This morning I had to take Austin to a doctor. He complained of an earache (not caused by my talking this time). He admitted it had been there for 2-3 days.

I know from experience if Austin complains – its either a joke or quite bad. Well he wasn’t joking! I said, no problem, all doctors speak English. Yes, “Pustekuchen” as we say in German. This presented a new challenge to my blocked out school French. I think I mumbled something like: mon mari mal oreile droit pendant 2 jours…..I think the docteur got more from my sign language. She examined Austin’s ear, and within 5 minutes we had a prescription and an invoice for our insurance, and we were on our way!

The weather started to turn as we were driving into Lyon.

Our hotel was close to the Metro, so we didn’t loose any time to see the old city, St. Jean’s Cathedral, the lovely backstreets with its courtyards and hidden passageways – all in an unhurried, non-touristy environment. However it got really cold as the sun went down and we sought refuge in one of the backstreet restaurants. These are places whose menus offer calf-cheeks, diverse livers dishes, unidentifiable sausages, tribe and other offal with varies sauces – all totally overpriced.

In the more exclusive restaurants the chefs are apparently stars like footy players and create marvelous dishes… I read later in my travel guide).



Caught an early metro in, then found the tourist bus and “hopped on”.

Crossed the Rhone and the Saone, which meet in Lyon, drove past the old opera with new glass dome à la Berlin Bundestag, the old lovely theater, many really nice and exclusive shopping streets, the Hotel de Ville with fantastic fountain, and then crawled up the hill to Fouvière with Notre Dame Basilica. The Basilica was to be a tribute to Mary by the bishop of Lyon if she spared the city from the Prussians. It’s a beautiful building with its graceful towers, its mosaics and China doll like Mary figures on beds of flowers. Unfortunately we could only see the ornate ceilings on DVD as restorations are carried out.

The terrace outside presents a great view over the whole city. From there we walked down through the rose garden and down 200 steps ending in a small lane just above St. Jean’s Cathedral.

We carried on by foot avoiding the tourist bus, but following its tire tracks, so to speak.

In town across the river there was high life: people shopping, drinking, eating, and among the crowd about 100 Smurfs in human from, but nevertheless, as blue as can be. My friend Erika would have liked this. We watched groups of these young Smurfs and Smurfettes fulfilling little dares and pranks, and saw some of them later rolling in or being doused with flour after having jumped in the fountain. Great fun! All part of the new Uni student’s “Interacting Day” – to get to know each other

© Austin Robinson 2019