… Today marks a month that I swapped the Kiwi for a Frog and moved overseas! It has definitely flown by with the various activities, sight-seeing and meeting of people that has occurred, not to mention a bit of Uni in between. This week was a great one but I will try to keep the writing short and sweet.
Things got crazy on Tuesday night as we were back at La Mistral again to make the most of the free entry and knock back the free drinks for girls. I happened to know this guy who I had met at the pizza stand the Saturday night before (classy) who turned out to be the club’s promoter. He let us into the VIP area where we got a bit carried away on some young blood’s giant bottles of vodka that were constantly being brought to the table. Good night all round!
This weekend I booked a train ticket to Grenoble to visit Camy, my French friend who I had lived with in Japan. Public Transport and me don’t mix so I was feeling pretty nervous having to negotiate a bus and then train with change-overs to reach Camy’s city. Just so turns out that the French are incredibly slow at most things but not the train timetable. I watched my train pull up…then pull out of the station as I was stuck in a queue with people who happened to be taking the next train. I befriended a nice French lady however, who let me use her phone and helped me sort out my next train.
Grenoble is beautiful as it is surrounded by the French Alps, the scenery reminding me a little of New Zealand actually. Camy was exactly as I remembered – providing the best entertainment and worst driving! She took me up to La Bastille which is an old fortress that looks over the city of Grenoble. Here we had a late lunch in the restaurant Chez le Per’Gras, where I tried some new French cuisine (see here). That night we stayed at Camy’s parents place who are so lovely and live in the countryside. It was so nice to get back to some nature and farmland (Waituna West, where I am from e.g. middle of nowhere, I do miss you!). Camy’s Father doesn’t speak English while her Mother speaks a little but I still felt incredibly welcome and enjoyed speaking ‘Franglish’.
The next day Camy had work so I spent time in the city centre exploring the alleyways and people-watching in the sunshine. A man started up a conversation with me, mistaking for a Commerce student, so I took advantage of his language skills and learnt some more French. Did think it might look a little odd to others in the park and also wondered why I always seemed to attract the older men. That night I experienced Camy’s gypsy side of life as we stayed in a garage which her boyfriend rented. Sofien, her boyfriend, was pretty concerned that Camy hadn’t quite explained well enough what “sleeping anywhere” meant but he need not have worried, the garage was great!
Sunday was the day we road tripped to Camy’s friends who lived in Meyrargues, just North of Aix. Their house was incredible – so true to the Provincial style. Here I experienced my first French ratatouille and drank my favourite French wine to date – Rosé with apricot syrup, a peach flavoured wine and some great red wine from this region. This was also followed by Get27, a mint flavoured liquer over ice. Monday we spent the morning at Silvacane Abbey soaking up some history. This is where Monks previously live who followed the Cistercian Order which advocates humility, obedience, poverty and balance between manual labour and prayer – a way of life I can’t imagine! The time came for me to return to my city, but first a long lunch was enjoyed with Camy and Fabrice where even more new food was consumed.
Thank you so much to Camy, you are one of a kind and the one person I have the pleasure of knowing that has the most vibrant outlook on life. I hope every time you hear Lilly Wood and the Prick you think of this weekend. It was also a pleasure meeting Sofien (Soso) with his crazy hair and epic collection of Volkswagen’s. Also to Camy’s parents who made me feel like I was at home again. Lastly to Fabrice and Vivian for the amazing hospitality and entertainment! Hopefully I can return the favour to you all if you come visit New Zealand.
For more photos of Grenoble and the weekend click here