Between Seasons

We are heading towards the in-between season for fresh fruits and vegetables. Those few months between when supplies of winter items dwindle, but before the summer delights begin.

These months can be difficult to shop for in our local market. The contents of the stalls become more erratic between our weekly visits.

As Megan was busy with one stall this morning, I stepped aside and took photos of the colourful dried fruit nearby. The colours and tempting sugary pieces contrasted with the largely green produce available next door.

Bowls of dried foods in a French market
Bowls of dried foods in a French market.
Dried orange slices.
Dried orange slices.
Dried kiwi slices.
Dried kiwi slices.

Chambéry

We have a habit of visiting places in their off season. The season counter to the best time to see the city, sight, or spectacle. Our habit is not deliberate. Just a matter of when our time is available to take a break and explore somewhere new for a weekend.

We took an early morning train to Chambéry. A pretty town with a beautiful lake and stunning surroundings of alpine mountains.

Early morning frost from the train
Early morning frost from the train
Inside the older SNCF train
Inside the older SNCF train
Mountains form a background to most views of Chambéry
Mountains form a background to most views of Chambéry
Monument and mountains in the distance
Monument and mountains in the distance
Elephants at the base of a monument
Elephants at the base of a monument
A group protest outside the Town Hall
A group protest outside the Town Hall
Fortifications within Chambéry
Fortifications within Chambéry
Balconies
Balconies
A courtyard in Chambéry
A courtyard in Chambéry
Tree lined street in Chambéry
Tree lined street in Chambéry
Building being restored
Building being restored
Modern building in Chambéry
Modern building in Chambéry
Glass structure around a building
Glass structure around a building

Musee Savoisien

Umbrella display outside the museum
Umbrella display outside the museum
Coin collection
Coin collection
Coins held for closer inspection
Coins held for closer inspection
Wooden objects from the region's past
Wooden objects from the region’s past
Ceramic pots
Ceramic pots
Wooden farming equipment
Wooden farming equipment
Swan feeding with neck below the water
Swan feeding with neck below the water

Lac du Bourget

Plane taking off over Lac du Bourge
Plane taking off over Lac du Bourget
Looking out over Lac du Bourget
Looking out over Lac du Bourget
Lac du Bourget
Lac du Bourget

Navigating Gare de Lyon Part Dieu

Navigating Lyon‘s large Part Dieu train station is difficult enough for a sighted person but for a blind person it must be a nightmare. Thankfully the station has something installed that I have yet to notice elsewhere.

Around the station are tracks denoted with raised markers on each edge. The markers are plastic strips that form static permanent ridges, effectively paths, around the station complex.

A simple, presumably effective, addition that makes the station a little more accessible.

The paths extend throughout the station
The paths extend throughout the station
Raised edges denote paths for the blind
Raised edges denote paths for the blind

Lyon’s Christmas Market

A Christmas market appears in Lyon near the beginning of December. It is held in Place Carnot infront of Perrache train station.

The square is full of Christmas themed stalls. Most of the stalls are dedicated to food and drink, with a good mix of trade crafts and other bits as well. A small internationally themed cluster of stalls makes an appearance and is always fun; these stalls sell local treats from each represented country.

We have made a habit of going with the intention of treating ourselves to a food item from a stall. This year, partly in honour of our Belgium trip, we choose freshly cooked waffles. The waffles were on sticks, shaped like a Christmas tree, and had Nutella smeared on them.

Christmas decorations in the square
Christmas decorations in the square
The square Father Christmas figures returned this year.
The square Father Christmas figures returned this year.
A stall selling food and drink.
A stall selling food and drink.
A stall selling handcrafted goods
A stall selling handcrafted goods
Every French event requires a carousel.
Every French event requires a carousel.
Illuminated statue in Place Carnot in Lyon.
Illuminated statue in Place Carnot in Lyon.
Marshmallows. Our treat last year.
Marshmallows. Our treat last year.
Oven built on a pile of wood.
Oven built on a pile of wood.
Christmas decorations.
Christmas decorations.
Tree wrapped in lights.
Tree wrapped in lights.
A stall selling food and drink.
A stall selling food and drink.
A man cuts into nougat.
A man cuts into nougat.
A stall selling beers and hot wine.
A stall selling beers and hot wine.
Chocolate available for sale.
Chocolate available for sale.
A stall selling freshly cooked waffles.
A stall selling freshly cooked waffles.
Christmas decorations.
Christmas decorations.

Along the Riverside

The riverbank of the Saône is being renovated. New paths, walks, and facilities are being constructed. The result will be grand, impressive, and well trafficked.

This post is about a different, less grand, bank of the Rhône river. A somewhat less trodden section that thanks to a new footbridge is now easily accessible from our apartment.

Three new bridges have been built in Lyon recently. We set out this weekend to cross one and then walk down towards the city centre.

The new bridge has a clever design that combines two paths into one structure: one flat and one curved.

Two paths join two levels of the river banks.
Two paths join two levels of the river banks.
Seats where the two paths join on the bridge.
Seats where the two paths join on the bridge.
A wide flat path spans the higher bank edges.
A wide flat path spans the higher bank edges.
Curves meet straight edges all over the bridge.
Curves meet straight edges all over the bridge.
One of Lyon's new bridges.
One of Lyon’s new bridges.

The walk from the west bank down to Lyon’s opera house was a mixture of delightful, narrowing, and surprising.

The crisp dry leaves on the path were delightful. I enjoyed kicking up the leaves with each stride. A simple pleasure.

A bird sits on a mooring in the river.
A bird sits on a mooring in the river.
Leaves cover the path at a junction.
Leaves cover the path at a junction.
Crisp dry leaves crunch underfoot
Crisp dry leaves crunch underfoot

The path narrowed along one section. Enough for us to question if the path would suddenly stop or become impossible to continue along.

The road and path follow the same route along the river.
The road and path follow the same route along the river.
The path transforms along the route.
The path transforms along the route.

The surprise came near the end. A small encampment appeared. We knew of larger encampments on the outskirts of the city, but I had not seen one in the centre.

An encampment near Lyon's Opera House and Town Hall.
An encampment near Lyon’s Opera House and Town Hall.

We walked through the camp and emerged onto the street near the opera house and town hall.

Pavement near the Opera House and Town Hall
Pavement near the Opera House and Town Hall
Road tunnels in Lyon.
Road tunnels in Lyon.
Autumn peaks through at the end of the street.
Autumn peaks through at the end of the street.

Festival des Courges / Pumpkin Festival

The pumpkin festival is taking place in our park. Pumpkins sit in flower pots, on wooden palettes, in trays, and on the grass.

Festival des Courges / Pumpkin Festival in Lyon, France
Festival des Courges / Pumpkin Festival in Lyon, France

They are mostly left alone. I wonder why more are not taken. A few have been stolen but the bulk remain in place.

The largest pumpkin would be difficult to move by hand. A few weigh more than 130 kilograms. Signs proudly name the grower and final weight of the oversized vegetable.

Giant pumpkins in Lyon's parc de la tete d'or.
Giant pumpkins in Lyon’s parc de la tete d’or.
148.9 kilogram pumpkin
148.9 kilogram pumpkin

Over the last two weekends stalls have been set up selling pumpkin based treats and, of course, pumpkins. Given our regular wanderings we did not need to make a specific visit to see the stalls. They were waiting for us as we walked around our route.

Wide range of pumpkins for sale
Wide range of pumpkins for sale
Pumpkins for sale
Pumpkins for sale
Pumpkins on display
Pumpkins on display
Pumpkins on display
Pumpkins on display
Pumpkins on display
Pumpkins on display

A bar formed one of the temporary stalls. Two life sized wooden statues stood out as curiosities. They stood motionless behind the bar.

Wooden bar staff
Wooden bar staff
Wooden bar staff
Wooden bar staff

The pumpkins were a magnet for children. One stall had children decorating smaller pumpkins and all around the kids climbed on the largest pumpkins.

Children decorating pumpkins
Children decorating pumpkins
Children playing on a 131 kilogram pumpkin
Children playing on a 131 kilogram pumpkin

Autumn Routine

Autumn has arrived. This weekend we will be transforming our apartment into its winter configuration. With the Autumn comes the cold and the damp. A pervasive damp that leaches into our kitchen wall and into our apartment.

I am ahead of myself. My mind is focusing on Christmas and the New Year long before it should. Before then we have a handful of important events to oversee and enjoy. Not least the completion of the first stage of our planning permission paperwork and the festival of lights.

Megan‘s routine has changed, leaving me with a couple of evenings to myself. Traditionally I would continue working through until she returns, however late that may be. My work right now does not lend itself to long stretches of time; the specifics are too complex and time away helps make the time working more productive.

Instead of working, I am walking and listening to lectures and talks. A routine I associate with my weekday lunchtimes in Sydney. During those walks I mapped out most of the surrounding area around the office. I discovered and I escaped the open plan environment of the working day.

We are fortunate to live near parkland in Lyon. My camera comes with me. Photos in the dusk are tricky but not impossible.

A church lit up for the evening
A church lit up for the evening
Illuminated street in Lyon
Illuminated street in Lyon
Leaves reclaiming their energy
Leaves reclaiming their energy
Dusk across the park lake in Lyon
Dusk across the park lake in Lyon
Trees reflected in the park lake in Lyon
Trees reflected in the park lake in Lyon
A railway bridge and entrance to the park in Lyon
A railway bridge and entrance to the park in Lyon
Pumpkins on display
Pumpkins on display
Pumpkins on display
Pumpkins on display
Pumpkins on display
Pumpkins on display

Rooftop Risks

We have become familiar with the sight of workmen scrambling upon rooftops. Not common but every so often we look out to discover workmen installing a new window, running cable, or repairing chimney stacks.

Most of the time, they work in pairs and have harnesses. The drop is five or six stories and lethal.

So, the sight of three girls smoking on the ridge of an apartment block was a cause to grab the camera. The incomprehensible risks they were taking took a few moments to fully digest. Do not forget they are also smoking. One of these two activities is going to levy a high price.

Girls sitting on a rooftop smoking
Girls sitting on a rooftop smoking
Five stories up and smoking
Five stories up and smoking

I hope they do not repeat the act but fear they will.