Fun fact: a bastille is simply a fortress, usually on the outskirts of a city, used for protective military purposes. There are bastilles all over France, but you've probably only heard of the one in Paris that was stormed at the beginning of the Revolution. Well. This post is not about that one. Its about the one in Grenoble, sitting atop the mountain just above the CEA office.
|My view from my bedroom window. That little tiny white dot is the Bastille!|
|Our director, Patrick, and Holly getting in les boules!|
The Bastille itself was really neat. It was originally built in the 1590s to fortify the city on the north side, and now it is a main tourist spot in Grenoble, with a restaurant and of course the cable cars (it is also possible to hike up the mountain for free). There were also these strange graffitis of people all over the place. Patrick told us that they are some sort of "official" taggings, but he didn't know what they meant. They definitely looked cool though. Oh, and that morning at school we made a new friend, Adrian! He's Venezuelan, but went to high school in the UK and goes to university in Canada, so he speaks English crazy well. But he decided he needed to work on his French, so he cam here for the summer! He didn't know anyone so we adopted him for the day (and summer). And I basically want his life. But I digress.
|Riding up the mountain!|
Natalie, me, Adrian
We took lots of pictures, and then decided to hike up the next mountain to get an even better view of the city. Because hey, that sounds like fun, right? Hiking! Mountains! Views! Let me preface that we had no idea we would be hiking that day; Patrick only originally told us we were taking the boules up to the Bastille...so needless to say, while we all looked really cute, we were NOT dressed to go hiking. So while it sounded like a good idea, in reality, it was not our best one yet. We all had horrible shoes on, too many layers, and not nearly enough water.
|Grenoble, as seen from the Bastille|
But after we finally got up to the top it was gorgeous, and well worth the discomfort (though in the future I definitely don't want to go hiking in converse sneakers and jeans). The highest point on the mountain that we hiked to had a peace monument which was really cool. There were stone plaques with the words "peace" and "friendship" in several different languages, which was really nice. That part of the mountain commemorates fallen soldiers, in many different wars and centuries even, though it never saw battle itself. However, Patrick did tell us that during the German occupation of France during WWII, German soldiers shot several groups of innocent people from Grenoble up in those mountains, just because they could. It was very sobering to realize how much of an impact that occupation had on this city that I love.
|All the Aggies!|
Catharine, Anna, me, Nate, Ellie, Natalie
|St. Bruno! My building is two behind it, my apartment's balcony is |
to the left with the plants on the edge!
Despite being terribly unprepared, it was a wonderful day. We hiked back down (because its free), which took a surprisingly long time (although I guess that happens when you're several thousand feet in the air), and definitely plan to hike more mountains before we leave. There's just so much to do, y'all. Its overwhelming, especially when I realize I can't actually do everything there is to do in Grenoble (let alone the world). But the plan is to do as much as possible, and then start again. :)
We're going to Vienne, France tomorrow to see a Roman amphitheater, so I'd better get to bed! More updates soon, and hopefully eventually less long-winded.