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  • Writer's pictureEddie & Megan

Can You Guess Our First Destination?

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

We’ve finally chosen the first city we’ll visit on our 1-year trip abroad! We’ll be spending a full month there and have a reservation at an amazing Airbnb listing hosted by what seem to be the kindest people.

Below is a list of clues about Destination #1. Can you guess which city we’re describing??

  • This city’s country is on the euro. The current exchange rate is 1 USD = .88 euro (whereas it was only .82 a year ago).

  • This city has a population estimated at just under 500,000 people with a metropolitan area of more than 2 million.

  • This city has a total of 670 km of bike paths (but it is not Copenhagen).

  • This city is a UNESCO world heritage site.

  • This city is home of the international headquarters of Interpol.

  • This city is considered to be the gourmet (or gastronomy) capital of its country.

  • This city hosts the Nuits de Fourviere festival every year with over 60 shows during June and July and includes theatre, circus, music, dance, and film.

  • This city averages a high of 80 degrees F (or 27 C) in July and a low of 61 F (or 16 C).

  • This city is where the Rhône and Saône rivers meet.

  • This city is one stop for the TGV, which is a high-speed train that travels at over 200 mph (or 320 kph).

  • This city has a “Notre Dame” cathedral which many believe to be more beautiful than the one in Paris.

  • This city is within a couple of hours of Geneva Switzerland, Paris France, and Barcelona Spain.

Can you guess which city we're describing?

Lyon, France!

Lyon was not our original first choice. You may recall that our original shortlist had included Geneva, Switzerland. The diversity of climates, the picturesque landscapes, and the food were all factors that made us want to pay the Swiss a visit. However, when we looked for affordable housing in and around Geneva, we realized our budget wouldn’t allow for a place that we considered comfortable. Zooming out a bit from Geneva, we came across the town of Annemasse, France just over the border. It’s described as a commuter town, with most of its residents working in Geneva 30-40 minutes away one way. We didn’t find a whole lot to do in Annemasse as far as restaurants, bars, attractions, etc. and we didn’t particularly want to be spending a minimum of 1.5 hours on a bus daily (to go to Geneva where the fun stuff is in that area) if we could help it. Enter: Lyon! It’s just a short (2 hour 20 minute) train ride from Geneva so it’s easy enough to get to if we want to spend a long weekend there (not constant day trips). Also, since Lyon is a transportation center for trains in particular, it would be easy for us to get to several other major cities in less than 3 hours one way. This seemed to allow us the most flexibility and ensure we wouldn’t be “stuck” in a town that’s sleepier than we would prefer.

The language

We all know that it’s much more common for a European citizen to speak many languages than for Americans. It is also true that you tend to find the highest proportion of English speakers in the largest cities. We expect it to be more difficult to find English speakers in Lyon than it would be in Paris. However, it is reasonable to expect younger people and students in particular to know conversational English at the very least. Thankfully one of us spoke semi-fluent French in middle school and high school and we’re hoping it’s just like riding a bike! We also plan to use Babble and other language apps to study before we arrive in Lyon. We absolutely want to be courteous guests in our temporary home.

Visa Considerations

From our post on Navigating European Visa Restrictions to Stay for a Year, you know that we can only stay in Schengen area countries for 90 days out of every 180. With our first destination being “in the zone” shall we say, we will be starting the clock on our first 180 day period. This way, we will have two 180-day periods in our full one year abroad. We will need to be diligent about counting the days to ensure we don’t exceed 90 (we see you Immigration and Customs...).

Now that we have housing at our first destination booked, the trip is beginning to feel more real. Now off to (re)learn French!


-Eddie & Megan Check us out on other platforms as well…


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