Killer Ski Boots
14.04.2008 - 16.04.2008 58 °F
We left the Cote d'Azur minus three people from our original group. Yet, we still remained a small village roaming the streets of France.
As our time in Nice came to an end, the next morning, we jumped on a bus that lead us away from the beaches and sea, and towards the Alps and the home of the 68' Winter Olympics, Grenoble.
Even before our arrival, we made a slight detour to the town of Hauterives and the "Palais du Facteur Cheval." As the story goes, this French postman, Ferdinand Cheval, was walking along the streets of Hauterives one day when he noticed a few smooth pebbles along the road. He decided to pick them up and they gave him a great idea. From that day foward for 34 years, as he would collect pebbles, he would then place and plaster these pebbles in unique designs in what would become his 'ideal palace.' His ideal palace, I must admit, was pretty darn odd, but admirable in his desire to construct his own little palace. At least he didn't have to pay much for materials. We were allotted an hour to roam the palace, but a solid 19 minutes would have been more appropriate.
For our first night in Grenoble, our plan for dinner was to enjoy a typical dish of Grenoble, white wine fondue. From our hotel, the amoeba we called our group began a trek of a dozen blocks through town past store fronts with the gaze of other French teenagers and adults upon us and trains passing us by. As all 41 of us snaked around Grenoble, we finally arrived to the restaurant.
Grenoble as a little wind and rain roll in
Now we should clarify that the actual act of going from Point A to Point B while passing Points C, D, E, F, G, and H that undoubtedly distracts teenagers in a new country who are there for the first time always requires that a certain protocol be followed. As we headed anywhere, our guide and one French teacher would lead the group. A few chaperones would sit in the middle keeping students on task of walking as they talked with their friends. I myself was always the last person in line yelling, "Barbara! Stop! You might want to look to your right as there is a train coming directly at you." "Yes, some people do actually use public transport." So when a student would be staring at the sky, a building, a really unique looking French pigeon, or basically being oblivious to their surroundings, I would gently, but firmly grab their left ear and pull them back to the correct route.
That night of white wine fondue provided a delicious pot of cheese rich with white wine which might have been the reason that the volume in the restaurant steadily reached a crescendo. We followed our night of cheese with a trip up the "Télépherique au Fort de la Bastille" to walk off all of our curds with stunning views of Grenoble sitting below us. La Bastille was the sight of a fortress built in the 19th century to protect the city as well as a commemoration to the 1968 Winter Olympics. The most astounding aspect of the entire area wasn't the impressive caves built into the mountain or the fact that not a single New Mexican participated in the Games, but the stylish ski outfits that everyone wore to the Games themselves.
Final Stop of Spring Break 2008: Paris