Sunday, January 4, 2009


I finally made it to Grenoble! The trip was long, but turned out very well. We went out to explore the city last night for the first time and it’s perfect! It still has the small town atmosphere but it’s big always to have something to do. The mountains in the distance are just starting to show snow and the ski season should be starting up soon. Our hostel is interesting, to say the least. We are on the fourth floor, surrounded by two families. Our hostel in Grenoble is much bigger than our hostel in Paris, so the extra space is very nice.
The trip started in the Charles de Gaulle airport when I ran into my friend from school, Bridget. We got tickets to the city, which was 17 miles away, and took the main line to the part of Paris where we thought we would find our hostel. After standing on the side of the street staring at a map, a very nice French man stopped and offered directions. It turned out that we were very far from

(Above: Train Station in Grenoble)

where we needed to be, so we had to go back to the metro. The metro would have been fine, except it was packed, we each had two large bags, and it seemed as though there were thousands of steps. After about 2.5 hours of searching, we finally made it to our hostel and checked in. I checked my computer when I got back to the hotel and my other friend, Tricia, had not been in contact about where she was or what her plans were. We had talked the previous day about meeting at the large train station in the city if we couldn’t contact one another. So, Bridget and I set out for the 45 minute walk to the train station and searched it thoroughly. After having Tricia paged, we decided we should just go back to the hostel and wait for her to contact us. Luckily, when we opened our door, Tricia was sitting there waiting for us. As all of us were starting to feel the effects of the long trip and time change, we decided to go out for dinner and then to go to sleep early. Our restaurant was a small corner cafĂ© that served sandwiches and eggs (weird combination I thought.) I ended up with a chicken salad sandwich with lots of eggs on it and a small salad.

Yesterday morning we woke up early and were out on the streets of Paris by about 8 a.m. To our surprise, none of the shops were open and there were very few people on the streets. We walked down to Notre Dame Cathedral and toured it in about a 30 minute period. As time was limited, we headed back to our hostel, seeing the Pantheon on the way. We quickly packed up our luggage and in the mood for saving time and effort, got a taxi to the Gare de Lyon train station. When we got to the station, we had absolutely no idea what to do. After reading a few signs and talking to some people who looked like they knew what they were doing, we found out that the platform for the train wouldn’t be announced until about 20 minutes before the scheduled departure. We all made it to the train on time and enjoyed a very smooth, relaxing trip through the French countryside. About three hours later we arrived at the Gare de Grenoble train station. Seeing the huge mountain as the backdrop to the city made me realize that I was actually here doing my semester abroad.
After checking in to our hostel, we went out to explore the city. Many of the restaurants were closed by 8:30 p.m., so we ended up at McDonald’s. The burgers were not like those at American McDonald’s at all. They actually seemed to be made of real meat and they tasted very good. After our fast food stop, we walked around the city, stopping to window shop at all of the stores. Today, we plan to go out again and we are hoping that some of the stores are open.

(Left: View of Mountains from My Hostel)
(Below: View from Bridge in Town)

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