Europe Trip Journal – Entry 23: A Hike and a Hat


The last night I was constantly reassured of not being alone by the constant snoring of my room mates. Even with ear plugs in I could not overhear their nonverbal consolation. At some point I was even worried for the health of the person sleeping in the bed below me, as the rhythm of their breath was almost two times faster then mine. This couldn’t be healthy!

This was the reason why the next morning I only got up at 11:00. I took a shower, reusing my old shirt as replacement for a towel and then went down to get some breakfast. Unfortunately the hostel only offered breakfast until 10:30, so I had to opt for a cappuccino and a brownie instead. It still tasted nice, so I did not mind too much.

After finishing the brownie (I had downed the cappuccino with a pace that surprised myself), I went back to my bed for an hour or so but then finally it was time to go out. I had not yet seen much of Lyon before, so it was time to change that.

The bridge was shaking when a jogger passed by – also, is that the Eiffel Tower in the distance???

On Wiki Voyage I read that there was a historic part of the city which dated back to the year 1400 or so, so I thought this would be a good place to start. I located one of the historic quarters and started walking there. When I arrived though, I was quite disappointed. Nothing here looked like it could be from the middle ages. So I ditched that plan and simply chose the most interesting looking street to follow down.

On a hill I could make up some church-like building throning over the city. Surely being up there would grant a really nice overview over Lyon! The pass upwards was steep and exhausting so when I finally reached the top after following some serpentines and climbing some stairs, I needed a short pause. In a restaurant I bought a vegetarian salad and a coke and then sat down outside in the sun.

View over the city

Luckily I had taken all the wrong turns on my way up, so the way down was pretty straight forward. I could even take a shortcut, following some very long stairs down which even had a street name attached to them.

After passing some more impressive churches and huge buildings, I found myself in a part of the city which was strangely modern, yet old fashioned. I’m struggling a bit to find the right words to describe quite the feeling I had while walking through the streets and places here, but let me try nonetheless.

This part of the city looked like from sometime in the middle of the 20th century. The houses where white, and there was a large, open places with a splendid fountain in the middle. I suddenly had the strange feeling of living in a world that stood for ideals. This is what a person in the golden age in the 1920s must have felt like, filled with optimism for a brave new world of reasoning and peace. A world of progress, which values achievements and advancement over despotism and conservatism, science over religion. I don’t know why I felt that way, or what made me feel so, but nevertheless it did.

Wandering though a passage way, I came across a store that sold French hats. Since this was expected to be my last stay in France on this tour, it was now or never, so I entered the shop and ended up buying a hat. Surely, wearing this hat I would perfectly blend in with the local population. Later I learned that my hat was from Italy :P. I normally don’t enjoy buying clothing, and a hat is something I would have never really identified myself with before. Still, for some reason this hat made me very happy as it perfectly captured and somehow embodied what I felt in this moment.

Look at my amazing hat!

Back at the hostel, I decided to not get lunch at a restaurant today, but instead use the hostels guest kitchen to cook my own meal. On OpenStreetMaps I located a convenience store only about 5 minutes away. Proudly sporting my new hat I bought some pasta which I could dose into a paper bag to avoid leftovers, as well as a bottle of beer and an avocado. I also needed some cheese for the pasta, but did not want to get a whole block of cheese since that would be too much for me. So I got innovative and bought some easy to dose Babybel cheese.

Back at the hostel, the pasta was quickly done. Unfortunately the Babybel turned out hard to grate, so I just cut it down and added it to the pasta. Meanwhile I got to into a conversation with a Frenchman called A., with whom I talked about Astérix, the history of France and Germany, economics as well as the war in Ukraine. We had dinner together and he later wished me a good travel.

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