The river Isère gives a region around the Rhône-Alpes its name. Left to my own devices for a long time, I wandered around, exploring Grenoble and the region around it.
Grenoble’s Bastille was deliciously confusing. I had wonderful, detailed ideas about the history of the Bastille and the storming of the Bastille and all of that, accompanied by utter cluelessness of the geography of France and where these stirring events really occurred. When I got to Grenoble, everyone was talking about ‘climbing the Bastille’ and ‘going to the Bastille’. There was even a ropeway up to the Bastille for those who could not go up on foot.
Later discovered that the ropeway is almost more famous than the Bastille itself. Grenoble’s Bastille is an old fortress with a spectacular view, but without the history I had superimposed on it.
To phrase it like that it to put it down, though. The climb up to the fortress is lovely, and, on a clear day, the view of the snowy Alps is breathtaking. I don’t much like trekking, but even for me, the walk up is truly rewarding if you aren’t competing with yourself to prove that you can get up there, thereby neglecting the view on the way. On misty days, there is a sense of mystery all the way up, a sense of venturing into the unknown. And on clear days, you feel the grandeur of the universe.
I visited the Chartreuse cellars too, and tasted all kinds of things prepared there. Not being a fan of alcohol, I honestly enjoyed nothing except the experience. ‘L’eau de Noix’ (noix=walnut) was too bitter for me. The “sweet” yellow Chartreuse did not fit into my vocabulary of sweet. The only one that came close to something I could enjoy was a raspberry one, but even with that one, I had to bring my tongue and head round to liking it.
I visited the museum in Grenoble, rejoicing once again in the fact that I was young. Not yet 26? Entry to the museum is free! Not just the entry, but an audio guide too, available in English and French.
Perhaps the best part about having a little more money was the food. We did not have to restrict ourselves to sandwiches and supermarket products.
Pain au chocolat.
Baguettes and Nutella.
Raspberry and chocolate ice-cream.
A complete “menu” – with an entrée, a plat and a dessert.
Cheeses and coffee.
What more did we need?