearing capacity.

Riddled with anxiety, he told wifey of his fears that once the scaffolding was removed, the structure would come tumbling down. Said wife, clearly more of an action person than a worrier, went out at night and burnt the whole thing down, giving her husband the chance to do the job again, and this time properly.
St Martin's Bridge

St Martin's Bridge Toledo

St Martin's Bridge Toledo

St Martin's Bridge Toledo

View from St Martin's Bridge, Toledo

St Martin's Bridge Toledo

St Martin's Bridge Toledo

Not half bad for a re-hashed botch job is it…?!

For some more beautiful views of Toledo, click here. (I add new pictures to this file on a regular basis).

Toledo’s Beautiful Buildings: Alcantara Bridge (Puente De Alcántara)

Here are some pictures I took of one of Toledo’s oldest bridges, Puente De Alcántara. The Arabic word “alcántara” actually means bridge, so “Alcántara Bridge” is a bit of a tautology if ever there was one 😉

Alcántara Bridge Toledo

Alcantara Bridge Toledo

Visible through one of the gates is the Castillo De San Servando, built a thousand years ago. Initially a monastery, it subsequently served to defend the city from hostile invasions (these were rather frequent in the past). Today, it's a very scenic youth hostel.

Visible through one of the gates, at the top, is the Castillo De San Servando, built a thousand years ago. Initially a monastery, it subsequently served to defend the city from hostile invasions (these were rather frequent). Today, it’s probably one of the most scenic youth hostels ever!

I love how the arc reflects in the water

I love how the arc reflects in the water

A shot from the other side to round it all off

A shot from the other side to round it all off

Click here for a picture of the bridge at night, taken by a friend

For pictures of Toledo’s other historic bridge, St Martin’s Bridge (Puente Del San Martín), click here.

And if you haven’t had enough yet,  here are some beautiful vistas of Toledo, which I keep adding to regularly.