Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Summer Project : Vienne to Valence

Finally getting things prioritized and after clearing the agenda somewhat, ideas are beginning to flow again!

This is how it happened - The other day Loïc and I got out on our bikes and began riding up the Saone on the bike trail along the bank. This is not something we do very often. We take the bikes out once or twice a year, in fact since moving to our apartment a couple of years ago, our only sport outings have been to ski. The bikes had been languishing in the "concierge" room downstairs. We got all excited, pumped up the tires and promptly began our little voyage north along the right bank of the Saone.

We started out on the bike path by the river and just kept going. I figured the path would end soon but it continued as far as we rode on it. The cars thinned and the ride changed from interesting city riding to agreeable riverside discoveries. Lots of stuff going on along the river. Before we knew it we were miles outside of Lyon. We stopped for a picnic which was a monster wild boar pâté sandwich with polish dills and leftover salad from the night before. We rested on a blanket in a park by the water. When it was time to get up, I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to make it back without some serious suffering. My back was hurting, legs shaky, ouch when I sat on the seat, etc. I had already decided that I was not pedaling back into Lyon if I could help it.

We enjoyed, despite a few quiet back spasms here and there which I concealed quite gracefully, a nice little excursion through the back streets, over cobblestone, and through cute little neighborhoods in a little town. Cool houses with turrets and luxurious gardens. A wonderland in it's own right. Oh how convenient, a little train station! After carefully reviewing the timetable (one sheet of paper stapled to a post near the track) while Loïc tugged my arm, I saw that there were two trains that could take us back to Lyon that afternoon. I proposed that we relax and continue to enjoy this little town and consider returning on the train.

Loïc hadn't ever taken his bike on the train like that, and was hesitant. I knew my tired aching body would not go back up that hill we went down about 20 minutes after we passed Paul Bocuse. We settled into our chairs at the cafe by the river and when he ordered a Panache I knew things would be fine - it meant he agreed. We flipped through he pages of a few real estate ad pamphlets I had picked up outside an agency. Nice to dream. How about a quiet place in a little French town? A mini-storm rolled in and it began to thunder. We quickly bundled up and made it to the train track just in time! We paid for the ticket once we were all aboard. 3 Euros! It stopped raining and the sun was out in the city. In 20 minutes we were back in Lyon.

The train dropped us off right in the city center, a hop skip and jump to our home. As we cruised along the smooth narrow back streets full of life and architecture and shops and people, I told Loïc that although a house in the country is a nice idea, life in the city does have a certain charm. In fact, the contrast and majesty of the city of Lyon was extraordinary.

I put my glasses on and sat down at the table by the kitchen when we got home, and took out my kitchen notebook. The adventure had me thinking and full of inspiration. I have done a bit of research and in prioritizing my summer projects, one of which is to explore and add variety to my writing, I'll be doing some touring. I wonder how many vineyards are accessible from the stations winding down through the wine country? Every town has a local specialty. I intend to begin by scratching the surface of Northern Cote du Rhone wine trail. Vienne to Valence. It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? It is time to discover the region, and get this down in my notebook. Branching out. This time I will take my camera along.

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Blogger doggerelblogger said...

That sounds like a lovely book title...

3:29 AM, June 28, 2006  
Blogger L Vanel said...

No. 1 on your summer reading list, I hope!

9:20 AM, June 28, 2006  
Blogger doggerelblogger said...

But of course!

3:01 AM, June 29, 2006  

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