When we were planning our move to Grenoble and first visited the city I was a bit disappointed by it. It didn’t move me in the way I hoped. The nature surrounding the city most definitely did leave a good impression and the second time we visited the area we decided to rent a house in the surroundings of the city, not in the city itself. The last couple of months we have settled in a bit, and are finding more moments to explore the area which we now call home. Including that city, which didn’t set me on fire when we first met.

grenoble02grenoble03grenoble08 grenoble06Two weekends ago we decided to give the opposite side of the city another chance and to walk up the hill from the Jardins des Dauphines to the top, the Bastille. We had been on top of the hill earlier before we moved and went up by car. Which was a big pain since some parts of the road were so steep that the car was *almost* smoking up hill. So not a real success, another disappointment in the city. There was always a possibility to go up with a cable tram, but we always kept that one as a back-up-plan to do once with visitors. So went up, walking. It was a really pleasant walk with a lot of things to see: the city, the view and a lot of flowers and trees that were planted for our entertainment in the park. From now on it will be on our advised-things-to-do-list for all our visitors the upcoming summer.

grenoble10 grenoble04 grenoble13The funny thing was though that while we were walking up in casual clothing, a lot of individuals walked by fully equipped  in sporty clothing, full with backpacks and such. We had no clue where they were walking towards. Since it was our impression that the only thing you could walk to was the Bastille and that was not really worth backpacking towards.

So we walked up, followed the signs, took too many stairs and slowly realised that while we were walking the trail up the Bastille, many others were climbing up. These mountain people are really interesting. In my – fairly lazy – eyes they are extremely fit and most of them have literally tried out- and practiced tons of sports. You can imagine how strange this all is for me.

grenoble07 grenoble09 grenoble05I’m slowly understanding it better though. First of all they all try out sports to engage more into the community. You don’t see so many fitness clubs, so people are probably more active in team sports. And since people live far away from each other (compared to people in big cities or people in the Netherlands), it’s probably a good way to connect to each other. Every village has a big variety of exercise teams and every year there are exercise markets where you can choose from a variety of options which type of activity you want to engage in to for the upcoming year.

At the same time you just live a better life in the mountains if you are fit. It’s much easier to be unfit in a flat city where shops are always only two steps away. At the moment for us, the nearest shop is 10 minutes down hill and then 30 minutes up hill back. In the Netherlands days without stepping into a shop were rare for me. The last few months during weekdays I rarely visit a shop. I think during weekdays I go shopping once every 3 weeks. Strange right? Now you might think I never move or leave the house, but actually these last two months I’ve spend 3 to 4 hours a day outside the house, most of the time I’m working in the garden. The garden is even up hill from our house. It’s my daily workout. I don’t even understand why we brought a spinning bike all the way from the Netherlands to France, there is no real need for artificial workout programs. Working out is a big part of living here.

Eduard recently took out his bike out of the garage and got it running again. He then decided to bike around our area, first up hill and then back. Five minutes later he came back – he got a flat tire and he was totally broken down by the short ride he did, suddenly realising that he had to start exercising to be able to ride a bit longer than 5 minutes.

When this two year journey comes to an end I’m kind of hoping that I have become one of the mountain people. We even talked a bit about climbing up the Bastille – instead of walking up – in the last month that we will be in Grenoble. So that’s on our bucket list for 2015, come back in 1,5 years to see if I made it or I remained to be the city-snail I’ve been most of my life.grenoble14