Thursday, March 10, 2011

March 10, 2011: Grenoble - Préfecture, Market, Bastille

This morning we went to the Préfecture's office to "register" Mark, as he'd been instructed to do by the French Embassy in Toronto after attaining his visa. I thought registering would be a simpler matter, but it turns out it involves even more paperwork and documents than it took to get the visa, including documents that weren't needed for the visa and that are back home in Toronto - like his PhD diploma. And after we get it sent here we'll still need to have it translated into French by a person who is legally allowed to do so by the French court.

Even the office itself was a bit of a nightmare - crowds of people, no clear idea of what line to stand in, and it turns out that we were supposed to be watching out for our number to appear on a screen to tell us what Immigration counter to go to when we were standing outside the Immigration room trying to figure out how we knew who went next. At least the woman at the counter when we finally got there was friendly, although we had to scrape by on my limited French. I think she was impressed that we brought multiple photocopies of all our documents!

On the way home I stopped and bought things at the market. I got some 'abondance' cheese, which is local to the nearby savoy region. Let's hope it's nice - almost 5 euros for approx 300 g (I'm already getting used to France prices - I wouldn't have been surprised to pay $15 or more for this amount of good quality cheese in Canada). I also bought several "Canada" variety apples, which we've been seeing around. It has a greenish-yellow skin with rough gray-brown patches - it is by far the ugliest apple at the market. But it is apparently good for cooking. It doesn't actually have a connection to Canada from what 'veI read - it was reported in France for the first time in 1805 in the garden of the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris. It is also known as 'Monstrous of Canada', 'Canada gris' and 'Grey Canada'.

While I was at the vegetable stand (getting green beans, carrots, and my favourite variety of squash - Hubbard) a woman knocked over a bin of turnips, and the owner laughed and joked that at least it wasn't eggs - then there would have been a problem. And I understood the joke!
In the afternoon I walked over to the Bastille area, turned a different corner, and found a bunch of climbers ascending a sheer rock face. It was nice and sunny and there were places to sit, so I took out my sketchbook and drew the landscape while listening to the climbers at work. I've since found out that this area of climbing is a 'via ferrata', which is an easier kind of climbing route - there are metal rungs in the walls for climbing like a ladder, and suspension bridges and wires with handholds. The intention is for people to start at the base and all go up the same way on a route to the Bastille - to come down they have to return by the regular hiking paths.

I took a new route up to the Bastille, through the Dauphin's garden, which had many narrow branching paths. There were many schoolchildren up there (this is a school vacation week, so I think these were camp-type outings), and some were on a scavenger hunt - they ran up to ask me if I'd seen the man whose photocopied picture they held. I answered "non" to all of them.

Up near the top of the path there was a worker suspended over the side of one of the sheer fortress walls, re-pointing the mortar. That would not be the job for me!

The Canada apple - looking more attractive in this photo than in real life 

See the two small climbing figures on the left?

A rather Mediterranean-feeling view over the city

A tower en route to the Bastille

This "Chicot du Canada" is a Kentucky Coffee Tree

A worker re-pointing mortar - at the base of the wall the mountain continues down as a steep cliffside

The clearest view yet I've had of these distant mountains 

 There seems to be a strange indifference to graffitti - it covers this first landing on the steps to the Bastille

The lion fountain at the base of the steps to the Bastille - lions are familiar sculptural subject matter, but when have you seen such a great sculpture of a snake?

1 comment:

  1. beautiful pictures, Julie! I am jealous of the great mountain view - and the climbers :) and the waether - you left Toronto in time - the snow is gone, it rained a lot, but is still cold and so grey/brown.
    Grenoble sounds and looks very lovely. And you seem to eat very well...jummy comtee cheese, I remember that was one of Mike's favourites from the Groningen market (imported from France, of course).
    btw I think your fridge has a normal size....