This past weekend, I flew to the gastronomic capitol of France, Lyon, to meet up with 3 of my friends from my sorority in college. Two of them, Meg and Devan, are English language assistants at primary schools in Lyon, and Amy flew in from Oxford where she is getting a Masters in Political Science…or something more complex I probably can´t understand nor try to explain.
While the trip was only 90 minutes by plane, the contrast between Lyon, France and my life in Madrid was sharp. For starters, the language barrier was quite a hurdle. Sure, I can throw in a French word into conversation every once in a while (Déjà vu, Rendezvous) but beyond that I was struggling. Also, Lyon isn´t Paris, and English is definitely not the norm. Everyone I met was friendly and helpful, and Meg and Devan are essentially fluent, but it made me realize that maybe I know more Spanish than I thought. While my Spanish is nowhere near fluent, I am never left wondering ¨what is this restaurant serving for dinner?¨ or ¨how much does this cost?¨
While Spain and France are next-door neighbors, Lyon is the classy, refined, older sister to Madrid´s more boisterous, roudy, and spirited attitude. An example? Red wine flows freely but beer is rarely on the menu! We crammed a lot of lyonnaise fare into my short trip: numerous decadent meals (spinach and salmon quiches, goat cheese and honey tartines, mussels and risotto…you get the idea) and hit all of the main tourist attractions: the amazing basilica, Roman ruins (the oldest in Europe!) from 15 BC, the Christmas market, Lyon´s biggest park, a painted wall and a few random walks throughout the city.
One of my favorite parts, though, was ¨exploring a new city with old friends¨ as my friend Amy put it. While I can´t agree with her more, I definitely burst out laughing when she said it…standard. At the end of my trip, though, one of the greatest feelings was returning to Madrid and having it feel like home.
Lunch on Saturday: a tartine with goat cheese and honey
Amy, Devan, me, and Meg at Lyon´s Christmas market:
things I geek out about: cool street art
view of the city from the basilica: