Enjoying our riot-free town

24 October 2010

We have been enjoying our peaceful town this weekend. ALL public transport has been working without disruption. Amazing, but  I know that the next major disruptions are just around the corner: In about 8 weeks there will definitely be strikes on the buses and metro again, because we’ll be celebrating la Fête des Lumières in Lyon ( http://www.fetedeslumieres.lyon.fr/ ) between the 8-11 December. Traditionally, there is only limited public transport service despite the 4 million visitors that are expected to come to Lyon. But check out the link and come to visit! We have no guests over that weekend yet, so there’s a great opportunity for a magical weekend in Lyon.

Can I PLEASE just  say one more thing about the strikes now? I have to get this out of my system, because you hear from people who live in a certain country across the border (i.e. Germany) that the strikes are fab and Germans should stage the same protest against, for example, changes to the retirement age. But I think this would not work in good old Germany because of the side effects a strike can have: Being unable to fill your car with petrol would be extremely difficult for Germans, in fact, people would freak, feel threatened and think that within hours or maybe a day at the most, food supplies would run out and drinking water would become scarce. I can picture the long queues in front of petrol stations and I can also picture people who plan to go to demonstrations wanting to fill up their car first :).  They would all get stuck in the long queues and never get to the demonstrations in time. I think you have to forget about peaceful, institutionalized strikes in Germany, honestly  :). People just would not be so laid back about it as the French are. But enough said…

We had a wonderful weekend! We went out on Friday to celebrate a friend’s birthday until — shock, horror– 2 am in the morning. Our kids were with us, but they just collapsed on our hosts’ bed at around 11pm and let us party on. I was shattered yesterday. I am not used to staying up late. I gently worked out to cleanse my system and stimulate all my chakras by cleaning the kitchen and the bathroom and was ready to step out, fresh and revived at a quarter to eight in the evening. Rolf and I left the kids at home to watch ghostbusters and met up with other friends for dinner in town. It was lovely, and we didn’t get home until … two in the morning. This morning I skipped my cleansing workout, instead I slept til 9, made waffles for breakfast and took it really easy. In the afternoon, we all went out to La Fête de la science which has been on in  and around Lyon since last week ( http://www.cityvox.fr/sorties-enfants_lyon/fete-de-la-science_86043/)  We attended the exhibition at  one of the Universities in Lyon, which was similar to the Science Day at Royal Holloway in Egham. There was so much to see, but Linus brought some particular  inspiration home: He wants an electron microscope for Christmas now. We’re still negotiating :). I have to admit that the devices they showed could do impressive things: In typical French fashion, one demonstration was food related. They showed us the mites that live in a particular kind of cheese  and apparently produce a really special flavour. They are so tiny, but under this microscope you see them going about their cheese-making business and, so to speak,  look them straight in the eye. I think I now have to reconsider, can I still call myself a vegetarian if I eat the little cousin of a spider with my cheese? There was also lots of other interesting enlarged life to see: Fruitflies under the microscope, wings of a butterfly (did you know that some species of butterfly have no colour on their wings? They just appear to be colourful due to the way they light breaks, it’s all down to physics) an ant with a broken back, and various pollen…. Did you know that sunflower pollen looks like chestnuts shells? See, I learnt lots, and thinking about it, maybe it would be fascinating to own one of those microscopes. So,  feel free to send a donation. If we get enough money, we will buy a wonderful microscope and everybody  can have a look and say hello to whatever moves around in your food  :).

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