Thursday, December 30, 2010

VOIRON & beyond: la Bastille

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We’ve checked off a monastic frolic, chapel exhibition, orgy and cheese fondue lunch and it’s only mid-afternoon! It’s onward to Grenoble with a small detour up the mountain overlooking the city. It’s a really crappy narrow pot-holey road of switchbacks and steep turns to get to this point, but it’s more than worth every straining engine noise and tooth-grinding frustration when you’ve got to back out of a section of road too narrow to accommodate passing cars.

As one crests onto a large open space, there seems to be just a big car parking area splayed out in front of the incredible Alpine panorama. If you walk on from there you reach la Bastille de Grenoble, a fortress built in the early 1800s to defend against attacks from the Duke of Savoy. There are older paths and structures going back at least 2000 years. You could probably spend a day or two visiting all this part of the mountain has to offer.

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Unfortunately my camera battery lost power very rapidly as we rounded the summit to the Bastille entrance, so I was left to capture a few pictures with my phone camera and stitch those together.

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The cable-car from the city below is the first urban line constructed anywhere in the world. It’s just celebrated 75 years of operations …. but you’re not going to get me in one of those things. I remember the one time I had to use a cable-car, and it got stuck for 20 minutes or so on a cold windy evening descending from Blackcomb Mountain in British Columbia, leaving us swinging around in the dark like a forgotten Xmas tree ornament.

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