Chapter Four Crossing France
Made it to Macon
Macon (does NOT rhyme with 'bacon' - try mah-konh) started growing in the First Century B.C. and was initially a settlement founded by the Aedui tribe of the Celts. There is over two millennia of history here.
But the story today started long before anything in Macon, I only just got here.
I set out as I had planned along N6 as I wanted to stay off the A6 Autoroute. I wanted to find some eggs as an egg breakfast will sometimes hold me all day. I saw a little place called La Pannetierre and it looked perfect so I stopped in to try even though I knew they would almost certainly not speak English.
This is one of those moments where if you expect to find jerks then you will and if you expect people to be good they will be. If you walk in there all full of tourist arrogance, you are not going to get anything to eat.
The most important thing is to make an honest try at speaking the language. If you're going to travel this road, use Google Translate and learn some stuff there. It doesn't matter if you're outstanding in one or two languages as most of the time, if you're really up for wandering, you won't be in the countries that speak them. The most important ones are hello, good-bye, good evening, good morning, thank you ... well, you get the message. If you start out learning some manners, you're halfway there.
I thought I knew how to ask for eggs ... I didn't. I thought I knew how to say tomato ... I didn't. My attempt to ask for a sandwich was failing miserably but they could see I was trying and one of the guys at the bar started trying to translate for me. They were all having good fun with it and were even cool enough to let me take a picture. I'm sorry I didn't get his name but you can just look at him and see he's a good guy. It's all in your attitude. If you bring a bad attitude, you will find more bad attitudes. It's all about respect.
La Pannetiere was just outside of Valence and I pushed from there into Lyon. I expected to get lost there and, yep, I did. So then I switched to Cat style touring: oh wow, what's over there, let's go take a look at that.
This is the Facultes de Droit et Des Lettres or the Faculties of Law and Letters. Apparently this is part of the law school for the University of Lyon. I didn't have any idea what it was. I just thought it looked cool.
That's Le Rhone in the background and quite an impressive swimming pool in the foreground. I imagine the pool is so parents can chuck their kids into it without worrying about them having problems with the river traffic as there are very big boats cruising up and down it. You can see one on the other side of the river. Also, take a look at the top of the hill on the left side of the picture. It looked like it might be some kind of a castle so I thought, hmmm, I have got to find that.
In this one I'm making some progress in getting toward the castle or whatever it is and thought I would take some pictures along the way in case I got lost again.
I don't have any information on the church but she's quite a beauty, isn't she. I don't think there's the faintest chance that it was built to look old, it really is.
There is a castle in the background and hopefully I can find it.
What I liked most about this picture is the old man with the walking stick as I was quite lost by this point and was studying a map of bus routes to try to get some idea of what to do. While I was doing that, there was a very sharp click, click, click that slowly grew. It didn't take long before I had to know what it was and it came from the old man’s walking stick as he made his way most determinedly across the street and on down the sidewalk. Lovely old guy.
It seemed every time I saw another highway sign it was directing this way to A6 to Paris. I was doing quite a bit of highly-profane muttering after some time to the effect: I'm not trying to get to damn Paris ... although my language might have been a bit more colorful than that.
So I went with keep heading north and follow the Rhone. Sooner or later you will find a road that works. And, yep, I did. It even got me to the one I wanted, D306, but I didn't know it for probably twenty kilometers or so. It was really lovely driving alongside the Rhone and there were lots of stops and goes but it was still wonderful. I didn't get as far as I had hoped but I spent a lot of time wandering about Lyon and some of it was frustrating but mostly it was fun just to explore.
If you check the perspective of the castle against the picture of 3D Street Art in Lyon, you will see I wasn't too far away from this artwork. Thanks to Yevette for finding this.
The chalk drawing wouldn't alone be enough of a reason to go back there but Le Tour de France will be there on Saturday and Sunday and several of you have said what a shame it would be to miss it. Instead of backtracking, another possibility is to go west from here to Saint Pourcain-sur-Sioule as Le Tour will go through there on July 13. I would arrive there on July 11 and perhaps could find somewhere cheap to stay for a few days until they come through. It looks like N79 to get there.
From Saint Pourcain-sur-Sioule my own Le Tour would then go to Tours, Le Mans, and Le Havre. That means no Belgium but I'm not seeing a whole lot of reason to go into Belgium just to 'tag it' or some such. I told you all I'm happy to be your eyes and ears for this so I believe I have today's Le Tour objective.
I have a very generous offer from Susan and Crap to put me on a train to get the rest of the way if I make it to Calais but I really think it's important to see this thing through all the way. Going to Stonehenge may seem corny but I don't feel that way about it at all. More North is lefty Unplugged who plays frequent RL live shows and that would be one major treat to attend plus I could shoot some video so you could see and hear it.
So, onward with Le Tour de Silas
Made it to Macon
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