Saturday, April 13, 2013

Caro's Big Adventure: Lyon and Macon

We spent all day in Lyon, with a general guided tour of the city (by bus) in the morning, and then a choice in the afternoon. I chose the silk shop option.

Lyon was an interesting city, probably the first out of the places we'd been to be significantly modern (either that, or we had just focused on the ancient, medieval parts of the previous towns we'd visited). I managed to take a lot of photos from the bus window, but unfortunately can't share them here due to foibles with the iPad not letting me access photos using Blogger :-( So you'll just have to imagine...
Addenda- Here are some pics around Lyon.

The silk tour involved a visit to a traditional silk workshop, where we were shown the workings of a hand loom, used for the very expensive fabrics (the girl said that the fabric she was working on would sell for around 2000€ per metre, and a full day's work at the loom for her, going like the proverbial clappers, would result in about 30cm of fabric produced, so that explains why it's so expensive. After that, we went across the road, for a talk about the history and logistics of silk production. Given that I think just about every Australian kid kept silk worms as pets, and got to observe their life cycles first hand, there wasn't really anything new in this for me, but it was good to sit down and listen for a bit. 

Then, there was shopping! There were some beautiful silk products in the gift shop, so once again I put that advice into action, and bought lots of presents for folks back home, but also something gorgeous for myself.

After this we went to view some 'silk painting', which in actual fact was the practice of silk screen printing onto silk scarves for the tourist trade. Our group was really too large to fit comfortably into the workshop, and my knees were killing me by this stage (and I had seen and done plenty of silk screen printing in my youth), so I sat myself down on a step at the back of the workshop and waited till it was time to leave. There was apparently a shop upstairs, but when I asked about it, one of the women in our group told me, "there are some scarves up there, but all very expensive, and NOTHING as nice as what I saw you buy at the last place!" So I didn't feel the need to go up the stairs :-)

Again, when we got back to the ship, I hung out in the lounge, writing post cards and relaxing. I think by this stage I had also discovered the quite comprehensive cocktail menu of the lounge bar (all included in the price of the cruise) and had started my quest to drink my way through it.

The next day we were in Macon, and I had some icky feelings, having seen the Peter Greenaway film, 'The Baby of Macon' some years ago, and feeling physically sick as a result (and those of you who know me well, know I have quite a strong stomach, so you can imagine what the film was like :-/ ). But we didn't stay in the town, and I was able to allay my collywobbles by taking a trip tithe monastic town of Cluny, where we got to explore what was once the biggest and most significant Abbey in France. (The Benedictine bits of my soul enjoyed this :-)

Again, we had plenty of time to explore the town after the formal tour of the Abbey. again, my knees were not up to much more walking, so I parked myself in the cafe, and enjoyed chatting to others in our group, and later hearing what some of the others got up to in the town (apparently there was a patisserie to die for... Probably a good thing I didn't find it)
And here are some pictures around Cluny.

Our group, that went to Cluny, was much smaller than the other, which went to the Beaujolais wine region... funny that... 

And thus ended Days 6 and 7... Nearly at the end!


Jeano said...

Was this your silk museum?
Richard was living in Croix Rousse then, so it was only a few blocks from his apartment! Jeano xo

Caro said...

Yes Jeano, it certainly was :-)

Jeano said...

Amandine was surprised at how much of the French I understood when the girl was demonstrating the amazing loom. But some of that was because I knew about weaving.She kept trying to translate in my ear and I could tell her what the girl had said. Only time my French was good enough. In the talk about the history of silk, I couldn't get much, because there were not many visual clues to go with the words I was hearing.
But I loved my visit there too! Jeano xo

Caro said...

We were lucky, because we were a tour group with an Australian company, they spoke to us in English.