Sun Jul 4th, 2010 at 04:44:13 AM EST
My jet lag has finally dissipated and I'm feeling a bit more clear headed again. People keep asking me how my vacation was and each time I have to say "Great!". Of course, it was wonderful to be with Ask, and in the very pretty city of Geneva, but the most fun was our trip to Lyon.
We were both looking forward to a long weekend there, but neither Ask or I could have imagined that we would get such a fantastic tour of the city with a guide who knew volumes about the history and the arts of this beautiful and fun city.
Ask remembered that Melanchthon lived in Lyon and asked him to make a few recommendations for restaurants and things to do. We planned to met up our first night for dinner and get a few tourist tips. Melanchthon took us to a classic Lyonnaise "bouchon" restaurant a block from our hotel. Without even looking at at the menu we left the ordering to him and the feisty waitress serving us. Course after course of delicious food and wine continuously appeared on our table - an egg and wine soup, crusty breads, frise and lentil salads, sausages & cornichons, pate, fluffy fish quenelles, local cheeses and of course dessert.
As we ate, we talked and talked and among the myriad of topics we found that Melanchthon had a friend who is a world renowned textile artist, Francoise Hoffmann and lives in Lyon. I had recently seen her work at an exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt Museum in NYC. I told him how much I loved her work and with that in mind he set up a time for us to visit her in studio the next day! There we were - in the presence of a textile goddess! I was practically speechless and beside myself with awe. We had a wonderful visit with Francoise and drinks after.
In Francoise Hoffmann's studio, curly wearing a creation commissioned for a NY gallery
Melanchthon and silk printer
We were also treated to a tour of the city only a local native and historian could give - we toured a wonderful silk printing workshop, went down back alleys and up secret stairways known as Traboules, where the French resistance ushered soldiers and refugees to safety during the Nazi occupation. These labyrinth passageways were originally intended for carrying large bolts of the beautiful silks and other products manufacturer in this city that was a center for trade throughout the centuries. We wandered and meandered through charming neighborhoods greeted by beautiful views and charming friends of Melanchthon everywhere.
Resting and enjoying a cold one in Village des Createurs
Exhausted, but inspired we went looking for dinner. Both Ask and I let Melanchthon know we were starving thinking he would lead us quickly to a little French bistro, but after quite a bit more meandering we finally stopped at a restaurant owned by yet another friend of his from the island of Reunion. Where? Reunion, off the coast of Africa of course. Okay, wherever. Is the food good? OMG - is all I can say - and it wasn't just the free flowing rum being served that made it so. We were launched into yet another 8 course meal - this one with Indian, Chinese, French and African influences. It only took us 4 hours to get through.
By this time it was just about midnight, we stumbled and rolled ourselves back to the hotel and said goodnight to our most excellent host. I think Melanchthon was still going strong, but we were done in and desperate need to lay horizontal so our stomachs could not topple us over.
So -merci beaucoup to Melanchthon! He is a lion of Lyon and a Lyonnaise treasure! Can't wait to return sometime soon.