Friday, August 31, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Another Day in Lyon

The real reason I wanted to see Lyon was from what I'd read in our DK Eyewitness Travel Guide. Like many of France's great cities, the Romans at one stage influenced their growth in trade, culture and architecture. Lyon has its fair share of Roman influence.
Originally a hill fort of the Gauls, the Romans settled the area in 42BC. I read where the Gauls named it Lugdunum and because of its position on two main rivers, it became a prime centre for trade.

Lyon is also known for its Gastronomic delights and that's maybe why Sue agreed that Lyon should be on our travel wish list. I'm not sure which we discovered first - after all it was 2009. For the purpose of this post lets say we visited the Roman ruins in the Fourviere Hill region first.
It was the two Roman Theatres I wanted to see and when I did I discovered that Leonard Cohen was to give a concert at the larger theatre in a few days time. Unfortunately we would be on our way back to Paris.

Setting up for the Leonard Cohen concert in Lyon.
I spent some time wandering, climbing and just sucking in the history of the place, being totally in awe of what was. But time was creeping on and Sue was waiting for me to return to where she was waiting. I was excited and wanted to share what I had seen. It was time for her to experience the culinary delights of Lyon. We had no idea where we would enjoy lunch and had not booked anything in advance but luck was on our side.
The doors were closed on the bike shop so I drooled on the window at this magnificent classic bike with its wooden rims. It was directly across from the Bouchon where were lucked upon.
Sue speaking now...
I'm not sure that luck was on our side, but I was certainly on the case! While Leon was fantasizing on the bike shop window, I was reading the menu of the bouchon opposite. Sounded great, so we decided to try our luck there. On entering, we asked for a table for two, and were met with a long, slow consideration of both of us from the waiter. He finally asked if we would be happy to share a table. We assured him we would. He showed us to a table for four at which sat an older couple half way through their meal. They were very polite and pleasant in welcoming us to the table, so that was OK. He spoke a little English, which he said he learned at school and his wife, no English at all. They would have been late 60s maybe. But definitely old school. The table next to us had a group of four American people who were happy to make themselves known to other English speakers. They wanted to know our secret, as apparently many others had tried to get into this busy restaurant while they were there and had all been turned away. They had apparently booked many weeks in advance as the place was well known. We didn't know the secret, drat! as I'm sure it is something that would be a handy skill on occasion! 
Anyhow, we had a lovely meal and a great time, conversing with the people both at our table, and those at the table beside ours. The French couple were on their way from Brittany I think, to visit with their son in the south,as they had just been delivered of a third grand child. We didn't get to choose our meal as food just materialized in front of us. Must have been a lunchtime deal, although it didn't say so any where, and that's not what seemed to happen with our US friends at the next table. It was a little odd as I recall. In fact there was a moment of awkwardness when we were given an amazing plate each of a mix of chocolate desserts and next door were given fromage blanc! They objected very strenuously and were eventually given a complimentary chocolate dessert to share. The bill in the end was about half what we expected. All in all yet another fabulous experience. Lyon is not my favorite city in France, but I would happily return to this bouchon!
I wish we could tell you more about this Bouchon's location but alas, I've tried in vain with Google Earth. Maybe one of our readers can help.
The following day we needed to catch the TGV from Lyon for our week back in Paris before returning back home in Melbourne. This was our longest trip to France starting from Senlis, Chantilly and onto the Loire and Burgundy. Along the way we met some lovely people - people that we keep in touch to this day.
Join us next Wednesday while we spend a week living in an apartment in the 11 em of Paris.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Another Melbourne Weekend.

Friday nights for us - if you occasionally pop in to the blog - you will know that its a special end of the week wind down for us.
Bubbly, a nice dinner and maybe a relaxing movie. This Friday night Sue decided on quail breasts. How lucky is this boy?

Cherry tomatos and zucchini
The quail breasts
OK, I know its out of focus but the taste was extraordinary.
Good old fashion apple pie - coffee and port. afterwards. Naturally.
 Friday night has come and gone - Saturday night we were invited to a 60th birthday party, this seems to happen quite often lately. Now as 60th birthday parties go, this one REALLY rocked. As we arrived we could hear this live band - have you seen like aged people dancing through to midnight. Its rather pathetic to teenagers but don't we know how to have fun?
Our birthday boy even joined the band and even played a guitar solo. A great night.

Lately my weekends have been busy and very little time has been spent in the garden but things have changed. Winter is slowly waving goodbye and spring is finding its way into our backyard. Those bare trees are starting to bud, grass is growing and my chores are also growing. I kick started the lawn mower, pulled out the garden tools and spent Sunday getting the yard in order. I'm not quite sure if I can keep up with the growth of spring coming on.

The Prunis is budding, only shyly at the moment but wait till next month.
And the Jasmine not only looks good, but its perfume will add to our BBQ dinners in this summer.
Here's a close up of the Jasmine - the colours are great.
Sue and our son Mitch spent some time buying some herbs to plant in pots which sit on the timber deck. Its only a short walk from her kitchen. These are the some of the smells that will waft through the house as I return from work during the week.

Hello Rosemary
Vietnamese mint - for stir fries 
Coriander and chives
And Parsley
Bring on spring and summer - I'm in need in an overdose of vitamin D.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Foto

Driving home tonight, the traffic slowed as we were caught in Friday peak hour traffic. It gave me an opportunity to catch this rainbow disappearing into the passing storm clouds over the Melbourne CBD.
In the foreground is our troubled ferris wheel - being rebuilt for the second time without ever taken any passengers - maybe one day. Have an enjoyable weekend.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Walking the covered hallways of Lyon

It was a sunny day for our second day in Lyon and Sue wanted to see the covered passageways (Traboules) where the silk traders made their way safely from from their warehouses to market. We wandered into the old part of Lyon searching for a way into these passageways but many of the entrances were boarded up and not open to the public. We did however discover a few to discover. They call these passageways Traboules and the best place to find the few among hundreds open to the public is in the Vieux-Lyon and Croix-Rousse areas. The first of these Traboules are believed to date back to the 4th Century and during WWII, they were instrumental in stopping the Germans from taking full control of Lyon.
I'm not sure that we discovered the real Traboules or maybe we just touched the surface of the honeycomb of what still exists. I imagine that today, many are unsafe for the public to enter. What we did see though gave us an indication of the rabbit warren of secret passageways that exist beneath old Lyon.

 It wasn't until I did some further research on the Traboules of Lyon that became aware that two cities that we have visited, also have Traboules - those being Macon and St Etienne. Its amazing how much you discover after the event.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A day at Historic ROB ROY HILLCLIMB

Sunday was a vintage sports car meeting held at Rob Roy Hillclimb - now you might ask, "What is a Rob Roy?" I can answer that because I was invited to put my book, "Rob Roy Hillclimb - The Hill, the Drivers, the Cars" on display and hopefully make a few sales. When we initially released the book, the profits paid for our first air fares to France - a country we gained a passion for.

Back in 1992, our car club, the MG Car Club had the opportunity to resurrect a very famous part of Australian Motor Sport history. The Light Car Club of Australia established Rob Roy Hillclimb back in 1937 with its demise in 1961. It took 30 odd years before it was restored to its former glory with its reopening in February 1993 with the "Return to Rob Roy" meeting. Many of the surviving drivers from the past era were invited to help celebrate those nostalgic days.

No matter what the conditions, Melbourne people always come out for a Rob Roy Hillclimb Meeting.

To help with the costs of restoring the venue, we formed a revenue raising program which our little group within the MG Car Club named, Friends of Rob Roy. We signed up 500 members within a period of 8 months. In that time I met with many of these old Snoozers who had raced at Rob Roy. I listened to their tales, they offered photos and cuttings and as the collection of material grew it morphed into a book. I guess that's a long story to tell as to why I was there.

The Competitors

I was quite chuffed to have been invited and we sold quite a few books on the day but just as enjoyable was to meet up with many old friends - several drivers still alive who feature in the book and to meet some new people who had fathers and uncles that competed there in the past.

The Cars

Then again there were some not so perfect cars but I'm sure that their owners loved them just as much.

Rob Roy Hillclimb in the northern hill country of outer Melbourne sits in amongst some of the most picturesque terrain. I remember when I was more involved with the running of events at the hill, we would have to shoo the kangaroos off the property before the drivers arrived to prepare their cars for the day's meeting. Occasionally there would be a wedge tail eagle floating on the thermals - God's Own Country!!! For sure.

Then there were the little boys toys.

As the day progressed and old friends were met, greeted and wished good wishes for the future, we started packing up with a successful day's sales of the book. The rains the day before may have made Rob Roy Hillclimb look like a cow paddock but I can tell you that it did not dampen the spirits of the vintage car enthusiasts of Melbourne.