Sunday, 29 August 2010

My first weekend in Lyon

So here I am. Lyon, the gastronomic capital of Europe. We arrived on Thursday evening after an incredibly bumpy flight (our tea was spilling all over the place!) Checked into our hotel and then just chilled out with room service. The next day we had it all to do! First we went to the Orée AJD (which is a refugee centre, we got sent there by the bank people in July. Random I know) to collect the post to do with my French bank account. I had been sent everything I needed except the most important thing: a bank card! So after that we went to La Banque Postale - a massive bank/post office - and put some money into my account. Next we went to SFR to get a French SIM card.That was much more confusing than I thought it would be. I couldn't remember whether I should get a Pay as you Go contract or a monthly one, so I asked for Pay as you Go, but I've already run out of credit and I can't use data. Boo :(

After all that faff, we went back to the hotel, got one of my suitcases, got a taxi to the hall and started to move me in, only to discover that I should have made an appointment. Typical French not telling you things unless you ask! So then we had to sort that out and they wanted ID and all sorts, but we had already given them these things in July. Gah! Eventually we went up to my flat and checked over the inventory. Everything seemed in good order, but the shower head doesn't stay in its bracket and the bathroom tap leaks. Once we had unpacked, we then went to the Carrefour which I thought would be fairly close, but the walk felt like about 6 miles, and when we got there the shop was rubbish! So we bought some sandwiches, got the metro back to the flat, had a bit of a break and then went to Part-Dieu where there is a HUGE shopping centre, 3 floors and nearly as big as the Bullring! The Carrefour there was much better; we managed to get quite a lot of stuff. After that mission we went back to the hotel, chilled out for a bit, ordered room service and watched Valentines Day. Incredibly cheesy, but a great movie! Yesterday it was back to the flat with the other suitcase for even more unpacking and yet another trip to Carrefour. This really is just like shopping for first year all over again. Then the next disaster happened: I was filling up the sink so we could wash up my new cutlery and plates and things, and the tap head just flew off, spraying water everywhere! It went both on and under the floor tiles! I went to reception to explain what happened, I even broke down and started explaining in English! The lady said that she wouldn't be able to call a plumber in until Monday. Once again, typical French, no sense of urgency whatsoever. So she gave us a whole load of towels and we had to mop all the water up and do the washing up in the bathroom. Later on while I was cooking pasta for Mum and I, the electricity tripped out! Just great, another issue. We ended up having to put the sauce that we had made in the microwave. It actually turned out quite well in the end. After dinner Mum helped me put everything away and then went back to the hotel, leaving me to spend my first night in the flat. It sure was weird! It took me ages to get to sleep, and I'm sure I dreamed that I was back in Birmingham at one point!

Today, I discovered the true meaning of the European Sunday. Literally EVERYTHING is shut. I even had to ask a random French girl for the code to get back in the building, because reception is closed, therefore the front door is locked. After we had found that out we got a metro and a tram out to Bron, where Lyon 2's other campus is located. The journey was surprisingly quick and it was nice to get out in the fresh air after having been backwards and forwards to Part-Dieu for two days straight. It being a Sunday the whole campus was shut, but we were at least able to get there and see what it looked like. The building is much more modern than the campus that we saw in July. When we were on the tram on the way back, a man sitting on the other side of the aisle to us started talking to me, just because he had heard us speaking English. He seemed friendly enough but he was very odd and he slurred his words a lot so we had to listen very carefully in order to understand him. The craziest thing was that he thought Mum was my sister! When we got off we found a lovely market at Perrache. Definitely worth a better look. Then we came back to the flat and had lunch and now we are just chilling until Mum needs to go to the airport.
Overall, my first weekend as a Lyonnaise has been full of ups and downs, but very exciting.

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