December 26-30, 2012
The day after Christmas our plan was to get on a train headed for Grenoble… unfortunately we hit our first, and really only, major speed bump in this trip. We hadn’t pre-booked any tickets for this long journey and of course there were none available for us that morning when we arrived at the Venice train station to head out. We were told the best we could do is take a train to Milan and hope that someone there could help us get into France. So, we arrived in Milan in the late evening and asked for tickets to somewhere in France so that we could get to Grenoble. We were told.. “No sorry there are not any trains to France available, what you can do is take a train to Geneva tomorrow and hope to connect there.”
This all would have been fine except that the train station was nearly closed, we had nowhere planned to stay the night, and our laptops and phones were dead (there was nowhere to plug in for electricity). We bought the tickets to Geneva and then begged a travel agent to let us use his outlet to charge our laptop so we could quickly book a hostel for the night. The hostel was awful, I slept in all of my clothes and my coat, on top of the covers haha! Thankfully we really only needed to rest there for a few hours until our train left in the morning.
I was not a happy camper that day. I’m a planner. I like when things are well planned, especially when I don’t know my surroundings very well. We were very low on money at this point due to buying last minute tickets and so I was a little discouraged the next few days. In the end, we learned a good lesson and now I can look back and see this as a good story!
Now (4 years later I’m writing about this :)) I can see the positives of our unexpected adventure. For one, we fell in love with Switzerland just from these views from the train. So gorgeous!! I knew instantly that our next trip to Europe would have to include a visit to Switzerland.
Grenoble is a really beautiful place! Unfortunately though, I was not, as I said, in the best mood those few days. I remember just feeling exhausted and overwhelmed and needing time to relax. And it just seemed like everything was going wrong for a little while there!
We really struggled to find our hotel once we arrived in Grenoble because it was pouring rain and dark and the hotel was not well marked. Then the next evening we were heading back to our hotel on the tram and it stopped suddenly and everyone got off… We figured we should get off too and asked people if they spoke English so we could understand what was happening. Of course, no one did (I think they just didn’t want to explain). Eventually a bus pulled up and people started getting on that so we got on too. Turns out the next few tram stops were out of order so we had to connect via bus. It worked out fine but it just added to that stress I was already feeling.
Something else I found difficult about this part of the trip was going from Italy to France. Those cultures are so different! Thank God we had Julie to show us around Grenoble and speak French for us because I think otherwise I would have stayed in my hotel nearly the entire time!
La Bastille in Grenoble is a fortress on top of a mountain. To get to the fortress you can take this cable car made up of super cute bubble pods. This was a really fun experience in Grenoble and the views from the top at La Bastille are amazing! In the picture below we are at a restaurant where they have one of the original bubbles on display. The newer bubbles are made even more clear so it was very exciting gliding through the air up to the mountain.
After a couple days in Grenoble, we got on a train headed for Paris! Paris was our last stop on the trip and a place I have dreamed of going to for years. We had an amazing apartment in Paris. This picture of Curtis in our Parisian apartment sums up how exhausted we were at this point