Rick Steves’ Job is Secure

Ok, I am a bad tour guide.

                It is hard to plan a good tour that includes a four year old. But I tried. We should have gone with my plan B: a kids’ marionette show downtown. Instead, we went with plan A.

                Todd and I have been downtown every day this week, but didn’t take the famous “bubbles” (bubble shaped telepherique – cable car – from the base of the hill to the top) because Kaitlyn loves to ride them. So we waited until Wednesday, since there’s no school. As we were walking the few blocks along the river to the bubble entrance, I noticed I didn’t see any bubbles making their way up or down the cables. Not being a fan of those things in the first place, I approached with mixed emotions. Then they appeared, creeping up, up, up the cable. It still didn’t seem right. It wasn’t. The bubbles didn’t make it all the way to the drop off/pick up station before they stopped… hanging there over the rain-swollen river. (No, I would never say the phrase “rain-swollen” but I feel compelled to write it.) At the entrance, several signs were up saying the telepherique was closed. I couldn’t understand every word, but got the words for closed and problem. I couldn’t agree more…. if there’s a problem they should be closed.

                So, no bubbles. No problem. I had another idea.

                We drove up, up, UP the mountain across from the one we live on to go to a fort we’ve been told is well worth the trip. Fort du St. Eynard. It’s only open in the summer. The reason for that became obvious when we turned off the main road to get there. It’s steep, narrow and nothing more than a series of switchback turns. At the top, the big blue iron doors to the fort were closed. And locked. Two little old French ladies who’d also made the trip were determined to get in. They tried the door. They rang the bell. I think one may have considered trying to knock it down with her cane. I got out of the car to read the sign, since Todd didn’t know what it said. In June, it’s only open Thursday through Sunday. Dang it! Oh, well, when you head up a mountain on a whim…

                    Tired of the series of unsuccessful tourist stops, we headed back to Uriage for lunch. Kaitlyn wasn’t in much of a mood to sit and linger at a cafe. Given that it’s the only choice at a cafe, it made lunch rather trying. We were going to eat then hit the little stores to check for souvenirs. But at 2:45, the grown-ups had had enough and gave up on waiting to see when, if ever, the stores would re-open for the afternoon.

                    So we’re at home. Doing laundry and trying not to melt in the horrible heat. It’s a good 5 or 6 degrees cooler here than downtown Grenoble… I guess Bill was right not to even let us look at places there when we were house-hunting. I’m not so sure he was right not to buy a portable air conditioner. We may not make our stint here without making that investment.

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