The Spikiest Tree – Gleditsia Caspica

There is a tree in parc de la tête d’or that is seriously spiky. The Gleditsia Caspica; a tree from the mountainous Caucasus region in Iran.

Without leaves the spikes are exposed and they look mean. In a month or two the leaves will return as summer approaches and the spikes will all but disappear from sight.

A spiky tree in Lyon's parc de la tête d'or
A spiky tree in Lyon’s parc de la tête d’or
Gleditsia caspica, also known as the Caspian locust
Gleditsia caspica, also known as the Caspian locust

Sudden Hailstorm

After a couple of days with brilliant blue sky, today has been overcast and wet. A hailstorm rolled in this afternoon.

I stood watching the hail falling for a few moments before realising I could probably create a short film from the event. I rushed to my camera, captured some footage, then rushed again for my microphone. Better sound makes all the difference.

The hailstorm was uneventful but it was fun filming and putting together this film. All done within an hour – including the YouTube administration.

Hailstone on the windowsill
Hailstone on the windowsill

Warmth Returning

The first flowers are appearing in the park. Winter is nearly behind us and warmth is returning to the days.

First flowers of 2015.
First flowers of 2015.
Winter colours.
Winter colours.
Leaves clinging on through winter.
Leaves clinging on through winter.

We walked in parc feyssine yesterday. Compared to the refined and cultivated feel of parc de la tête d’or, feyssine feels less managed. The two parks almost touch and both are well looked after, but they seem designed for different audiences.


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If you are visiting Lyon and have limited time, visit parc de la tête d’or.

If you live here and want to escape the city without travelling too far, visit parc feyssine. While you are in the area, you can walk across one of the new bridges.

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
More guides at Vichy's train station.
More guides at Vichy’s train station.

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.