Quick Trip to the French Alps

I was torn between two options for where I could spend my midterm break. Should I go with my friends to Romania and see the Black Sea and Dracula’s Castle? When else would I have the opportunity, right? But on the other hand, my boyfriend lives in Grenoble, France, and for only 180€ I could go and spend a few days with him…

Well, I’m sure you could guess which won. I ended up at the bus station at 7:30 on Wednesday night, having finished my last final and waiting, antsy, for the time to come when I could finally get on my way to France. Since I only decided to go there about a week before I actually left, airplane tickets were out of the question. The only remaining options were bus and train, and since the bus was booked on the way back from Grenoble to Vienna, I did both: I took a 20-hour bus ride to get to France, and what should have been a 14-hour train ride back home to Vienna. I say should because the day I had to take the train was, of course, the first major snowfall of the season in Grenoble. I woke up at 6:30 to make a 7:30 train, but that didn’t even arrive at the station until 8:50, and it sat there for about thirty minutes before finally leaving. I missed my original connecting train in Geneva, but thankfully I got the next one to Zurich (where I’d finally connect to a train that would take me to Vienna) within ten minutes of arriving. I waited about an hour and a half in Zurich for my last train, but the weather didn’t exactly tempt me to go explore the area around the station–it was freezing out and snowing heavily here, too. When I finally got on the train, I had two loud beer-chugging boys as neighbors. Thus started the longest train ride of my life–ten hours and hardly anything visible through the snow outside the windows, and soon it was completely dark out, anyway.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The transportation could have been better, but Grenoble was definitely worth the hassle. At any point in the city, all you have to do is look up to get your breath taken away by the sight of the French alps. Too bad it was too early to ski! The city was charming, too–despite not being the cleanest city I’ve ever visited, there was a cozy atmosphere I’d love to visit again sometime soon.