Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bienvenue à Grenoble!

Bienvenue à Grenoble, la ville des Jeux olympiques de 1968 et les montagnes sans fin! Mais d'abord, je vais montrer ce que j'ai vu en arrivant à Genève, mon premier arrêt.

I arrived in Geneva at about 7:30AM last Thursday. The day was sunny and a little bit cool, and I was still under a great impression from the mountaintops I saw from the airplane...

The alps of Geneva as I was landing.

Some of the mountaintops near Lyon (?). 
In Geneva, I took a 6 minute train from the airport to the train station (the train ticket is free for an hour or so!) and hung around there for a while. Bought somewhat overpriced tickets to Grenoble (it is cheaper to buy them on the French SNCF site, since they don't charge you a "foreign fee"). At this point I was nearing 24 hours without sleep, so not feeling too upbeat, attempts to sleep on the 2 hours train ride were not met with success.

Oh well. At least I got to my dorm pretty quickly, managed to get my monthly transport card (these rock! literally free bus/tram for a month for 27 euros!) as well as phone card on the same day, before collapsing and falling asleep around 5PM. Ugh, jetlag... 

Here is a bit of my dorm. It is a bit of a step-up from last year in Paris, where there was literally nothing there except a bed, desk, chair, and bookshelf. This time, I get a fully equipped kitchen, 4 sets 
of dining utensils, knives, pans, pots, plates, etc... everything a true LMF-er at heart needs for survival. 

My room and workspace, view 1.

Kitchenette, view part deux.
Oh, and did I mention that is an unfolding King size bed? This is definitely a step-up from Paris. Anyway, here's an example of what can be made here:
Le Yum!
Well, that's that. I will also tell you about my surroundings soon. Let's just say that they are almost as sketchy as the ones I had in Paris after dark. :3

Saturday, 9:07 AM. I wake up to the banging on my door. It's the other GIANT program interns! Darn it! Turns out I grossly overslept my alarm. I was supposed to meet everyone at the first floor at 9:00 AM to go do numerous teamwork activities at the Bastille, a rocklimbing and ziplining mountain (the pinnacle of tourism in Grenoble) which was originally a fort. 

Thanks jetlag! I poked my head out of my door to tell to the others that they could go without me, and started getting dressed and shoving French yogurt in my mouth as fast as I could. I needed to get to the Bastille - the téléphérique (cable car) station on the other side of town - at 9:45 AM. We were going to take the cable car up to the mountain.

Realizing that I just missed the bus and they only come every half hour on the weekends, I decided to speedwalk my way to this Bastille, through a town I barely knew.

And guess what? Keeping my eye on the mountain itself, I soon found my way to the station. A miracle, considering all of the misdirected feats I have had so far. This is what awaited me there. 

Inside the téléphérique

One of the breathtaking views from the Bastille

Inside one of the grottos

This city... ;) 

Hi there!
It was really fun, but extremely hot, and the ziplining was actually a great relief since it followed climbing a mountain and waiting on it for about half an hour before your turn on the *largest* zipline. And it was pretty darn large. I felt bad for all the little kids getting stuck in the middle of the zipline, since they had so little momentum. And kids of any age can go on these things. French people are like that, kids (nearly toddlers) do things you would not see them doing in the US, like riding a zipline over a 100 meter terrain. The entire experience was called AcroBastille, and it definitely makes you feel like an acrobat!

Sunday 1PM. The next day, I headed to a museum but ended up going to an open air antique/flea market which only happens four times per year in Grenoble. It literally covered two streets and more, with things ranging from authentic porcelain to film cameras (which apparently even the sellers don't know how to use) to music records to 1950's French kids toys. It was pretty cool, and I got a few antiques of my own. 
One of my very cute market acquisitions.

Oh, and well, we finally made it to the Musée Dauphinoise at the end, which I expected to be about the prince (dauphin) who resided in Grenoble, but turned out to be about feminism, history of bras, people of the alps, and skiing. Very unintuitive. 

Anyway, that is PART 1 of my welcome to Grenoble Series! Part two - the life of a Grenoblois intern - is coming up soon! Get ready! 

Have a wonderful summer, my dear French House, and congrats again to you lucky graduates. A bientôt! 



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