I was very fortunate to have had a job (a while back) which resulted in being seconded to the company’s headquarters in Lyon, France for what ended up being a four year stay, while I was the IT Project Manager on a global software implementation project.
During our stay there, K and I were able to travel to quite a few places in Europe as the distances were relatively short (in comparison to getting to those places from Canada) and there were generally good options for getting to them: networks of excellent high-speed highways connecting major cities, high-speed trains lines and, for the longest trips, air travel, although most of our travelling was done either by car or train.
So Lyon is the first “L” for today’s A-Z Blogging Challenge post, and the second is Lisbon (Lisboa in Portuguese) – one of the places we got to visit on a group trip from Lyon. A bit of an explanation here: in France, companies over a certain size are required by employment laws (and boy, do they have employment laws in France – lots and lots of them, as befits the country that invented bureaucracy) to have a comité d’entreprise (CE) that is made up of elected representatives of the employees and is funded by the company, based on a percentage of the total payroll (um, to put it in Facebook relationship terms: It’s complicated).
One of the functions of the CE relates to running company subsidized social and cultural events for employees – including organizing group trips, usually planned around the many statutory holiday periods throughout the year. One such trip that we were able to take advantage of was to the second “L” for today’s post: Lisbon, Portugal.
The trip was organized around the long weekend of Pentecost (lundi de Pentecôte) in May 2002 and we had a wonderful time there. The Portuguese people were welcoming and friendly, and as many of them speak French (the two languages have many similarities due to their both being Romance languages) it often made communicating easier (er, that’s because K and I both know French – OK, she’s more fluent than I since she studied French literature in university but je me débrouille pas mal).
We were already accustomed to good food from living in Lyon, regarded (by some, anyway, and definitely by the Lyonnais) as the gastronomic capital of France, but Lisbon delivered its fair share of gustatory treats, including pastéis and ginjinha.
There were wonderful sights to see as well: azulejos tilework was everywhere, we made the obligatory visit to the remains of the Roman temple of Évora, and took a leisurely tour of the city on a chartered old fashioned tram (the modern ones are quaintly old fashioned in their own way). And then there was the sea and seafaring – an integral part of life in Lisbon and Portugal throughout its history. Pictures are worth more than words, though, so here are a few we took on that trip:
Would I go back to Lyon or Lisbon, either to visit or to live there? In a heartbeat…