Saturday, January 21, 2012

Europe appears to be winning....

I used to hold up three fingers like this:
Now I do it like this:

Military time no longer looks funny to me.  I can even know what time it is without subtracting usually...

I can't think in Fahrenheit anymore (I've always been bad at estimating temperature, so I probably had a pretty weak grasp on that one to begin with, but still).

I type on an AZERTY keyboard (below) at work and am now more used to that than the QWERTY one on my laptop and have trouble switching back. Hello words full of random "q"s instead of "a"s and ";" instead of "m."

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Lyon and the Festival of Lights

I'm so behind.... Here is my last trip from last year. Apparently at some point Mary (Jesus' mother Mary) saved the city of Lyon from the plague, so each year on December 8th they put candles on their windowsills to honor and thank her. This has in recent years grown into a huge light show spectacular that includes the weekend closest to December 8th, when there are light shows in a lot of the squares of Lyon, and many of the major landmarks are included. One of my coworkers is Lyonnaise, so he invited me and a few friends to go stay with his parents and check out the show.

As an aside to the festival of lights story, I love going into people's homes to see how  Europeans live. It's so much fun and an experience you just don't get if you're just touring or don't know people. I have a few family friends who live in France/Belgium that I've gone to visit, so I've gotten to see several different houses and lifestlyes, and this was another totally different one, so I loved that part of it.

Back to the festival. Friday night we got in an headed off to start seeing the lights. As this is a light festival, the photos will do most of the talking...

A horse galloping across the facade of city hall

A picture of a woman tumbling across the building beside city hall

An awful picture of the basilica with a Merci Marie sign beside it

An enormous bunch of brilliantly colored balloons attached to a statue
A picture of Lyon taken from the basilica showing how enormous those balloons are...
  Saturday's daylight hours were spent touring around and seeing Lyon itself, which is a beautiful city spread on the hills and floodplain where two rivers join.

The basilica

Mural! Lyon has several huge murals that are really cool.
 Saturday night, more lights. The first two are from a park where they had a whole bunch of small scenes set up with chicken-wire figures. It was a really cool effect! As seen below, they made some good ones (I love the dragon in the background of the second) and the figures could disappear into the darkness when they weren't lit up and then appear at dramatic times in the stories.

A nice walk along one of the rivers at night

I think that may be the basilica on the other side of the hill, but it looks rather eerie...
 My (and most people's) favorite light piece was a courthouse or something where they had a pinball light show set up, and people were actually playing! I for some reason don't have a picture, but it was awesome. And just to make it better, pinball is called flipper in French. While this was apparently a bad year for the show in general (crisis, budget issues, etc), it was cool to us since it was our first time.  Lyon is a city I could wander around more given another chance and I could definitely go try some of the restaurants, since Lyon is known as the gastronomic capital of France (which says a LOT). But, alas, as I leave France in a month, I don't think I'll get another chance at Lyon before leaving...