We had purchased tickets a while back for the Aquarium de Lyon and since we are leaving for Brittany next weekend, today was the only opportunity we would have to use them.
But I wasn’t sure if I was up to braving the masses of sidewalk-hogging, chain-smoking Lyonnais or being squished so close to someone on the bus that I could smell what they’d had for breakfast. I imagined being in a muggy, windowless room full of other warm bodies, many all hot and sweaty from the day’s heat. While we’re all pressed together in front of the glass the fish would watch us from their comfortable tanks, with pity in their big, inscrutable eyes.
You may have noticed that I’m not at my height of tolerance for crowds at the moment. Kailas and I have been sick for the past few days and are finally feeling almost back to normal today. This just wasn’t my idea of how I wanted to spend the last Sunday in Lyon.
But off we went.
It was almost noon by the time we all were finally ready. We walked the few blocks to Bellecour, and I noticed the extensive square was practically empty.
Our bus was also fairly vacant and when we arrived at the aquarium, there were no lines. In fact, there were hardly any people in the building. Just us and the fishes.
This floor to ceiling tank was great. We could have set up a picnic blanket on the floor – there was no one else around! Kailas was able to sit for as long as he wanted, which was a good forty minutes or so. He was mesmerized by the fishes.
It was like having the entire aquarium to ourselves.
So, where was everybody? Was there a soccer game or something going on that we didn’t know about? Meh, what ever it was, I was glad we were here and not there.
Sagan started naming the flounders in the touch pool.
We decided to test our luck. Perhaps we could check out le Part Dieu today?
On the way, we enjoyed the open spaces and Mark and I continued to wonder where all the usual Sunday traffic was.
I joked that perhaps all the faithful got “raptured.”
I then had to explain to Sagan what that meant, which made for some fun conversation. Her exact words after hearing it were:
“Gee, too bad that story isn’t true. I’d like to be one of the folks sticking around. It’s nice.”
We got to the Part Dieu mall and of course, it was empty.
Many of the stores were closed, too. It was strange, being a Sunday afternoon. But this was France, and they have odd hours, for sure.
While waiting for the bus to take us back to Bellecour, we were approached by a couple of people handing out Jesus pamphlets. Yep, they have them in France, too.
They spoke English, so Mark couldn’t help himself: “I thought you were supposed to be Raptured? Why are you still here?”
“Oh that was not a true prediction, and anyway no one can know the day of Rapture, it says in the bible that–”
Mark cut him off and just said -“Oh, darn. That’s too bad.”