Claire – My first ‘rendez-vous’ with the Alps

Last weekend I had my first chance to really see the mountains around Grenoble. I have been doing some wonderful hikes around Grenoble, which are accessed by public transit, but I decided to also join a club so I could go a bit further afield, I found a small hiking and skiing club that has been around since WWI, and they still have an archaic method in place where after a new member tags along for a few adventures, the president and board have a closed meeting where they either vote you in or give you the boot. Apparently it is almost always an affirmative, so thankfully I didn’t feel like I was on a hiking edition of Survivor. Last Sunday, we headed south of Grenoble and climbed up to the top of one of the ‘Two Sisters’. (Apparently we climbed Sophie – she looked a lot gentler than her sister!) It was a lovely day of sun, high above the clouds, and we even saw some of the local wildlife – the big mountain goat-like animals they call Bouqetain. I was very impressed by the lunch that people brought, which was every kind of cheese and sausage I could imagine, with fresh bread, wine, and even a ‘digestif’ of some kind of liquor made from 145 plants. It did taste quite earthy, and made hiking down quite fun.
Looking at the BouqetainAbove the cloudsThe summit!Sophie’s scarier looking sisterHappy to be at the top!Beginning the descent

In other news, I have been really loving working at the school, and this week I did a really fun activity called ‘story in a bag’, where I collected lots of odds and ends and costume pieces from my house here, and put about 4-5 objects in each bag, and then each group of 3-4 students made up and performed a skit using all the objects. It was pretty hilarious, especially the group that received a toilet paper roll with no toilet paper left…. (I am sharing my blog with the students and asked their permission to be on it). I think next week I am going to do a lesson on the song, ‘If I Had a Million Dollars’ by the Barenaked Ladies, because not only does it do a good job of demonstrating the second conditional (okay I am an grammar nerd) and also starting up a lively conversation of what the students would do with that much money.
Grade 10 class after skit

It has also been a noisy week at school, as they demolished the old school and are starting to build the students a new one. As you can see, the building they are using in the meantime is not very inspiring. It doesn’t help that the heating seems to be broken (we are told it will be fixed within the month) and the temperature has been just above freezing in the mornings here.
Old school….
The school they are using in the meantime

Finally, I wanted to post a funny picture showing the dog parks here. Dogs are allowed in most public spaces here, but in very congested neighbourhoods there is not much green space, so they have made little fenced off dirt-pits for the dogs to do their business. Instead of a simple sign that says something like ‘dog area’, they decided to show a very excited dog saying, roughly, ‘Here, I can do whatever I want!’. (I am not sure what else a dog might want to do in the 3 foot square patch of dirt besides pee….)
Dog park signLovely dog park…
That is all for now, I am really looking forward to visiting Seth in Winterthur this weekend and doing some hiking in the mountains there.

3 Responses to “Claire – My first ‘rendez-vous’ with the Alps”

  1. Jessica says:

    Hey Claire,

    Looking forward to hearing more about your trip and getting visas. After Matty and I visited Geneva we are more than convinced that we would like to live there. Matty and I also had a similar experience where he wanted a pot of fondue…to himself. We ended up sharing. Anyways, everything sounds marvelous! Keep up the posts.


  2. Liane says:

    wow claire – that hike looks amazing!!
    way to find your way to like minded people so quickly :)

    I went on a much less intense, but pretty cool outdoor adventure this weekend – went camping in the highlands with some people from my program. it rained quite a bit, but everyone had a positive attitude, and the purple heather covered hills and red, yellow, and orange trees, with the occasional, distinctive highland cow (they’re big and super shaggy, with crazy horns) made it a worthwhile trip. I can’t wait to visit you, and you have (and Seth) come here!
    Liane xoxo

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