From the zoo to Grenoble

The French Zoo, where the crocodile is the size of a large lizard:

Audrey had left to get things organised in Grenoble, so we spent the day with Hanis and Leslye. During our BIG walk, we went to the covered market place, Les Halles de Paul Bocuse; then we went in search of my favourite patisserie “tarte au fraises” – strawberry tart. We found a nice patisserie with pre-prepared baguettes where we bought lunch and the necessary tarts. By this stage, about 2pm, we were really hungry, and finally arrived at the parc Tête d’Or (meaning golden head), where we sat on the nearest available park bench and hoed into our lunch, which was delicious.

It was very warm as we walked through the park looking at the animals in the free zoo. We were amused by the 1½ – 2 metre crocodile, reminding me of the movie Crocodile Dundee “That’s not a knife” (crocodile in this case). I was surprised when Dutchy took off his singlet top and walked around just with his shorts on, something he would never do in Australia.

Once again, between the quantity of large cups of tea I enjoy, my age, and having had two babies, I needed the toilet. Public toilets are never my favourite, but it’s interesting to see some of them in France are washed out with disinfectant between each usage.

Hooray – internet and creativity:

At last we saw Leslye’s studio apartment in Lyon, where she has maintained a base for the past few years. It’s definitely a one-person flat, but very cute.

She and Hanis went shopping while we enjoyed a great connection with the internet where we were able to upload photos and the blog. If I am not creative I slowly die inside. When travelling you have your usual sources of expressing yourself in that way. At home I can decorate the house, design different parts of the garden, bake, do scrapbooking or other artistic pursuits, and even plate up food nicely.

When I went around the world in 1981 I did a lot of sketching, but this time the blog is the main source, and I am getting a lot of satisfaction from doing it.

Hanis and Leslye returned and we shared a light dinner there, with baguettes, cheese and salad, after which we walked back to our place to have drinks.

Heart to Heart:

Sometimes a relationship is in need of a little repair, so we had a big heart-to-heart and worked some things out, having realised years ago that if you don’t keep the lines of communication open you can end up almost destroying your partnership.

As I was feeling a lot better, Dutchy headed out to Starbuck’s so that I could do some Body Balance, which is helping keep my flexibility, strength and abdominals in reasonable shape. He even brought back some coffee for me, and had downloaded the most recent hotmails to check out.

Off to Grenoble:

To conserve space in the car, we condensed our luggage into one suitcase and were able to leave the rest at the apartment we were staying at, as it was currently vacant. The four of us left Lyon at 1pm for Grenoble, taking the autoroute that had a 10€ toll. The drive took about an hour, and the thing that impressed us most was the sight of the majestic mountains.

Grenoble is a city with a population of just under 160,000 with a lot of high-rise buildings. No space for urban sprawl here, when you are nestled in the basin between many mountains. I think the lack of space is one of the main things Australians must contend with when they travel.

The good thing about travelling in August is that a lot of people are on holiday, so we were able to utilise Audrey’s father’s apartment of almost 35 square metres in the old family home. It has been beautifully renovated into a fairly open-plan area and one of the things we loved most was the fact that you could have windows open on two adjacent walls which allowed a cross-breeze, essential in the warm weather.

That evening we dined at Hanis’ sister’s new apartment, where we over-indulged in champagne and foie gras, both the genuine article.

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