Hi all,

Just a mini update this week to cover the last month or so – there’s a bumper update round the corner so I thought it best to get this backlog out of the way!

Highlights since I last wrote:

Grenoble

About three weeks ago my friend Rose and I went on a day trip to Grenoble, a city at the foot of the alps about 1.5 hours from Lyon by train. We were going just for the sake of going somewhere, didn’t really have anything planned, and at approximately 11pm the night before it turned into a full-on tramping trip. Rose found a recommended route online; luckily the weather was perfect and we spent the whole day meandering round the mountains (though the term ‘mountain’ should be used loosely). Said route took in three main stops:

La Bastille – Grenoble’s main tourist attraction, a 19th century hilltop fortification accessed by an (out of order) gondola, height 476m. The ascent here was steep and involved lots of steps as we explored the fortress, as well as the man-made caves dug out of the mountain nearby.

Mont Jalla – overlooking the Bastille, height 635 metres – we stopped here for lunch (at about 3pm…). Somehow we missed all signage and ended up walking in circles for a bit before we ended up at an interesting collection of war memorials to the montagnards (people from the mountains).

Mont Rachais – 1050m, and finally some decent walking! This was partly due to the fact that we would soon be running out of daylight so I played bad cop and marched us to the top and back. Most excitingly, there was SNOW!!! Which was exciting for obvious reasons, and also made a nice challenge to walk through (as did the inevitable mud – I felt like my trusty Salomon boots finally got the proper christening they deserved). There was no great viewpoint at the top, though we expected this from the article we read. After a few failed selfie attempts we powerwalked back down and watched the sun set from the Bastille. We also saw the full moon rise over the mountains which was pretty incredible; sadly photos didn’t do it justice. After a hearty dinner at a cute little restaurant it was back on the train to Lyon feeling very satisfied after our big day out!

Strasbourg

Last weekend I finally made it to Strasbourg to visit my friend Claire, whose family has adopted me down here in Lyon. It was a great weekend; I met heaps of her friends who were all lovely, and luckily we made the most of the fine weather on Saturday to go exploring as Sunday was pretty dismal. Strasbourg is renowned for its colombages (Tudor-style houses, for the Anglophones), European institutions, choucroute, and Flammekueche, which were duly sampled (though I may have opted for a cabbage-free equivalent of the former). I also finally met up with Val, a friend of my friend Michelle, who had put us in touch a few months ago as Val was previously a language assistant as well. All in all a great weekend getaway, and I even made it back in time for school on Monday with no train-related mishaps, success!

 

Not a lot to report from school; keeping on keeping on prepping year 13 students for their oral exams. My year 9s are currently working on ‘Romeo and Juliet in Las Vegas’ (yes, really. Elvis impersonator/’little chapel of love’ owner = Friar Laurence) and I have the privilege of getting them acting which is quite fun just to do something different! The year 10s are learning about debating so that is also quite cool to get involved in. Out of school I have actually been pretty busy in all my free time, generally sorting out my life, which has resulted in an exciting breakthrough this week! It’s not 100% signed, sealed and delivered yet but maybe next time I will be able to share. Wow, what a tease.

We’re now yet again on school holidays – yes, they come around every six weeks (however the school day is usually 8am-6pm). Next week I am off to Carcassonne and the south of France, and the following week to Berlin for five days, so the next blog post should be a goody!

Bis bald (practising for Germany here)

Catherine

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