Kerstin in Grenoble
Before starting university in Grenoble, I thought it would be a good idea to discover France´s beauty, get to know the region and meet locals. Where better to go to than the French Riviera, right?
Though, I must admit that I would lie if I said that my desire to go there was completely altruistically and solely for the purpose of cultural exchange and linguistic progress. To be frank, I was desperately in need for salty air and sunshine.
With a 65-liter backpack on my shoulders and wanderlust in my heart, I took the TGV to Marseille- France´s second largest city which is unjustly known for its high rate of criminality. In the end, its crime rate is not higher than those in any other metropolis. I had booked myself a bed in a dormitory in a hostel near the city center and must admit that I was disillusioned when I arrived- shady neighborhood, dirty stairway, molded showers. Oh well- I thought- this was supposed to be an adventure after all.
As you can imagine, the circumstances of my accommodation enhanced the desire to spend as little time as possible in the stuffy room. My days were thus filled with sightseeing- Cathédrale Sacre Coeur, Vieux Port, Ile de Frioul and le Quatier des Createurs.
Without doubt the most challenging day was when I went to Les Calanques. Les Calanques is a national park which stretches for 20 kilometers between Marseille and Cassis along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Equipped with hiking shoes, a swimsuit, a towel and snacks, I took the bus to get to the starting point of one of the various hiking trails which snake along the coastline. I doubt that I could have mastered the trail with its ladders and string connecting cliffs, had I not regularly visited UM Sports. My arms felt like jelly, sweat ran down my spine, my legs were heavy as lead Just when I thought about returning to the starting point to take the next bus to the city center, I saw light at the end of the tunnel. Numerous fjord-like bays in the limestone of the Mediterranean appeared and rewarded those that are crazy enough to go hiking at 35 degrees with the opportunity for a swim in the crystal clear, turquois water before continuing the climb to the next bay.
Leçon 2: There is light at the end of the tunnel. It is worth to keep going because effort usually pays off. And this does not only hold for hikes . . .