Thursday, March 06, 2008

New life after the fire


New life after the fire, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Waiting around at another airport, this time Grenoble-Isere, while the plane is now expected to land at the time we were due to take off. Not such a problem, but it would have been nice if they had told us before going through security because the sun is shining brightly outside, and out of the wind, it was quite gorgeous. Could have had another half an hour of that rather than the waiting lounge here.

It’s a strange place, 40 kms away from Grenoble in a flattish area of farmland which is being turned over into airport/industrial estate and shopping area, even though it seems to be in the middle of nowhere. No doubt one or two of the farmers here have become very rich by selling their land to the developers.

There are views down south to the snow capped mountains, under which you will find the old city of Grenoble, in the alluvial plain of the Rhone river. I have still to find anything too attractive about the town/city, although the views up to the mountains are good, when the sun is shining. Otherwise, it tends to be a very grey city. The shops look good though… maybe I should go shopping one time, as it looks as if I will be back again next month, after which I should start handing the work over to my colleague, who I am sure can do a better job than I can of making the balance sheet balance…

I had two nights here, the first I was by myself, all alone in that restaurant and last night Iw as out with Mister Trouble, starting off again with a glass of Affligem in the pub before going on to the restaurant for another glass of Affligem. The way he says it, it sounds like a glass of African, which is a bit disturbing. Anyway, the restaurant yesterday was more like a café/bistro and the food not as interesting or as good as the previous night, even though the price was at least as much. Unfortunately, I ended up with a very large glass of green Chartreuse, a local speciality, which I remember my grandmother having a bottle of, serving it in small but colourful liqueur glasses. It would taste a bit like Strega but without the bite.

Anyway, I obviously made it to my hotel, as I woke up there this morning as the local church clocks range very quarter of an hour, one after the other… I avoided breakfast after my thirteen euro surprise last time and instead went out and bought some pain au chocolats for half the price, but enough to hand around at the office when I finally arrived, an hour late as I got stuck on the wrong side of first the Rhone and then the railway tracks, spending a quarter of an hour in a traffic jam to get back into Grenoble from where I was going to start my journey all over again… Modern French road planners seem to be even more quirky than their British and Dutch counterparts.

Well the plane has just landed and is standing on the runway just in front of the lounge, which is quite charming. It is the only aeroplane at the airport right now and we will be flying to Rotterdam airport which is similar. Much better than all those mega-airports like Schiphol or, dare I say it, Charles de Gaulle, the worst airport in the world. I had been very proud of myself in terms of being eco-friendly and taking the train to Grenoble, with two over night stops in Paris. But this flight cost € 130 return, which might be enough for one leg to Paris, let alone the return journey and the € 180 Paris-Grenoble return fare. And, I am saved the four hour plus slo-speed (they have the cheek to call it hi-speed) trip in the Thalys and I will be back home in time for a nice dinner with Mister Fred! He has had a bit of a difficult week on his return to school after half term so he will be happy to be starting his weekend this evening.

OK, it is ten minutes after the plane landed and we are being called to board, although from where I am sitting it looks like we are being called to get up from our comfortable seats and stand up and wait around in a queue… they always treat passengers with so much respect (not)… anything that is convenient for the plane companies or the airport staff… Oh well, better go and join the others as I don’t want to be missing another flight.

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