Elsecar Heritage Centre is a collection of buildings in Barnsley which are now of listed building status of historical architectural heritage. Now a collection of shops and craft workshops, they were originally built to support the adjacent mine workings, ironworks and railway. Built in 1850, they were reopened in 1987 in their present guise.
The mine workings in this area were some of the deepest in the area. To access the deep workings required the installation of this beam engine to extract the water. It ran from 1795 to 1923 and is now the oldest example of a beam engine in the country that is still situated in it’s original position. It can now only be operated with the assistance of a hydraulic pump due to the dilapidated state of its steam powered engine.
An early start this morning with the taxi picking us up at 05:30. Picking up Gill and Vince on the way we caught the 06:10 from Bishops Stortford, picking up Paul and Lin at Harlow Town. Changing to the underground at at Tottenham Hale we had a bit of a problem with our tickets. The lady at the gate said they weren’t valid because Tottenham Hale isn’t a London terminal. I just ignored here and we all went through the gate.
We arrived at St Pancras in plenty of time to catch our Eurostar train which was to take us to Lille. It was good that we got there early as there was hardly anyone around so we just sailed through security and passport checks. Well, maybe ‘sailed through’ is not the right statement as couple of us had a problem with the Eurostar tickets as they hadn’t printed them correctly and the ticket was missing part of the bar code. We eventually got them reprinted at the Eurostar desk even though they seemed to be having a lot of problems with their ticket printing machine.
Got under way on time at 08:55 after sorting ourselves out with our seating (some of us were fussy about which way they sit ) for a couple of stops before we travel under the channel and on to France. We arrived in Lille around 11:30. A not very interesting station with limited facilities, although they did seem to be doing a lot of work on the station concourse.
We had quite a wait at Lille as we weren’t due to depart until 14:03. Another 3 hours watching the French countryside zoom past saw us arriving at Lyon Part Dieu station where we got the tram (destination Debourg) just across the road to drop us at the Suchet stop. Very convenient location as it was almost opposite our hotel, The Hotel Charlemagne.
We checked in to the hotel and paid the €2.50 per night per person for the local tax and sorted out which rooms we wanted. The hotel is very smart and appears to have had extensive modernisation.
Our room was small but very comfortable, with a large and comfortable bed. A kettle was supplied and fresh bottles of water were supplied to the room each day. The hotel had a nice bar area with a friendly barman who dished out rather large gins and tonics, not that I’m complaining!
In the evening we walked north of the hotel and through a pedestrian tunnel to go to the Brasserie George at 30 Cours de Verdun Perrache. Liz and I had the quenelle.
Today we return home. Catching the train at 11:00 am meant getting to the station by 10:30. We got ourselves some thing to eat for the journey from a small shop just up the road from the hotel. Then got the tram back to Gare Part Dieu for our TGV train.
We went from St Pancras to Liverpool Street on the return in the hope we would get a seat. It turned out that we got back to Liverpool Street just as a train was about to leave and we jumped on only to find that it was packed but then it was rush hour around 17:30 so only to be expected. It was doubly problematic as it was a Stansted express so it was full of airline passengers.
We should have waited for the next train. I had to ask a young German tourist to remove his suitcase off the seat which he was reluctant to do. I pointed out that he had probably only purchased one ticket for one seat and that he hadn’t purchased one for his suitcase.
Sunday 6th October – Resistance Museum, Amphitheatre and Traboules.
First stop today was the Museum of the Resistance. This museum turned out to be better than I thought it would be and I wished we had more time to look round but we had plenty planned for the day. An excuse maybe to return to Lyon another time. We viewed the 45 minute edited version of the trial of the man known as ‘The Butcher of Lyon’, Klaus Barbie of the SS who was responsible for the deaths and deportation of many men and women of the resistance and of Jewish people. A very thought provoking experience.
We then went via the funicular back up to the area known as Vieux Lyon to visit the Roman Amphitheatre, we had to have a quick look round the amphitheatre as we needed to get back down to the lower level streets to get some lunch and then be ready to get the tour we had booked for the Traboule (Tunnels) in the old town.
The 2 hour tour was very interesting but, as predicted, we had some rain which came on quite strong toward the end of the tour. The lady provided us all with little electronic receivers and headphones which meant we could still hear her even though she got some way ahead of the group.
The day was finished off with a meal in a restaurant called Comptoir Les Gones.
Saturday 5th October – Beaux Arts, Halles Paul Bocusse and Confluence.
First stop today was the Place des Terreaux and the Beaux Arts Museum.
We followed up the art museum with the Halles Paul Bocusse which proved quite difficult to find and not helped with Google maps taking us round in circles. The food market was very busy and we split up to find somewhere to eat.
Liz and I left Catherine and Diana sampling oysters and we eventually got to the end of the hall and found a fish restaurant where Paul and Lin had just found a seat. We took the seats beside them and had crevettes which were delicious.
We then went back to the tram and travelled south down to the Confluence museum. The museum is a great architectural marvel and even though I went in I only travelled around the inside studying the building and went up on the roof for some photography.
Liz went round the exhibitions but then I went outside down to nearly where the rivers meet and sat on the wall. I set up my mini tripod and took quite a number of photos of the building and even caught a wedding taking place.
After leaving the museum we went back to the hotel. The hotel restaurant was closed again tonight but the staff gave us a recommendation for a local Scicilian restaurant which turned out to be very good.