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Published: June 23rd 2009
The two of us don't really need much of an excuse for a weekend away, so when Matt and Janelle, our friends from Australia moved to Grenoble in the French Alps how could we resist? We took a day off work, and one of those horrible early morning flights and off we went for a long weekend. We flew into Lyon and took the bus to Grenoble where we were joined by JB another friend from uni who had travelled down by train from Switzerland. We marvelled at the fact that the five of us (four of us had gone to the same college) were now having a reunion in the French Alps and were all living in Europe. But then, it seems to be an Australian trait and it probably won't be the last time that we meet up with people from home in unexpected locations.
Matt, Janelle and JB were waiting for us when we arrived at the bus stop and we walked to their flat, which is situated very centrally in the city. We dumped our bags and decided on a lunch of sandwiches so Janelle and Lara headed off to the supermarket to pick up
supplies. It turns out that Lara is unable to carry French bread and had managed to completely mangle the bread, breaking it in pieces much to the amusement of the lady selling us cakes!
It was hot in Grenoble, much hotter than the 'fantastic' weather we had been having in London. It was definitely in the early thirties and quickly obvious that the warm clothes we had brought with us were of no use. We also noticed very quickly that the stereo-type of the French being rude is nothing more than a stereo-type. People chattered away to Janelle and I as we walked around and she said that it happens regularly to her on the streets of Grenoble.
Our first excursion of the weekend was a walk around the old part of the city, through the central parks, past beautiful old buildings and up on the teleferique
to the bastille
which overlooks the city. There was a brightly dressed band playing and singing when we made it to the top which we stopped and watched for awhile before we continued having a look around. We even found a 'geocache' which is basically an object hidden
somewhere and the GPS coordinates are shared on the internet. Once you find it you can write in the log-book and leave an object yourself. There is a whole world of avid geocachers out there!
From the bastille
we continued our walk through the town, stopping for ice creams. We returned to the house with the aim of going out for dinner but we never quite made it. We spent the evening nibbling and drinking European beers and French wine in preparation for our hike the next day.
The following morning we had pain au chocolat and croissants to fuel our planned walk. And we headed back towards the river where a boat race was taking place. There were people on wooden rafts heading down the river dressed in costumes. We had no idea what they were celebrating but it was entertaining none-the-less! There was also a large antique/junk market along the banks of the river with people strolling around looking at the wares.
We said our goodbyes to JB who had to get back to Switzerland for work and started the climb up to the bastille
where we had caught the teleferique
We had lunch and coke (for those of us suffering from slight headaches due to our festivities the previous night) before continuing our walk up...and up...and down a little....and then a lot further up.
By the time we had reached the fort at the very top we had been walking for almost 20kms and much of that was up. We rose 1700m in altitude and there was a lof of puffing and panting towards the end. We stopped for drinks and snacks at the top before heading back down again. When we reached the road at the bottom of the climb we had missed the last bus of the evening and realised that this meant we needed to walk back into town.
With energy levels dwindling and knees getting sore we followed the road back towards Grenoble until we found another hiking path. We just kept on walking and when we thought we could take it no more a taxi drove past! The poor taxi driver probably had to get his taxi cleaned after the 4 of us had been in it but he got us home and we had a late dinner of lentils, chorizo,
egg and rice which started at about 10.30pm. We all had much needed showers and went to bed. We'd been out walking for almost 10 hours so getting to sleep wasn't much of a problem!
We struggled to get out of bed the next day and while Matt went to work we staggered around Grenoble with Janelle, taking photos of fountains and doors. We had a lovely lunch in the centre, said our goodbyes and started out on the journey back to Stansted.
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