Leaving friends and family last year, we hoped life would not be lonely. When you don’t speak the language where you are living, how can you make friends? We have discovered it is not so difficult. If you are open to encounters and accept invitations even when you are a little unsure. Early in our travels, as we relaxed in a café in Saint Malo, a brief conversation was sparked by a friendly, young French couple. That exchange inspired us to visit Lyon last year for three weeks, and then choosing it to be our home base for three months on this second phase of our nomadic life.
As our friendship with Nicholas and Lucie developed, they included us in a family gathering for the birthday of their sweet daughter Noemie. We met their parents, sisters, brothers and other close friends. Our French circle expanded and our new friends have drawn us in more closely to their lives. Now, as our time in Lyon is drawing to an end, discussions of meeting at a future time have begun.
This particular weekend began Friday evening with neighbors who have become friends. Isabelle and Christopher invited us to an evening of drinks and snacks, and her brother Bruno and his wife and daughter also joined us. As they all speak English very well, conversation flowed smoothly, and we continued to expand our knowledge of French culture, wines, cheeses and a number of different types of amuse-bouche or single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre. It was great to share an evening of friendship la mode à la française.
Saturday night we had Nicholas, Lucie and Noemie to our apartment for dinner. In the weeks leading up to this evening, Chris and I decided on a menu, and with the help of Paul at our local wine shop, selected the wines to accompany the food. For the appetizers, we served endive leaves filled with blue cheese, orange pieces, and walnuts, drizzled with balsamic vinegar, along with small crackers and olives. For dinner we served a filet mignon (as pork tenderloin is called here) seasoned with garlic, rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper . We also roasted small potatoes, and served fresh haricot verte to complete the main courses.
As we cannot begin to compete with the French pastries here, we served a simple dessert of mango sorbet, garnished with a cinnamon cookie and sprig of mint. Little Noemie enjoyed her own glace au chocolat. Over dinner we discussed options to meet again before we leave Europe and suggested meeting in Barcelona in October. They asked if we had been to Morocco and when we replied no, we all soon agreed that Marrakesh would be a great place to share more time together.
This weekend was the summer solstice, and also the Fête de la Musique . Throughout the evening, as we ate on the terrasse of our apartment, we heard music coming from the nearby place du Château. So after dinner we took a walk to see the evening’s festivities. Though it was late and the band was packing up, recorded music was playing and people of all ages were dancing. Nicholas remarked how much our little area was indeed like a small village, with local families and friends coming together to enjoy food, music and dancing. We took a short stroll down our shopping street, returned home, and said au revoir to our friends.
Next: Our weekend was just getting started.
The images for this post are a varied selection of impressions from in and around Lyon.