Friday, March 18, 2011

March 18, 2011: Grenoble - Musée Dauphinois, Baguette Sandwich, Train Tickets

Today I went to the Musée Dauphinois, which was excellent, and free! It had an extensive permanent exhibition on the life of the people of the alps, which was very informative, particularly because it had signage in English. One of the most interesting things I learned was that in some alpine villages where firewood was rare they baked bread just once a year in one big communal bread-making oven. Each family had a differently carved bread marker, so that they could "brand" their loaves.

There was also a temporary exhibition about Vaucanson and mechanical figures. Jacques Vaucanson, a Grenoblois from the 1700s, invented the first robots and also created the first fully automated loom. Some of the mechanical figures shown were related to developments in prosthetics and artificial limbs - they were some great anatomical models on exhibit.

For lunch I had packed a sandwich of half a baguette with tomato, morbier cheese, nettle tip mustard, arugula and prosciutto (Mark got the matching half for his lunch). Delicious! I ate it outside on the terrace at the museum - although today was mostly sunny it was very windy, and too chilly to lounge outside for long.

At the end of the afternoon I walked over to the train station and tackled buying tickets to Annecy - we're going there for a day trip on Sunday to see the Venetian festival (Annecy is criss-crossed by many mountain-river-fed canals, and is thus called the Venice of the Alps). It went quite well - once again I was able to conduct my transaction entirely in French, including asking whether we would have to validate our tickets before boarding (yes) and whether seating is assigned (no).

Ascending the stairs to the Musée Dauphinois (looks like there's been some red grafitti down the centre that's actually been removed?)

Two women I pass en route, wearing matching red hats

The courtyard of the museum, with tulips in bloom!

Roman relics! 2nd century AD epitaph for Sextus Attius Atticus, the municipal magistrate of Grenoble

Body-shaped flasks for smuggling alcohol over the Alps!

How adorable are these? Pinecone toys (see how they're two animals yoked together?)

Differently carved bread markers for each family in the village

Spiked collars to protect dogs against wolves and bears in the mountains

A different bell for each type of animal

Looking down on the roofs, with spring trees starting to bloom

Forsythia in the foreground, Belledonne mountains in the background - my view while eating lunch

Lunch! Delicious half baguette sandwich

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