Thursday, August 28

The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it...

Do you think Rudyard Kipling had been to France before he said that? Heehee

Well folks, here we are...my brother is back home and it's just me now....
no one to bestow my great and powerful wisdom upon...
no one to teach the methods of my madness to....


well,
no one that willingly accepts anyways....



So that leaves me with a crap load of french people. I feel sorry for them.....because Ceci has arrived!!! I have to use my alias, Veronique, or else they will never accept me. That, and the fact that the word "ceci" means "this" in french.....can you imagine if you name was "this" ???

Next time you want some amusement, tell a new group of people your name is "this" and see where that takes you!


I hope you are ready for this post because you are about to be stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey with lots of Lyon-ness. After this post, you will know more about Lyon, than the Lyon-ians do.


Let's commence with the Lyon-Learning:






A reallly freaking long time ago, there was a place called Rome and they had these emperor dudes. One of them was called Caesar and he decided that he wanted to expand his domain and he sent out three dudes to go conquer some land and call it Gaul (currently France, So. Germany, No. Italy). The dude who appears on the left was the one who conquered Lyon. It was then declared the meeting point and eventually the capital of this tri-regional Gaul place due to the fact that it was situated on the converging point of the 2 main boat friendly rivers of Gaul (currently named the Rhône and the Saône...how cute...they rhyme). After Rome it was the 2nd largest city in the roman empire




The Rhône is the fast river and the Saône is the more calm and smaller one. A sculptor made a statue thingy to represent the two rivers, but in the form of a man and a woman....this representation of something in another way other than the literal meaning is known as an allegory... see...I made you smarter already. Below, is the above mentioned allegory. Hopefully you can make out the really forceful, strong, active man on the top (the Rhône)and the submissive, calm, sleepy woman on the bottom (the Saône). Gender discrimination issues aside, this statue is really amazing.

I don't know if this is quite what the romans had in mind, but nevertheless, here is an aerial view of the center of Lyon and the 2 rivers that made Lyon super popular and useful for Caesar. The next three photos are some roman ruins here in Lyon and are also some of the oldest in existence!






Next stop on this fantastic voyage is the Place des Terreaux. It was originally built to host the public executions......don't lose your head over it....the french don't do that anymore....thank God!

The big building in the back is where the mayor works and the big fountain on your right is the highlight of this major Lyon meeting point. It was originally designed for the city of Bordeaux but they couldnt pay for it, so the ballin' city of Lyon picked up the tab and here it stayed. The horses are supposed to be an allegory....eh eh remember allegory?... for the Garonne River of Bordeaux flowing into the ocean. The dude guy that designed this fountain was A. Bartholdi....do you know what else he is famous for? YOU SHOULD!!! HE DESIGNED THE STATUE OF LIBERTY !!!! Don't worry, I didn't know who he was until I researched the history of this fountain. So we are all bad Americans together.


Here is me.....sitting on the allegory. (That's a phrase I never imagined I would say)

















Some more cool things about Lyon.....


In addition to a subway, trams and buses...


They have a public bike system. So all you do is flash your transportation card in front of the bike hub regulator thingy and you get a bike for free for 30 min, enough time to ride it to the next bike station, park the bike, flash your card again and get another 30 min free, so on and so forth. Pretty cool and really great for the figure!!!






Dad, I'm sure you will be happy to know that Lyon is also the international headquarters for the international police, aka INTERPOL. So I'm well protected! Or highly observed! Although I don't think they would accept a phone call from you asking them to keep an eye on me, like you did with the campus police at my college!








And for all my fellow San Antonians out there...Lyon is an offical fan/sponsor of the BEST FREAKING NBA TEAM...........
THE SAN ANTONIO SPURS
And haters are not welcome to leave a comment on any other opinions of who they think is a better team....all opposing comments will be censored. My blog only accepts "freedom of speech" from San Antonio Spurs fans.






Moving on.....to Croix-Rousse. There are two hills in Lyon. One has that really gigantic church with the golden Virgin Mary and the other is Croix-Rousse. So the one with the church was/is known as the "hill that prays" and due to the ginormous (thats between giant and emormous)historic silk/textile making industry it was/is known as the "hill that works". Now Croix-Rousse is like this indie-ish place with lots of artists, musicians, artsy-craftsy and other "artsy-working people". It is wonderful place to just walk around. If you are from San Antonio its like the King William District without the mexicans, and if you are from or know Los Angeles it is like Eagle Rock without the mexicans hahaha or Occidental College for that matter. So because silk is super precious and delicate the silk workers known as "canuts" built this maze like system of passageways, called Traboules, that creates shortcuts between streets to help transport the silk more quickly and protect the silk from bad weather. The traboule system is also credited with preventing the Germans from taking control over this area during WWII. The traboules can be a huge giant maze if you don't know them, you can become seriously lost and end up making circles between streets. I mean there are 230 of them in the city for crying out loud!! But if you know them well, like true Lyon-ians do, you can save a lot of travel time. Entrances into this traboule system can be a small unmarked door next to a shop, or a dumpster....you just never know. And in the middle of some of these traboules are some pretty amazing courtyards.



My professor this month was nice enough to take us on a tour of these Traboules, so being the loyal blogger that I am...I took pictures every step of the way so you can feel as if you are TRABOULING too! And yes there is an actual verb unique to Lyon for the act of using, exploring, and walking the traboules. The verb is "trabouler" (pronouced 'trah-bull-ay')



I hope you enjoy!


The sign into one of the more famous traboules. And a zoom in on the english.


We're headed south folks...

Into the traboule we go, where we end up...how the f* do I know??? Im so lost!



Out one traboule and into another



Looking up ....and just for you, I climbed all the way to the top to take a picture looking down.






I took advantage of my zoom affect to photograph my professor and classmates on the ground!

After that first traboule system we ended up on a street a few blocks away! Then we ducked into another traboule and in the middle of it was this courtyard.


These really are a work of genius! To anyone who has seen the movie Labyrinth, this is pretty close to it!
And we end up on another street!

I'm super dizzy now!!!

For your enjoyment I took some photos of more "trompe l'oeils"! If you are clueless right now, read the previous blog.






























One more Kodak Moment, I couldn't help myself!





Just in case you are wondering it says that they have "double cabins for couples" and they are "airconditioned"!!



I really enjoy the fact that they advertise "initiation" into S.M. hahaha



















I hope you enjoyed my take on Lyon! For any city officials who read this blog, I am a freelance city summarizer! I charge a hefty fee, but it is worth it to have a "Ceci's City Summary" or a "Vision de la Ville Selon Veronique"
Hope you enjoyed learning about the city that I have taken over!
Stay tuned for the next one!
This is Veronique, the American formerly known as Ceci...signing out!













Monday, August 25

Eiffel Towering

As the saying goes, all crazy, wild, fun, outrageous, laughter-filled, pandemonium like things must come to a close. So here we are...the last day of my brother's visit to France. =(

We had to drive him to the airport in Paris, so we left the day before to spend some time doing terribly touristic things!


First, we saw Ghandi....


* I liked his message. I always knew Ghandi was a smart man.

Then we went to see Notre-Dame Cathedral. No matter how many times you see it, it is still just as breathtaking!



And as all tourists do....we took a picture in front of it






*How I got Notre-Dame to move and not Stephane and Dolce...is beyond me


*Everyone together! Gotta love the invention of the time delay option

Then we headed towards the ever famous.... Eiffel Tower! We decided to buy some wine and sit in the gardens facing it, along with other tourists and locals.
I think this act deserves its own verb....time to look at Veronique's/Ceci's Dictionary!

In english, Eiffel Towering....In french Tour-Eiffeling

Eiffel Towering / Tour-Eiffeling [tour-eye-felling] v. to visit the Eiffel Tower and sit in its garden/grassy area for purposes of socializing with friends, imbibing alcohol, and/or picnicing

Everyone has to take a picture





Even Dolce!




Now we can commence with Eiffel Towering...

We walk towards it



We walk up to it



I take a strange picture (as usual)



One is never enough



We walk under it



We walk behind it



and we plop ourselves down in the grass, bottle and glasses in hand



Evidence that we were Eiffel Towering / Tour Eiffeling



We made a toast to Vincent's stay here in France, but the moment was ruined when I passed gas



It was pretty bad



Hee hee hee......



I warned him before we got together that this may happen a few times and he willingly entered the realm of Ceci/Veronique....so I don't feel bad

He kept complaining that it smelled really bad.....and I told him "You better like it !!"



And like the fantastic boyfriend he is...he changed his face real quick!
(he knows whats good for him)

Vincent did too. Im not a force to be messed with. Neither are my farts
"I want a chicken sandwich...and some waffle fries...FOR FREE !!!"
*If you wanna get that inside joke, you're gonna have to YouTube it. Search: Unforgiveable

After the passing of gas incident.....came the real entertainment...
THE EIFFEL TOWER LIGHT SHOW!!!!!!!!
Below are some pictures of the spectaclular show










I got a little camera happy on the "Starry sky" mode






And just because I am such a nice and giving person...I have put 2 videos of this wonderful sight for your viewing pleasure.

video



video

After the show, we went to our hotel room, woke up and took Vincent for one last lunch at a french Brasserie (Cafe/Bistro for all you ign'ant people out there). And off he went, back to the good ole US of A!!

It was way too much of a good time! I miss him a bunch already. I can't wait to see the crazy posts for when the sister and parents come to visit! It was ultra amazing to have my brother here to help the move to France be a little more easy. I am having the experience of a lifetime here, but I miss my family and my friends like crazy!! Vous me manquez beaucoup beaucoup!!




I still have dreams about the craziness we had while my brother was visiting....he kinda looks like this in my dreams


This is Vincent...signing out of France (don't worry, he'll be back)







And that my friends, is the end of Two Barretto's in France, now its just me....so you better keep on reading!

This is Veronique, the American formerly known as Ceci...signing out!