Sunday, August 2, 2009

Culoz, part 2

Culoz is a largish village, spread out along two main streets and without a good iconic picture. Exiting the train station I thought it was lucky I had decided to stay the night in Lyon, because there seemed to be noplace at all to stay. There are; you just can't see the real village from the station. And there are places for lunch.
On the edge of town, some of the old irrigation systems are still functional. Though I think this one is kept up just for show.
Looking through my pictures, I realize I didn't take one of the massive mountainside I decided to climb. I always figured I'd get a better angle on it, and ended up without one!
Not far above Culoz, some earthworks made of old tires. I imagine the level area thus protected will be for some kind of crop, though there's just bare dirt for the moment. Perhaps grapes. Or fruit trees.

About halfway up, or less, a view south, with the Rhone emptying into a lake.
A guy running up the hill. No thanks. I'll take it slower but steady.

In one of the high meadows, a sudden cabin and signs of very recent mowing. You're never in the wilderness in France.
In the village of Beon, a welcome stop for fresh water. These places exist in many old villages; people used to bring their clothes to wash here, and their horses to drink.
The local castle, with three horses in the lower field and a vineyard out back. It's a private residence - no visits.
This was coming down from my morning mountain hike (good idea to do the up&down hike first, before it got too hot!), just a hundred yards from re-entering Culoz. I next came upon a commercial zone that had one of those super-discount markets, where I bought water, peaches, and crackers for lunch. Not a moment too soon - my receipt said it was 11:58, and they were closing up for the noon break. Around back of the store I discovered there was access to the old train yard, as well as to a huge junkyard (really a metal recycling center). We'd passed this place as the train slowed down for the station, and the thought of wandering among the old, abandoned trains made me eager to come over here, though usually such places are surrounded by sturdy fencing, and you can't just wander around there. But the fence just ended, so I did. And the junkyard was closed for lunch but there was no gate, so I was free to wander around there, too. I'll show you some (I think) very cool pictures over the next couple of posts.
Next was a hike along the Rhone river.
The strip I walked along was part of a 'Grande Randonnée' trail that goes for many, many miles, and for this stretch coincided with the St Jacques de Compostelle trail (I had no idea it came over this way - gotta get a complete map of it some day), and we all hiked literally through people's yards.
Two of a large group of riders who stopped to admire the river. I went about 4 km upstream before deciding my feet were done. Or would be done soon, and I still had to get back to the station. All told, I figure I covered 22-24 km. I had an excellent day in Culoz; it's just what I wanted.
People waiting for the train to Chambery, in the Alps just an hour to the east.
Most stations have electronic signs telling what train is next on what quay. I've never seen a station where a guy goes out and hangs a sign. I've seen some with signs, in even smaller stations than this, but they're permanent signs that say 'This way to Townville' because any train bothering to stop there is going to stop in Townville, where you can catch a real train to a real destination.
Back in Lyon, I had a wash, and dinner, and spent Saturday morning wandering around town. There was a used book section of the open-air market along the Saone river, and I picked up 5 paperbacks. I should really read more French literature.
The Rhone in Lyon. Wide and calm, but really moving pretty fast.

There was something going on along the bank of the Rhone. The police had three divers out, but I didn't stay to find out what they were looking for. Time rather for some lunch before catching a train back to Clermont and my hungry kitties (no matter how much food I put out, Bandersnatch will just hoover it all up).
That's it for today. Old train pictures later!

1 comment:

A Scattering said...

Thanks for the tour! What a lovely location - I really enjoyed Maurice's take on the trip as well.