If you have been following my trip right along, you already know that I have been incredibly lucky in my search for musicians, artists, dancers and creative-livers to visit. I was lucky, once again, when I met Phillipe and his family at the festival Boulegan l’Ostal.
He joined one of our jam sessions with his 5-string banjo and we ended up talking about how he found old-time music in France (through Irish music and meeting Polo) and the time that he came to the United States to Mount Airy, a fiddler’s convention I go to every year. His invitation to visit them in Grenoble was perfectly timed. I honestly wasn’t sure were I was going to go after my visit with Polo and Nadine.
This is his daughter, Eva, and their cat, Plume.
Eva and I made fast friends. She was not shy to correct my French and she played her flute for me. I showed her the drawings in my sketchbook and taught her how to thumb wrestle (a very important thing to know in life).
One morning, I suggested that we draw a picture of each other and label each body part, her in English and me in French. We spent hours trading the names for body parts, correcting each other’s pronunciation, adding color with my mini-watercolor set, and pointing out details (like eye-lashes, for example) that the other had forgotten. I enjoyed her company immensely.
I stayed for 3 days. Each morning I had breakfast with Eva and Phillipe’s wife, Danuta (we spoke only in French) and then I would pack a bag for the day. Basically, I just wandered the streets until dinner-time. I looked and walked and looked…and sketched some too.
I liked Grenoble alot. I liked that you could see giant, snow capped mountains from every direction beyond the city’s skyline. I liked the snazzy, white/lime green/turquoise, above ground trolley cars that were so easy to jump onto. I liked seeing paintings on the cement walls of walking tunnels. I liked people watching at the large market in the center of town. I liked the spaceship-like, public toilets with automatic doors that cost .20 and would pop up right when I needed to pee (it is sooo frustrating to need to pee and not be able to find a place!).
However, I did NOT like that a cup of green tea cost almost $4.00!
My most favorite spot of all was Le Jardin de Ville, the city’s central park. Spring was in the air and all ages came out to enjoy it.