Friday, September 28, 2012

Accueil des Villes Françaises

I arose to a beautiful, cloud free, dry Thursday morning.

All of the clothes that I wore to practice last night were still damp even after hanging in my small bathroom overnight to drip dry.

I had a 10:30 a.m. appointment to meet with Mary Robinson Hubert for coffee.

Mary is an Oregon native who lives in Lyon with her French husband and family. She is a friend of the Falcons and via our G.M., Julien Urgenti, she connected with me.

Guard Dog

This house is located two doors down from The Villa and across the street from the C17 bus stop where I would start my journey to Lyon's Place Bellecour. This is where I was scheduled to meet Mary.

Accueil des Villes Françaises
with Viviane, Muriel and Mary

The AVF is a club for any and all foreigners living in Lyon to share in learning more about the complete Lyonsaise experience. The club also caters to French nationals that have lived overseas for any appeciable amount of time.

Viviane and Muriel, both charming and delightful, fit into this later group.

Mary, on the other hand, is a Duck. I am working hard on overlooking this obvious character flaw. She was otherwise a great person to know.

The club offers French conversation sessions as well as several cultural events throughout each and every month which I plan to enjoy when time permits. Today the ladies helped me to find a laundromat (laverie automatique), a French language class and an in to two international high schools where I hope to talk to the students in an effort to find more players for the Falcon Cadet and Junior teams.

The AVF club meets twice a week, Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. From what I gather the men mostly attend the Tuesday night meetings after work while the ladies tend to go to the Thursday morning meetings.

Since we practice on Tuesday nights, it looks like I will be forced to attend the Thursday morning meetings with about 50 lovely ladies, tres magnifique!

I was scheduled to meet with Julien at lunch to talk so I had to leave the AVF meeting after about 90 minutes to catch the Metro. Along the way, I did stop to take a few photos in the historic Vieux Lyon district.

Colorful Shops

Interesting Streets

Restaurants at the ready
for the lunch crowd

Notre Dame Basilica atop the hill
and St. Jean Cathedral below

Student Lunch Scene

Vestments on display in
St. Jean Cathedral

I couldn't help myself, I was long overdue to visit a church. 

The Cathedral's Astronomical Clock
ca. 1383 A.D.

Fantastique Rosette Window

How old are these shutters?

The La Croix-Rousse atop the hill
as seen from the Saone River 

Mary pointed out this bookstore
with a large selection of English
language books

A pagan god just hanging out
on the Place Bellecour

King Louis XIV riding
into Place Bellecour  

As it turned out, Julien had to cancel our lunch meeting but I decided not to cancel lunch at Les 3 Brasseurs brewpub which provides me with 5 free lunches a week worth about 15 Euros each thus saving me potentially 300 Euros a month!

After lunch I explored the huge shopping mall that surrounds Les 3 Brasseurs.

This is a much more apt named
restaurant for my eating habits

Memories of Sicily

This is a mega-store just like the one we had in Catania of the same name that sells everything under the sun including 3XL powder blue Speedos.

I kid you not!

I settled for a sturdy umbrella and a new, dry cap with "Califonia," no r, sewn in across the front.

Bargains galore at Auchan!

Tempting but no

Possible Weather Change

As I left Auchan to head back to The Villa, ominous clouds started to blow into Lyon.

The good weather held and we got no rain at practice tonight.

At 6:00 p.m., we had a very good coaches meeting to discuss the course of the Junior team the next two months. We accomplished a lot even though 80% of the talks were in French. Thank goodness for me that our Junior Head Coach, Olivier Caldes, made up a copy of all of his plans in English.

Our 8:00 p.m. practice for the Senior team went well as we stressed fundamentals for everybody before breaking up into "A" and "B" teams. While the "A" team does not open their season until Nov. 11, the "B" team plays a Derby season opener this Sunday at heated rival St. Étienne.

Bad blood here.

Another great day in France!

Two final things of note. First, I find the sports authorities here in Lyon quite advanced in their thinking. As I understand it, the goal is to convert every athletic field in the area from natural grass to some form of field turf by 2014. From what I have seen driving around town, they are well on their way to accomplishing this lofty goal.

Finally, I got an e-mail from Kim Linkruus who works for a TV station in Växjö, Sweden. They were asking permission to use one of my photos of their fine city that I took in 2010 to use as a backdrop in their studio. I said yes, of course.

I should have held out for some fika.

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