And so, on to Lyon. No pictures to speak of so we are reverting to our normal mode of delivery. Having said that, the Weakly News, like all respectable media outlets, now also can be accessed via the web site so, if your delivery ever fails again or you feel somewhat nostalgic for a glance through previous editions, you should be able to find them there.
When last we left you, we were travelling via minor roads, from Granada to Malaga for our flight to Geneva, oddly enough. What? I thought this was a Spanish Siesta? Well, it was but part of the reason for taking the trip at this particular time was the desire to visit SeamStress’s new fabric supplier in Lyons, in France. So, we spent our week in Spain and then arranged to meet up with Pete and Sal in Lyons which is where the fabric factory is located. Why, then, fly to Geneva? Why not, I suppose.
In fact, it was not possible to secure a reasonably priced direct route from Malaga to Lyons (we could have got there by flying to Madrid or Paris and then flying to Lyons at an extortionate expense). However, there was an Easy Jet flight from Malaga to Geneva and from there it is only a two hour train ride to Lyons, hence our excursion to Geneva.
Swiss customs are very relaxed about visitors from EU countries – effectively, the whole plane full passed in front of a very bored customs and immigration officer; the passengers held their passports in front of his window and he, very casually, waved them through. However, when I arrived with my US passport, this was something to get excited about – here was a non-EU passport which required diligent inspection and vigorous stamping; undoubtedly a welcome change from the mind-numbingly boring tedium of waving passengers through all day.
After a night in a cheap and cheerful hotel adjacent to the railway station, at 7.00 am we were on the platform awaiting the arrival of the train for Lyons. Again, customs and immigration formalities were remarkably relaxed; indeed, there was no customs officer on the Swiss side to wave one’s passport at and a very relaxed French immigration officer who hardly looked up, even at the non-EU passport holding American who sauntered casually through. (Perhaps I need to explain – although this was in the Geneva railway station, they have the French customs officer there as you pass through the gate to the platform as the train doesn’t actually stop at the border for any formalities; all the necessary paperwork (what there is of it, mind) is carried out before one boards the train).
So, after a journey of about two hours we arrived in Lyons to be met by Pete and Sal and Philippe, the contact from the fabric company. We spent the day touring the factory, being wined and dined for lunch and playing parachute games with any of the staff who could not escape. The staff were very friendly, the process for making the fabric was very interesting and both sides now have a better understanding of their respective needs and capabilities.
After the day at the factory, Philippe drove us back to our hotel and, on the way, pointed out some of Lyons’ finer sights as well as suggesting several possibilities for an evening meal. We were flying back to the UK the following day but Pete and Sal were staying for the whole weekend so much of this information was, perhaps, of more interest to them. However, as we crossed the bridge on the way back to the hotel, Philippe pointed out that there was a “small auberge on the island” just twenty minutes’ walk or so from the hotel which was “ a bit pricey” but very good. So, as we were somewhat tired after our flight from Malaga and early morning departure from Geneva, I suggested that the auberge would probably be just about perfect for our evening meal. When we got back to the hotel, we asked the concierge to ring and book us a table for 8.00; we went back to our respective rooms for a brief lie down and set off about 7.30 to stroll along the river to the auberge.
Now, one needs to bear in mind that “auberge” is the term used to describe a French inn; typically they provide very simple, plain meals at a very reasonable cost. Having said that, I think the moment we walked through the door we realised that this was not a typical French auberge; we were greeted by the maitre de, the wine waiter, the silver waitress and about for or five others. What they thought of our casual wear I can’t think but we were shown to our table and offered a choice of champagne to start. Suffice it to say that those of you who have dined at Hemingway’s with Mom and Dad should note that this place, La Auberge l’isle, makes Hemingway’s prices look like McDonald’s and Hemingway’s food, delicious as it is, seem like the offerings of a novice chef just in the first term of his/her course of study at the Culinary Institute of America. It was fantastic, once we had got over the shock of finding ourselves in a place where we had no business on earth being.
There was no menu, as such. The choice was three courses or five. Well, we thought, in for a penny, in for a pound, and opted for the five course offering which, effectively meant about twelve courses in all as seemingly in between each course we were offered something else with which to cleanse our palette for the next course, etc. The food was sensational – all prepared with fresh, seasonal produce and exquisitely presented; each course was, as described on the menu, a “taste sensation” which was quite simply out of this world.
The only criticism one could make of the place was the attitude and demeanour of the wine waiter. When asked, everyone pointed at me to indicate to whom the wine list should be given. So, knowing that this was a fine region for Burgundy, I settled on a vintage somewhat in the middle of the price range. When I announced my decision, the wine waiter’s face took on the expression of someone who has encountered a very seriously unpleasant smell (or perhaps the look of someone who has stepped in some dog poo). It was clear I had made a mistake.
The waiter asked if I knew the vineyard to which I had to reply, “Of course not.” He then explained that the particular vineyard I had chosen was used to produce wine by only one wine maker and that it was generally a much better indication of quality and potential if one had the opportunity to compare the work of several wine makers all producing wine from the same vineyard. So, I asked for his suggestions and he did come up with a bottle of wine in the same price range which was sensational (and, at the price, it needed to be). One does wonder why have the other bottle on the list if it is going to elicit such a horrified expression of disgust and distain if anyone dares to order it but, as I say, the wine he substituted was outstanding (and, in fact, was four Euros a bottle cheaper).
In spite of the wine waiter’s arrogance, this was simply an outstandingly sensational meal and, if we had known the price beforehand, we never would have gone. I’m glad we didn’t know beforehand and absolutely delighted that we went. We’d certainly like to visit Lyons again but, I think, the auberge will remain one of those once in a lifetime experiences.
I guess that’s it so
Love to you all,
Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
Don't judge a book by its cover.
You're never too old to learn.
A word to the wise is sufficient.
Look before you leap.
It's better to be safe than sorry.
Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Birds of a feather flock together.
The pen is mightier than the sword.
A wife was making a breakfast of fried eggs for her husband. Suddenly, her husband burst into the kitchen.
A man goes to the doctor and tells him that he hasn’t been feeling well. The doctor examines him, leaves the room and comes back with three different bottles of pills.
The doctor says, "Take the green pill with a big glass of water when you get up. Take the blue pill with a big glass of water after lunch. Then just before going to bed, take the red pill with another big glass of water."
Startled to be put on so much medicine the man stammers, "Jeez doc, exactly what's my problem?"
Doctor says, "You're not drinking enough water."