My work took me to Lyon, France, so we decided to use the opportunity for Ronda and Cooper to come along as well. So, we drove our van from Stuttgart to Lyon - which is about 6.5 hours. We left on Sunday morning and drove the whole way through to Lyon, France. We checked in to the Hilton in Lyon at about 4pm and got settled in to our room. We had picked the Hilton because it was close to my work location, and it was located close to the Park “de la Tete d’Or" which is an enormous public park with rose gardens, a zoo, walking/biking trails, ponds and lakes, and restaurants.

Also right next to our hotel was the Lyon's modern art museum, with some cool pieces on the sidewalks and courtyard outside.

I had work to do during the day on Monday/Tuesday, but we made the best of our afternoons. On Monday afternoon, we went for a long walk in the park and saw some of the Zoo animals, including a pair of lions and some monkeys.

Ronda and Cooper had spent most of the day in the park, so we didn’t do too much walking because they were pooped from walking all day! On Monday night we met a coworker for dinner at a Michelin-rated French restaurant called "Cite 33." The restaurant was VERY expensive, but it was also really good. I had a steak with a side of baked bone marrow, Ronda had Salmon sashimi and Jon Dory (a white fish), and Cooper had chicken with noodles and a brown butter sauce. We actually checked an item off Ronda’s bucket list by eating at a Michelin rated restaurant!

On Tuesday after work, we took a city bus to “Vieux Lyon" which is the old part of Lyon. We found our way up the tramway to the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourvière. The views of the city from the Basilica were amazing and the stained glass on the interior and the inlayed mosaics were gorgeous. We rode the tram back down to old Lyon and walked into the main walking area where the shops and restaurants are located.

After walking the length of the main street, we decided on a restaurant for dinner and sat down. Cooper had chicken, Ronda had Salmon, and I had the duck, which was excellent! After dinner we walked some more and got on the last bus back to our hotel!

The next morning, we checked out of the hotel, loaded up the van, and headed home. But we decided to take a different way home, this time through Switzerland. We drove from Lyon to Geneva, and then Berne, where we had planned to take a pit stop to check out something… Before we left the US for Europe, we watched a “House Hunters International" episode about a family that moved to Berne, Switzerland. During the episode, the family visited a place the narrator described as a “bear pit" inside the center of Berne. Berne actually means “Bear" and the city and region crest is of a bear.

So, yes, there are bears in downtown Berne, Switzerland, and we wanted to check them out! They didn’t disappoint! We found parking right near the bear enclosure area and walked over to the old bear area, which was abandoned because it was too small for the bears, and then right next door to the “new" area, which is right on the fast-flowing Aare River. We had to walk down about 4 flights of stairs to get to the bear area, but once we got there, it was so worth it. The two brown bears that we could see were playing in the water and enjoying being cool in the river on a hot summer day. Cooper loved watching them, and kept telling them to be nice to one another.
After we had enough bear watching, we climbed back up the stairs and got in our van and took off. We needed to make up some time on the road. We found an Autohof (road/interstate rest area) with a diner where we had a late lunch. The diner was called “Cindy’s" and it was an attempt to replicate an American diner from the 50’s. The food was good, and the burger was the best we’ve had so far in Europe, but the prices were outrageous - which is pretty normal for Switzerland. Our "roadside diner lunch" for three cost over $70. Once we were back on the road, we made good time back to Stuttgart, and got in about 5pm. It was a long day - but a fun one! We were really excited about our next trip, in two days, to Croatia! More on that in our next blog post. Bye for now.