The Nagasawa family trip to France: May 1 - 15, 2011
In the morning, we took a train from Avignon to Lyon, the culinary capital of France.
Here's John making a bit more progress on his homework, and his sandwich.
Inside a train in Lyon.
We saw a cathedral built from 1872 - 1896 and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who is said to have saved the city of Lyon from the plague in 1643. Mary's intercession in heaven was also credited with stopping the Prussians from invading France in the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. It's called the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere.
This was the most recent chapel I had seen, I believe. It was quite ornate.
Mary and baby Jesus.
One of several tile mosaics on the walls. This one depicts the first missionaries coming to France. My feeling: Two thumbs up!
This one depicts the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD, which denounced Nestorius for calling Mary "mother of Christ" as opposed to "mother of God." It had to do with Jesus' two natures in one person vs. Nestorius' articulation of two natures and two "persons" in one "person." My feeling: I agree with the phrasing of the Chalcedonian doctrine. But I think Nestorius' influence over "Nestorian" churches in the Assyrian Church of the East was rather exaggerated. Distinctions made in Greek between "nature" and "person" were not even always possible linguistically in other languages.
This was a depiction of Joan of Arc leading a French army, and inspired by a vision of the Virgin Mary. My feeling: This was going a bit far for me. Using Christian charismatic mysticism for warfare purposes is hard to justify.
This was a depiction of the Roman Catholic decree in 1854 which said that the Virgin Mary had her own immaculate conception, meaning she had no stain of corruption from original sin. This was the theoretical foundation for saying that her human nature was unstained by the corruption from the fall. My feeling: Way too far for me. If Jesus had a different kind of human nature than we had, then how could he redeem ours? And if Mary had a different kind of human nature too, then how much further away does that position Jesus as the personal mediator between God and humanity?
Lyon from the hill on which the cathedral stood. That's the Rhone River.
A garden along the path. The arches all had roses in bloom. The smell was great.
Ming putting the flowers to shame.
Nearby was an old Roman amphitheater.
Zoe took an interest in this amphitheater.
"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!"
Next door was a museum of Gallo-Roman History. Lyon (called Lugdunium in its earliest days) had been a very important Roman city for its economic importance and federal sanctuary. It's also important in terms of Christian history: One of my heroes, Irenaeus of Lyon, was bishop here in the 2nd century, when Lyon was the largest Christian community west of Rome. Many Christian tombstones have been recovered.
Bronze parts of an ancient wagon, dating back to 700 BC (the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age). It was designed for processions. This was discovered in 1888.
A model of the city in classical times.
A bit of history.
Fragments of stone with writing, just to give you a feel for how big these stones were.
Mosaic floor tiles
A close up.
What a room might have looked like.
More Christian history.
Exiting the museum, we walked down the hill, down these stairs, to the level of the river.
Lyon was also big on silk production. Corridors like this were useful for silk makers and merchants to walk and protect the silk from getting wet.
Then we went to this gelato place for the best gelato in Lyon, according to one tour guide book.
John and Zoe enjoyed basic flavors, while I got...
...rhubarb and pistachio. Mmmm!
A little while later, we went to dinner at a restaurant called Leon de Lyon. It was once a very high end restaurant until the chef decided he wanted to cook for the people. There are still tons of pictures on the walls of French Presidents and other dignitaries.
We got there at 7pm, just as the restaurant opened. Within 20 minutes, this place was packed.
Move the computer screen around, and Ming's eyes will follow you. But the eyes of the dead rabbit in the background won't.
The kids loved their chicken and pasta.
Appetizer: salmon with cream and dill, with arugula.
Appetizer: a creamy soup with herbs and bacon.
Ming got a steak tartar. Yes, it is raw beef. It was mixed in with spicy peppers - awesome!
I got a lamb with vegetables. Tasty, but the steak tartar was better.
The cheese plate, which I started in on before getting a picture.
A rhubarb tart with strawberry gelato.
A kiss to thank my lovely wife for a well planned trip.