Quite a lovely afternoon! After my morning classes which ended at 12:30, we drove an hour to this lovely town and spent time by a large lake after struggling to find lunch past 2:00 PM (they only reopen after lunch for dinner around 7:00 PM!) We went on a short little walk by a lovely lake, Lac du Bourget. As the day went on the sun got hotter! Camille, Michele, and I slept on the way home. Great day with the family :)
Today when Emma and I arrived at Chamrousse, not only did we accidently not pay for the bus because the bus driver shuffled us off the bus too quickly before leaving, but we also went ziplining for free because we happened to be there during the one promotional day of the year. Right on!
Annecy can be best described as the setting of fairytale storybooks I wrote as a kid. Just dream of a bustling picturesque city, swans on the lake included, and you’ll get something along the lines of Annecy.
Our bus left Grenoble at around 9:45 AM and we arrived close to 11 AM. I could have spent the entire day walking around the old part of town admiring the little boutiques. We people watched while listening to dozens of languages. Very much a tourist destination.
We ate crepes and continued to the lake. We learned it's possible to walk all the way around the lake, which I would have loved to do if we were staying there longer. While the three other girls went on a little boat ride, Anna and I visited a church up on the hill and then went to an old castle which had a museum exhibit about Chinese visual art. Why not!
We had a fun time finding eating dinner and eventually wound our way back to the bus station to catch a ride home on a spanish coach bus. It was fun to hear spanish when I wasn't expecting it and communicate with the bus driver that way.
What did we do before class today? We went to a castle. And to think I almost slept in!
The 35 minute bus ride from the train station left us a 10 minute walk from the entrance of the castle. The stroll through town was lovely, and we had plenty of time to enjoy a coffee outside before the gates to the castle opened at 9:30. I had no idea what to expect, but I know that I was not expecting to fall in love with this place as easily as I did.
After school today (which ended at 12:30), we went to visit les Cuves de Sassenage, or the Sassenage caves. They were created hundreds of thousands of years ago by water currents. Super neat! Despite the intense heat outside, it was quite cold inside the cave. The walk to get there was just as cool as the caves themselves.
I snapped these ones from the second bridge that crossed the path perpendicularly after about a half hour of running before heading back. The most lovely part of the evening was reaching the residence, sitting in the grass below a tree stretching, and enjoying the sunshine on my (disgustingly sweaty, but still charming) face.
The Bastille is an old fort in Grenoble surrounded by kilometers upon kilometers of hiking trails in all directions. We left our residence at 7:00 PM, arrived at the base at 7:30 thanks to the killer tram system, and enjoyed the most magnificent views the whole climb up for an hour and a half. The path we took was from the left hand side of the hill, and the climb consisted of LOTS of stairs but they were part of an old fort, so the historical significance of the place made our legs hurt a little less. You can easily reach the many openings by going through centre ville until you get to the canal/river, "l'Isere." The green space in this city is impressive, and it was neat to feel like we were sorta-kinda in the forest while still admiring the vast expanse of Grenoble in the valley below us.
Just so you know, it is possible to take a gondola up to the fort, but I'd suggest doing the hike because you can see so much more this way. Actually, a nice little lady told me the hike was worth it when I was on the train ride the first day I got to France. She was right. (Thanks Debra.) I'd love to explore the many more trails that expand from this one into the mountains. Here is the website for more info: http://www.bastille-grenoble.fr/english/sentier_uk.htm
I was going to stay in and do homework all day, but when somebody asks you if you want to go for a stroll downtown, you can't necessarily justify staying in and doing homework. We went to drink an overpriced espresso, walked by the water to catch some views, and trudged along to the first viewpoint of the Bastille hike (photo above). I'll definitely be going back this week to get the full view from above. We got back at about 4 and I was still able to do all my homework.
Let me just start by saying it would be possible to spend MUCH more time in Lyon. BUT if you only have one day, it is absolutely still worth going, as we learned on Saturday. Here are some suggestions on what to do if you're crunched for time in Lyon and don't know what's worth seeing (based on our experience).
After visiting some cute little shops and listening to the hustle and bustle of 10:00 AM, we made our way up through the Jardins du Rosarie to get to Fourvière hill, which had amazing views of the city. The hike up was fun even though we were definitely sweating when we got to the top.
You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the largest cathedral in Lyon, the Fourvière basilica. The architecture was impressive, the mosaics mind-boggling, and the colors everywhere made it hard to decide where to look next. We must have been there for at least a half hour because the place is HUGE.
From the left hand side of the cathedral, we started making our way down the hill on the cobblestone streets. We soon reached the Roman Amphitheatres, located on rue de l’Antiquaille. They are over two thousand years old! In the first century BC, Lyon was called Lugdunum and was capital of Gauls under the Roman empire.
We walked back through the Rue des Antonins and eventually came out at the Rhone canals, which we had walked over earlier. We sat down for a while, listening to two musicians from Argentina who had been traveling together for 7 YEARS (!) as we bought the return bus tickets back for 8:30 PM. From there, our initial plan was to head to Tete d’Or Park to enjoy some green... but we got distracted along the way.
La Fresque des Lyonnais
Not only did we enjoy some beautiful views of the Saone Canal, but we also bought refreshing drinks to cool off as we sat under a bridge enjoying the scenery. What a catch!
After about an hour of reading on the Fleuve (what is my life) we made our way to Rue Neuve to get some dinner. We saw neat stuff along the way, including a bookstore. We had a rude waiter, but it didn’t matter because we were enjoying ourselves too much to notice. We headed back to the bus station and were on our way back to Grenoble about a half hour after expected.
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