I’m only in Lyon for what will be two full days and parts of two others – so I’m pitting the urgency of covering territory against my mind and body’s desire to go a little lazy in the early stages of this long-awaited vacation.

I got up Tuesday morning and headed straight to one of Lyon’s outdoor street markets in the La Croix-Rousse neighborhood. I took the Lyon Metro. The B to the A to the C. I used a 48-hour all-you-can-ride ticket purchased for 12 euros at a machine just before entering at the Part-Dieu station. La Croix-Rousse’s unusually high elevation (833 feet) makes the C train groan and grind its way up a steep hill. Standees on the train grip their balance a bit given the sharp incline. One one side of the main street running through La Croix were vendors selling garments, shoes, jewelry, books, you-name-it. On the other side, it was a full-on food market. The weather is perfect and the vibe at this market was exceptional. This where the French get their stuff. Yeah, they go to supermarkets, too. But the abundance of outdoor street markets – and the quality of the stuff (not so much the non-food sector) make this concept work really well for both the consumer and the producer. It’s such a pleasant way to get what you need.

It appeared to me tomatoes are nearing the end of the line here and the really good tiny grapes are done. But the cheese and bakery items were in full bloom with hordes of shoppers gathered around the reputable producers.

From there, I came back to city center and visited the food hall “Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse.” Named after one of France’s greatest and most-beloved chefs, the indoor hall includes 48 permanent vendors – some of which have full meal service as part of their business. Bocuse died at the age of 91 early this year. His flagship restaurant six miles north of Lyon still flourishes and is considered one of the best in the world.

Lyon calls itself the “Capital of Gastronomy” and Bocuse was the dominate face and creative force of this city’s dining scene over 50 plus years.

Unable to decide given all the choices at the food hall, I walked away without making a purchase. I had lunch instead at “La Grignotiere – Bistrot a Croques.”

I ordered the “Jean-Mi” which was an excellent croque monsiuer sandwich in traditional form. Served alongside a small salad (with a soft drink), it cost just under 8 euros. It was great. The proprietor and chef Pauline ran the whole operation by herself. Her sleepy bulldog sat quietly in the dining room out-of-the-way.

Tonight, I’m going to see Lyon’s hockey team “Les Lions” play Angers at a small old arena in the Confluence quarter.

Greetings from Lyon where I’m launching a long French vacation for the fifth year in a row.

I left Sunday night out of Newark on a non-stop to Geneva with the home team airline. Six hours and 47 minutes in the air. As always seems to be the case, I sat next to the sick guy. He sniffled, sneezed and coughed almost the entire flight.

The approach to Geneva on descent was spectacular. I had a window – right side. The sun peeked over the Alps as the 767-300 dropped below 10-thousand feet. Jagged snow-capped mountains looked and felt menacing as we neared them but then we glided softly into a gorgeous valley.

A bus greeted us planeside for a short ride to a Swiss customs counter. Agents swiftly processed inbound pax without much interference.

At baggage claim, ticket machines spit out free public transit tickets good for 80 minutes anywhere in Geneva. The train connecting the airport to the main train station in the city (Geneve-Cornavin) is frequent and just a ten-minute ride.

From there, you can catch trains all over Switzerland, France and beyond. The ease of both the airport and public transit experience would make Geneva a great airport to go into for any traveler who wants to launch a Euro vacation from the center of the continent.

I had a couple hours to kill in Geneva so I bought a quiche and coffee and watched the morning rush go by.

About an hour before my 1122 AM departure to Lyon, I saw on the information board that the train had been cancelled. I went up to the French departure gate and two Swiss rail employees were informing those impacted by the cancellation that we could reroute through Chambéry. The woman I spoke to said the tracks connecting Geneva with Lyon had been shut down for the day. She was very helpful and I ended up only losing a couple hours from the service change.

I’m staying at a budget hotel near the main Lyon train station. The room is tiny but quiet and clean.

I spoke to my parents from Newark airport about 90 minutes before my flight left. They were babysitting my youngest brother’s two daughters in suburban Chicago. My Mom put my eldest niece on the line. She spoke a few words of French. There was a perfectly pronounced “Bonjour” and a “Bon Voyage!”

I laughed and said: “Merci beaucoup!”

“What’s that mean?” my niece said.