Pictionary, Horses, and Aggressive Running: A Sunday in Lyon

9 Mar

After spending the majority of last weekend hanging out…


…riding horses…


…and taking awesome selfies…


…we decided it was probably time to make some moves.

So, Dylan, Selby, Alex and I decided to go to Lyon, France for a day trip!

Ah, France. The beauty. The charm. The mystique…the kind of place where anything is possible.

EXCEPT if it’s a Sunday. If it’s a Sunday, France wants absolutely NOTHING to do with you.

We learned this the hard way.

When we were sitting around on Saturday night drinking beer and discussing our trip to Lyon, it all sounded so easy.

Yes of course we’ll be able to wake up for an 11:29AM train. Yes of course we’ll remember that “waking up for an 11:29AM train” is not the same as waking up at 11:29AM. Yes of course the city will welcome us with open arms and a cute little elderly couple will take us into their home and cook us a feast, which we’ll enjoy by the fire as we hear stories about “the grandkids” and “the way things used to be.” It was going to be an epic day.

Flash forward about nine hours, as we realized we had twenty minutes to make a fifteen minute commute, buy tickets, and get on a train. Things were a tad less rosy. Still slightly pink, but with an encroaching shade of grey.

As we were walking to the bus stop, an old woman stopped Alex and said, “You are American? There is the church. I will pray for you.”

This was an excellent start.

The old lady must have followed through, though, because after some aggressive jogging and dramatic yelling, we collapsed in a heap on the train for two fun-filled hours of Pictionary: Train Edition.

(It turns out that Pictionary is my Achilles heel. Just Pictionary, though. I’m perfect by all other standards. But, if you draw me a picture of a Tweety bird flying around a computer, I will in fact say “BIRD COMPUTER” instead of “Twitter.” That’s just where my mind goes.)

Pictionary is a very exhausting game, so when we got to Lyon two hours later, we were STARVING. The pound of chocolate that Alex had brought for the ride was decimated, but it wasn’t enough. And, having not had enough time to drink ANY coffee, we were ABOUT TO DIE.

We got off the train and decided to walk in search of food. Most seasoned travelers tend to lead with their stomachs.

The restaurant on the corner – which looked really quaint and classically “French” – was closed.

But that’s okay! We can just continue for a while and find…

…another closed restaurant.

Hmm. Well maybe only the bistros are closed! I guess we don’t need to eat a hamburger right now. We could settle for some kebab.

Well, the lights in the kebab place are off… but you know, sometimes restaurant owners turn off the lights to create “mood lighting” and what not. This tiny kebab shack is probably trying to do just that! I’m suuuureee there’s something open on this stretch of street.


Fifteen minutes and several “stretches” later, there was STILL no food. There were no open doors. There were no people. Just the sound of our aching stomachs and the kind, encouraging words of Dylan as he said, “We are completely, 100 percent screwed. Nothing is open. We may never eat again. We should call it a day.”

Things were really looking bleak.

But wait! What is that glimmering beacon of hope down the street? COULD IT BE…a train station food court???

Yes. Yes it was.

We ran in like a bunch of deranged, ravenous bears. We couldn’t speak. We couldn’t think. I forgot how to speak French. Selby asked me what a sign said and it might as well have been a “bird computer,” for all the sense it was making to me.

Through some miracle, we were able to settle on a tiny pizza chain that had pizza and a salad bar.

The pizza smelled like horse. We thought the meat on it was tuna, but deep down, we knew it was straight up horse meat.  

As for the salad…never mind.

After feeling slightly rejuvenated, we walked into McDonald’s, where a nice man made us lattes and gave us directions to the Old Town, where we “may or may not have luck finding open stores and restaurants.”

Maybe it was the coffee, or maybe it was the handwritten directions, but something pushed us in the right direction.

When we emerged from the Métro, we saw this:


Believe you me, I have NEVER been – and probably NEVER will be again –SO happy to see a Ferris wheel in my ENTIRE life. A Ferris wheel meant civilization. And people. And, with a little bit of luck and some fairy dust, maybe less horse meat.

Right next to the Ferris wheel was a tourist info office. It was a miracle. The nice lady told us where to go and how to get there and all of that other vital information that we’d cleverly decided to ignore at the outset of our trip. 

With her sage advice, we managed to make our way to the Old Town, where we saw amazing sights, like this:


And the Eiffel Tower:


I managed to make several “Hey, there’s the Eiffel Tower!” jokes while we were there.  I’d say they landed.

After a long day and a cake of fear frosted with adrenaline, we managed to end the day on a high note, with some mussels and some gelato and some crepes…

…followed by a prompt OH SHIT moment as we realized we had twenty minutes to make a fifteen minute commute, buy tickets, and get on a train.

And you know what? We made it.

After all, what’s life without a sprinkle of drama and a lot of stress-induced sweat?

I guess I wouldn’t know.





2 Responses to “Pictionary, Horses, and Aggressive Running: A Sunday in Lyon”

  1. BlogwatiG March 10, 2014 at 9:12 am #

    Ah, France, brings back such memories. I have visited just once, and it was nothing like your story, though.

    I can’t remember when was the last time I was giggling like a school girl on reading something so vividly described. Following you for more.

    Pssst………….why pictionary???? Poor little game! 🙂

    • sophpearl March 10, 2014 at 9:17 am #

      Thanks so much for reading! I’m glad you liked it 🙂 Where in France did you visit? And we chose Pictionary because we only had a pen and some paper haha – next time, we’ll be prepared and will bring cards!

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