I had not realised how exhausting the last week of riding had been , until I sat down to dinner with my great friend Robin , who had graciously flown in from Moscow , via Los Angeles and London to rendezvous with me , so we could celebrate friendship and a trans Africa scooter trip . Our first night in France was  met with jet lag and scooter fatigue , so after a brief catch up it was time to hit deep sleep for  tomorrow was our celebratory lunch .

My hotel room , when I opened the door and walked in caused me to turn around and walk out ,  back to reception to question the size of it . The good news was that my standard room had been upgraded to a suite for a reason even they could not explain , but there I was with my own lounge , dining area , kitchen and then the rest of the suite , so much space ,  so comfy it was I would end up staying a week , getting to know Lyon intimately and on some level I felt a little local  , with my local stores in the surrounding neighbourhood where I would buy my local produce and prepare great meals to music .

 

Truffle's and cream

Truffle’s and cream

Our chosen venue for the celebration , was to be the father of French cuisine with a pedigree spanning a lifetime , the all time great Paul Bocuse . Known for his old school genius , his food a symphony of  rich sauces , dishes wrapped in cream , full of flavour , rich and deep , yet as light as swan lake on your palate , flavours  complex as a Rachmaninoff concerto .  The attention to detail incredible , wines served at perfect temperatures,  , bouquets of deserts , a cheese selection worthy of more than just a mention , coffee , macaroons and chocolate to close . I do love the French , wow did we have an afternoon . Sadly the next day Robin had to return to London and I decided to get lazy in Lyon , spend sometime enjoying France’s second largest city .

 

Flying the flag.

Flying the flag.

 

All about opera .

All about opera .

 

Cathedral with a view.

Cathedral with a view.

I would spend hours walking the streets , like a spy looking , learning and absorbing as much of the city as I could . Morning coffee , street cafes , long walks along the Rhone or the Saone the two rivers that hold Lyon in their flow . Or I would take in the old city , cathedrals , steps to different vantage points , I was enjoying my time here , so the days rolled one to the next and it would be a week before I woke to ride back to Italy,

 

City of bronze .

City of bronze .

 

City below .

City below .

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I would also spend this time investigating and trying to organise a way of getting the scooter home , which without the help of the Vespa guys in South Africa would have been a months process . I would also have an amusing dinner in a Thai restaurant where my lack of  French , his lack of French and English would result in me getting a starter I did not order but could eat , a great stir fry that I did and the power of language that turned a glass of red wine into a bottle . The chilli was spectacular , those capsicum lava balls dancing the foxtrot on my tongue . I think that heat kept me sober and warm on my walk home in the now almost winter chill.  The night temperatures falling  dramatically and the wind whipping cold.

 

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The Rhone .

 

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One of the beautiful homes that line the park .

I woke up early on Sunday , the daylight  had already started to warm the morning  air , I decided to spend my morning in the park , and I think one day I would like to do a photo shoot and call it  people in parks , it is amazing what you see an entire world attracted to this green open space that supports life of all kinds . Just fascinating , such a rich insight  , a window to a little bit of Lyon life . I loved my sunny Sunday roaming the park.

 

Hot house flowers .

Hot house flowers .

 

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Another home on the park fringe.

So my week would come to an end and it was time to ride again , Milano was the city to explore next and prepare for the end  of my time in Europe , the place to prepare Vic for her shipping and to get me back on African soil , home was now just a ride and a flight away .

Until we meet again.

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