I thoroughly enjoyed my morning stroll through the Botanical Garden of Tête d’Or Park. I expected the beautiful Victorian-era greenhouses, but I wasn’t expecting the zoo. As a general rule, I boycott them because I’d prefer animals be out in the wild … but, this zoo is part of the park. There were red pandas, zebras, monkeys, deer, lions (somewhere), and crocodiles, to name a few. The greenhouses had beautiful specimens from around the world, and it was interesting to note that the greenhouses had been added for just that purpose: to bring more of the world and year-round gardening to Lyon. On the far side of the park le vélodrome Georges Préveral. Very cool.
I tagged along with my husband for a bit of business and pleasure to Geneva, Switzerland and Lyon, France in mid-December. The weather was surprisingly enjoyable — you can interpret that to mean NO SNOW, and temps in the high-50s/low-60s, and just a windbreaker. We were in Paris in October, celebrating our 25th anniversary, and while both locales are in France, I think I prefer Paris. Lyon reminded me of Rome, in that there are reminders of ancient times around every corner. In fact, the City of Lyon is a UNESCO site, with four major spots highlighted. We visited … and enjoyed … them all. In many ways, I could move to France tomorrow. Though I speak Spanish, it’s easy to navigate the French language, particularly when it’s written. My main issue is dinner time. Because I don’t eat red meat, and I don’t eat dairy. And what does France have in abundance: beef, sauce, cheese. Like, everywhere. Can’t a girl get some chicken? Damn. Also, my other biggest issue with France is the smoking. It’s like the whole of the country glanced at the US Surgeon General’s warnings on the dangers of smoking, and gave it a collective fuck you. It’s hard on the lungs, I tell you. Good thing there is so much more to France than the lingering cigarette smoke.
I’ll admit: I was panicky about going to Geneva in December. Visions of waist-deep snow drifts flitted through my mind and made me pack extra sweaters despite the AccuWeather forecasts I watched in the days leading up to departure. But mid-December 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland and Lyon, France was warmer than mid-December 2019 temps in North Carolina. Huh, right? The best part about being a writer is flexibility, and when I have the opportunity to tag along on my husband’s business trips, I take it! Initially we thought we’d have two whole days in Geneva, but ongoing protests in France and stunted transportation schedules meant we cut our Switzerland leg short by one day to ensure we made it on a train across the Alps before protests shut them down. It was the right choice. Though, when it was time to travel back to Geneva for our flight home, we had to hire an Uber to drive us through the Alps because the trains had all shut down. Those poor people. Geneva was lovely, and the only thing we didn’t get to do while we were there was visit the UN, but again, we lost a day of adventuring. My favorite thing we visited was the Museum of Natural History, which was free on Sunday. We also enjoyed watching the participants of the 81st Coupe de Noel, who swam in the icy waters of Lake Geneva.