Monday, July 2, 2012

Grenoble

Tuesday in Grenoble Grenoble is a lovely place. Our host family has made us feel like part of their family. We have spent many hours sitting around the dining table talking, eating and getting to know one another.  Yesterday we walked to the center or Grenoble in the light rain. We met Lucrez in front of galleries Lafayette and she toured us around the ancient Grenoble. Grenoble is surrounded by mountains and the ancient buildings are beautiful. Quite a few buildings are painted different colors. Many were built by Italians who came here to settle long ago. We walked along the quay of the isere river. Had I not been such a scary cat we could have taken a ride up to the Bastille situated high on a hill.  The way to ride there is inside large plastic balls attached to cables, like a ski lift. Not for this girl, but I imagine the view to be spectacular. Maybe we will climb the hill by foot today. After sharing a coffee ( a noisette) with us Lucrez left us to the rest of our rainy day. We gave in to the soldes and to monoprix shopping. I bought many French beauty products that I hope to be able to cram into my bulging suitcase.  I left the house yesterday morning unprepared for the cool weather so to warm  myself I purchased two sweaters in the children's department at monoprix. Lunch was at the brasserie des fleurs. I ate a lovely fish  prepared with butter ( bien sur) and red peppers; rice and salad. Jeanne had a large salad with warm goat cheese and a glass of wine. Our young French brothers and sisters met us and took us to visit a gorgeous castle, once lived in by Napoleon  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch√Ęteau_de_Vizille  The gardens were manicured, one bed in the style of a knot garden, best viewed from a third story window.  The garden contained  trees manicured into triangles reminiscent of Versailles. We attempted the walk to an animal park at the end of a very long  path surrounded by green fields and lined with tall trees, but our feet got the better of us and we returned to the car exhausted.  One funny thing happened to Jeanne. She can laugh about it now, but at the time it was frightening. French public toilets self sanitize after being used. Jeanne entered the toilet after I had used it, without having let the door close. The toilet assumed itself to be empty and began the sanitization cycle. The lights went out and water mixed with sanitizer began to flood the unit. Jeanne was inside! I figured out what was happening when a red light went on by the door, but before Jeanne started screaming and trying to open the, now self-locked door.  We were helpless to get Jeanne out. I pulled on the door in vain. Eventually a soggy shoe-d Jeanne emerged. But this is not the end. When Jeanne stepped out she allowed the door to close again before she re- entered the toilet.  I think you know what happened next. The toilet again started the self cleaning cycle. Poor Jeanne was again trapped inside, while we guiltily could not stop ourselves from laughing hysterically at her plight. The now traumatized Jeanne refused to go back and complete her business until two hours later. Poor Jeanne.   Today we will visit a local lake.  The most wonderful thing abut staying with a French family is that three times a day the dining table gets layer out with lots and lots of wonderful, excellent food. For lunch today we had charentais melon, pineapple, bread, buratta cheese, a grenobloise salad of green beans, tuna, tomatoes in a homemade dressing, sprouted soy beans, the most flavorful salami, strawberries with lemon and tea or espresso for dessert. I want to be French!!! Tomorrow we will take a train at 4 am for Lille. The weather report ( meteo) predicts rain for the rest of our vacation. 

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