Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lyon, France : Part One

A few weeks ago Jim and I spent the weekend in Lyon. I've been putting off this post because this was the first trip we took after I got to Switzerland and of course I took a million pictures.
So here we go....

Lyon is located here:

It's France's third largest city in population but second in urban area. Geneva is about 1 hour 45 min to the north-east by car or train. We took the TGV (train) and it was pretty great. The cost was 44.-CHF per person going and 33.-CHF coming back. Not bad for going to a whole other country.

No trip is ever complete without snacks.

We left Geneva around 3pm and were at our hotel in Lyon shortly after 5. We stayed at Hotel de La Cité, which was given good reviews on Trip Advisor and was in our price range. Since neither one of us had been to Lyon we thought this was a good location, and while it was not directly in downtown Lyon, a bus stop was right out front and it was across from one of the entrances to the Parc de la Tête d'or (basically the Central Park of Lyon).

obligatory room shot
obligatory bathroom shot
Turned on the TV and this came on
view of the Rhône from our hotel room

After some brief relaxing I consulted the concierge for directions downtown and a recommendation/reservation for dinner. After a 10 minute ride on the bus we arrived just on the other side of the Saône river. It was raining earlier and just started to clear up.

We went to this restaurant; La Machonnerie. It is located in the old part of Lyon, with small winding streets made of cobblestone, and almost no room for a car.

I can't remember what we ordered, it was some kind of tasting menu. Lyon is famous for its food and there are a ridiculous amount of Boucheries and Brasseries. I believe our soup course came with some fresh ground pepper.

I asked Jim to pepper my soup

And of course it wouldn't be France without cheese for dessert, I can't even tell you what is on this plate - mainly because the server told us in French - but I'm pretty sure it translated to "tasty, delicious, even better than the last one". So we tried them all. That is actually allowed, they put this tray at your table and you help yourself for a while, and then they come over and bring it to another table.

And after the cheese we rolled ourselves back to the hotel. Stay tuned for part two where we find Jim's favorite restaurant EVER!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The View

I left my laptop and camera gear at home today, but here is a pic I just snapped with my iphone.

This is the view I see everyday. The people I am nannying for live in this fantastic house in Creux-de-Genthod. I love this view but there are so many things missing from this picture; like how pink the roses are, how blue the lake is, how you can see the French Alps waaay back there where it look like clouds but it's really mountains with snow. And of course there are the things pictures can't even capture, like the breeze, the birds, the ripples on the lake, the smell of the grass.....I think if we were living in this house we would never leave.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Joyeuses Pâques tardif

Easter may have been weeks ago but I took 3 pictures and here there are:

The Easter bunny left all of Jim's favorite things: gummies, chocolate, peeps and champagne

I got these sweet crocheted slippers from my Aunt.

Euro Easter Brunch

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Best Purchase Ever

(Insert angels singing here)

That's right we are proud owners of a Nespresso. Yipee :)
This little beauty delivers single cups of heaven whenever I like, and I couldn't be happier.

Lets rewind for a minute. As long as I have known Jim he has never liked coffee. He likes those Dunkin' Donuts Dunkaccinos which I think are actually coffee flavored sugar or chai or anything from Starbucks that has chocolate and not coffee. Do you see the theme? Sugar yes, chocolate good, coffee no. And it wasn't like he didn't like to to just drink it, but he didn't like the smell either. For 2 years I'd been asking for a Keurig for home, but to no avail. I managed to survive though. So I was more than surprised when last year in Paris, Jim insisted we go out for coffee. He even drank cafe au lait almost every morning at the hotel for breakfast. He actually enjoyed drinking coffee.

Last year when Jim moved to Switzerland he started again on the coffee but this time it was Nespresso. I had never heard of this, maybe I was living in a box or something but to my knowledge Nespresso in the US is a relatively new thing. Jim started drinking them at work and the concept is similar to Keurig. Nespresso makes single serving espresso or lungo. And they are quite tasty.
After I arrived in April we spent the first Saturday shopping and checking out the different machines and drinking samples. We decided to wait a little while since we really needed other things more than a glorified coffee maker.
The waiting lasted 2 weeks.

We chose the Nespresso Pixie which actually comes in 6 colors. I was tempted by the lime but we went with aluminum, that way no matter what kitchen decor we have in the future it'll match. I'm a thinker.

The Nespresso machines take single capsules in 16 flavors, and 3 or 4 times a year there is a limited addition flavor. You can only buy the capsules online or at an authorized Nespresso store. Even though they sell the machines at a number of other retailers, you can't get the capsules there. No biggie though, there are a few Nespresso stores in Geneva and when we move back to the US we'll just place orders online. Capsules come in packs of 10 for about $5 so it's easy to order a bunch at once.

Finally coffee at my fingertips just like it was meant to be.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sunday Funday

One of the biggest differences between Switzerland and the US is the fact that 24 hours/7 days a week does not exist here. Business closes around 6:30 daily and nothing is opened on Sundays. Well, church is open, McDonald's, a few cafes and restaurants but shopping and grocery stores are closed.

The first Sunday I was here I wanted to go out and do something, but other than walking around seeing things outside there wasn't much else to do. So we went out. Jim suggested we go to the UN because when I visited in February, it looked like a cool place to stop and take pictures, but at that time he wasn't interested. Then when the bus came it was going in the direction of Jardin Botanique, so we decided to go there too. It was pretty fantastic and the weather was great that day too. The Botanical Gardens have greenhouses, trails, a open space for play and relaxing, a shop and cafe...all open on Sunday. A gold mine!

United Nations

This fountain park is in front of the UN

Broken Chair at the UN

Jim under the broken leg, with horrible shadow

Then it was off to the botanical gardens...

obligatory face in the flowers shot

delicious magnum-wich, half cookie half milk chocolate dipped. genius!