Lyon is a beautiful city in southern France with two wide rivers running through it. At nearly 30 degrees centigrade the weather was absolutely spot on for a touch of outdoor beer drinking and talking about rugby.
The game was the walk over everyone thought it would be with the All Blacks scoring 11 tries against Portugal, the 22nd ranked team in the world. The atmosphere in the stadium was awesome at the vocal Portuguese fans cheered all the way up to the final whistle. Later on that night we saw loads of them in local bars and they seemed pretty stoked by the days events despite the claims by some reporters that such obvious mismatches have no place in the world cup.
After the game Phil and I were interview by TVNZ. His overly verbose comments on the match were left on the cutting room floor while my more succinct analysis hit the chord with the reporter and were aired on New Zealand television :)
We were also lucky enough to run into New Zealand’s record break number 10 Andrew Merhtens. He was really friendly and posed for photographs but had to dash off as he was helping TV3 with their television coverage.
Dinner was in a restaurant called carnivores with a couple of Jo’s English friend who live in Lyon. Later that night we ended up in a small bar with a live rock cover band. They were awesome and we moshed so hard most of us would have sore calve muscles well into the following week.
Sunday morning started like a lot of Sunday mornings. Slowly with no loud noises and lots of rehydration.
We walked back to the river to have breakfast on a riverboat only to find the boat closed and a huge farmers market going on. Being the flexible opportunists that we are we bought as much food as out eyes thought we could eat and had a massive picnic by the river.
Later in the day we spent two whole hours renting bikes from the local bike rental scheme. The local government in Lyon have hundreds of computerised cycle racks and thousands of bike spread all over the city. The idea is that anyone can purchase a card from the machine by the bike racks and then swipe the card at any machine and grab a bike. The amount you are charged depends on how long it takes you to get the bike back into another rack. Journeys under thirty minutes are free. We had a few problems using the scheme as it was entirely in French. Also loads of the bikes didn’t work or the machines that isues them didn’t work. There were also long queues so the whole process took us four hours to get four bikes. Once we had the bike we immediately proceeded to push our bikes about a kilometre up the steepest hill in town. As the most vocal advocate of the bike ride and as I had loudly talked up how easy it would be, I copped a lot of flak for getting off my bike 50 meters into the hill climb covered in sweat and ready to collapse. The hard work was worth it to see the beautiful church and for the awesome ride down where I totally made my bike belch thick blue smoke from the breaks.