Favorite Moments from Grenoble

Only fools skip out on Paris while studying abroad in France. Paris, with its bright lights, romantically haughty locals, and a boulangerie on every corner—who can resist? It’s too much of a tourist destination, they say. It’s for suckers who don’t want to experience the real France! All they’ll find is hot, sweaty tourists with their cameras in your face, asking if you’re French! These fools vow to visit almost every part of France before stepping foot in the City of Light.

Hello, I’m Michelle, and I’m a real fool.

I skipped Paris while studying abroad in Grenoble, France last year and now that I’m home, I dream about Paris—about stumbling through the cobblestone streets because really, who can walk on them without looking silly?

Fortunately, I have enough good memories from Grenoble to last me a lifetime. Though lesser adventures happen in a small town, you reap more stories as a result. But first, a teen photo of me in Paris with the family. There’s little to no memory of this trip because it was pre-blog, so pre-conscience as well, obviously. The lesson here? Blogging is great for your memory.

A little about me

In case you’re new to the blog, first off: I no longer look that young (I’m not saying that I’ve changed in a plastic surgery kind of way, but I’d like to think that my face looks a bit more mature—who am I kidding, I don’t look different at all). Second of all, I’m a little travelbug currently living in Austin, Texas, planning my next adventures. Last year, while studying abroad independently of any program (fuck the police!), I took it as an opportunity to tack on a 2-month backpacking trip throughout Morocco, Turkey, and other parts of Europe.

Phew, ok, can I start the real post now? Here are just a few little memories (little, because they’re moments not quite long enough to write a blog post on, but moments that stood out for me).

Favorite little memories

First hitchhiking experience

1185049_517902974966515_2143091800_n Our first weekend in Grenoble, friend group almost locked and everything, we decided to head to the alps and see this castle that people were talking about? French transportation should be easy enough to figure out, said no one ever. We got off at what we thought was the nearest bus stop, but was in reality an hour’s walk alongside the mountain road. Eventually, we decided to either hitchhike or have the castle close by the time we get there and miss the bus back to Grenoble. We hitchhiked.

I’ll never forget the phrase “Zig zag, zig zag!” when it comes to walking alongside a mountain road. One of my friends would scream this every time we neared a curve and we would all dash to the far side so cars could see us as they neared.

Ziplining in the alps

No photos here because we were too busy having fun! (You see how fun I am? I’m such a fun person). These aren’t just zipline courses, but a high ropes obstacle course where you travel through the trees conquering one obstacle after another. I can honestly say that nothing I’d ever thought about high ropes courses—and we had a pretty serious course in high school; had a class on it and everything—would have prepared me for the intensity of this one. There was one part where you had to swing, Tarzan style, into the bottom of a fishnet and climb all the way up to get to the next step.

At one point, I fell off those things where it’s like a ladder, but instead of keeping the wooden steps together, they’re on swings to mess with you. Well, I feel off and was just dangling there from the harness, exhausted and grumpy. “JUST LEAVE ME HERE!” I remember screaming, before I took a deep breath, and pulled ALL the muscles in my leg to get back on.

Foregoing stitches, because I CAN!

1383003_10151911112919704_1235541728_n No, this is not an artful photoshoot that my friend was taking, this was me desperately trying to keep the blood in my finger after slamming down a wine glass too hard. We had all had a few glasses of wine by this point, so none of them suggested I go to the hospital… which is what should have happened. Instead, I stayed like this for a while, bandaged it all up, and headed to the club to shake my stuff.

The next day, I took a peek and was astonished at how close to the bone that wine glass got. LOL too late. To this day, I don’t have feeling in about 1/3 of my pinky finger.

I can resist cows

1395961_539781122778700_439514287_n This is me, fighting off the urge to just jump on one and hug it to death. The couple I was with at the time got a bit concerned (some for my mental health) and started telling me stories of cows goring people. To this day, I’m upset that I didn’t at least try—cows can’t run fast, can they?

Why French boys wear speedos

1454844_10151976495144704_1317744050_n One day, through a study abroad student organization on campus, we were given the opportunity of heading into the deep alps to a spa! Yes, please! It was one of the best and most relaxing days I’ve had, which doesn’t make much for stories on the blog, but I did learn why European men wear speedos instead of the American swim trunks: for sanitation purposes.

I’m still not exactly sure about the specifics, but apparently speedos are much more cleanly than swim trunks! And wearing speedos are mandated at every swimming pool, which means I caught a lot more than my American eyes were prepared for. Also, there’s this whole shower and entrance hose down that you have to walk through before even allowed onto the water premise. I wonder if we would ever start implementing things like that?

What started out as a scramble on what to write as my introduction post for Travel Tuesday (THIS IS FOREVER, GUYS) became a cute walk through memory lane. This was actually really fun, reliving some smaller moments that I didn’t think at the time to remember. I always have to remind myself that, when traveling, it’s not just the huge, embarrassing stories that matter, but also the small, calm ones that happen in everyday life. Ones that don’t exactly make up a good story but, when corralled together, form an image of what life was like abroad. And, boy, do I miss it.

Thank you everyone who nominated me to co-host Travel Tuesdays with A Compass Rose! I may still think it’s a fluke, but I’m so excited to host along with Marcella, Caity, and Amanda


And now, it’s Travel Tuesday time! Here’s how it works:

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  • Joanna Śliwińska

    Very cool! It’s true that minor experiences also count. Congrats on becoming the co-host! And don’t trust those stories about Paris. I mean, there are so many tourists there, but go there a little bit off season, and you’ll get a much better feeling of the city. I’ve been there last year (no, not my first destination in France, though) and I enjoyed it more than I expected :)

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Thanks, Joanna! Haha, yeah I should’ve experienced it a bit in the winter… I went once, but at the peak of tourist season and with my family, which is not at all the same as traveling by yourself! I’ll have to go back and check it out :)

  • http://www.alkeksabroad.com/ Courtney {Alkeks Abroad}

    Hoping over from Travel Tuesday! You are so lucky to live in Austin, it’s such a fun town. I went to college at Texas State and I will say you definetly need to cross floating the river off of your bucket list. ;)

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Hey Courtney! Yeah, it’s great here! Although it’s one of the biggest (and most congested) towns I’ve lived in! I actually work with some students over at Texas State and they’ve also told me to float the river ;)

  • http://www.clemandmarcella.wordpress.com/ Marcella ~ WhatAWonderfulWorld

    Hahaha, this is amazing! It’s so good to remember the little moments, isn’t it?! That black and white photo does look incredibly arty, I would have never have gussed what was really happening! And you’ll always have that memory everytime you can’t fully feel something with your finger, ahh! I also love the “zig zag” anecdote, when I’m on a winding country road I end up just screaming “car” at the top of my lungs to alert the others… I think zig zag sounds much better, and less panicked!

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Aw, thanks Marcella! I put this together completely last minute since I had no idea about what to do! Exactly—you understand. Every time, I think about the joy instead of the pain I felt haha. And thanks ;) if I ever hear someone else screaming “zig zag!” I’ll be glad to know I started the safety movement.

  • http://www.adelanteblog.com/ Courtney @ Adelante

    Hahaha this post had me laughing out loud :) Your stories are the best!!

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Hahaha, glad I could entertain, Courtney! :)

  • http://www.crumbsinthebed.com/ Kerri

    Congrats on making it as a Travel Tuesday host! I think I’d like to host one time, but I’m not sure I could handle the pressure!

    I have also had an incident that involved too much cheap vodka, a glass, my pinkie finger and a bit too much blood. Got the scar to prove it.

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Thanks! :) I applied for it once but was beaten out by Melanie Fontaine like a real loser (grr, that girl! haha).

      Hey, we’re lame pinkie finger twins! Who needs whole, functioning pinkies anyways? Those are for squares.

      • http://www.melaniefontaine.com/ Melanie Fontaine

        Sorry, Mish! ;) Hope you have fun hosting TT from now on! :)

    • http://www.melaniefontaine.com/ Melanie Fontaine

      Kerri, I’m sure you would be a great host! ;) There isn’t that much pressure involved, I promise! You should try to go for it some time! :)

  • http://dianadegzz.blogspot.com/ Diana

    I liked reading this, congrats on co-hosting!

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Thanks, Diana!

  • http://www.twofeet-oneworld.com/ Jessi @2feet1world

    Ha you are so hard core! No stitches for you!! Great collection of stories :) Welcome to the TT cohost family!

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Haha, I’m glad that’s the one thing you learned ;) SO HARDCORE. Thanks for the welcome, Jessi!!

  • http://lanivcox.wordpress.com/ Lani

    Cows can get a good clip going. Hitchhiking is fun, so it sucks when you have to consider safety and creepies. Sorry about your finger. Hahahahaha. Seriously. I want to go to France! Lucky!!!

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Hahaha this is what I get for such random stories! Disjointed comments :p but thanks for the heads up on cows. Sigh, I guess I’ll never get one! Thanks for the sympathy on the finger… ahem! Hahaha. Go to France!!

      • http://mishfish13.com/ Michelle @ Mishfish13

        Haha yeah, I mean I loved my time abroad (even though the list of cities I wish I went to is probably infinite)!! Europe is just too damn big for us all to explore to our heart’s content haha. Thanks, Abby! :)

  • http://abbyroads.com/ Abby | abbyroads.com

    Studying abroad is one of the best experiences you could ever hope to have, whether you went to Paris or not! :) In all actuality, I think everyone that studies abroad in Europe has at least one country or city that they wished they had visited during their tenure, but it’s just good incentive to go back. And you’re 100% right: it looks like you lived it up no matter where you went!

  • http://www.melaniefontaine.com/ Melanie Fontaine

    Slamming down a wine glass too hard, injuring yourself in the process and then heading to a club instead of the hospital? You’re awesome, Mish! :D Also, I would totally love to go zip lining one day! We thought about doing it in Thailand, but it was super expensive (probably more expensive than in Germany!) and so we went rafting instead! ;)

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Hahaha I’m a badass (only when drunk). If I were any soberer I would’ve been freaking out. You should go ziplining! A friend recently did it in Costa Rica, where it apparently began?, and loved it! I can’t believe it was more expensive in Thailand?! That’s insane! I always think of Thailand as a budget destination!

      I WANT TO GO RAFTING SO BAD. It’s something I’ve yet to do but I’M GOING TO DO IT. Was it fun? :)

  • http://www.laurenonlocation.com laurenonlocation

    I actually just laughed out loud (in the teacher’s room) while reading this…. I got a few looks. My favorite part of looking back on my travels is remembering the mishaps. SUre they SUCK at the time… but they make the funniest stories looking back.

    The cow story cracked me up. I went for a hike outside of Madrid this past fall and I literally thought my friends were going to kill me. I was completely obsessed with all the cows. I couldn’t get over how close and free and funny they were.
    Thanks for sharing .. these are great!

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Michelle @ Mishfish13

      YES, score! Hahah. I love looking back at mishaps… it’s probably the common theme of my travel stories. On one hand, I’ll love for travel to go smoother and not have to accidentally spend more money correcting my mistakes. On the other hand, they make the best stories haha.

      HAHAHA. I think I’ve found a new friend. A cow-obsessed friend. I did exactly the same thing, but I guess cows are smarter than they look because they started inching away from me :(

  • http://lifeintransience.com/ Nikita @ Life in Transience

    I like these little stories. I think those quirky moments are what really make a trip abroad. :)
    Also, I don’t understand why speedos are more sanitary… Good to know, though, for the next time I see a few more European packages than I intended!

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Thanks Nikita :)) In my opinion, these are DEFINITELY what makes an experience. Seeing all those tourist things is great an all, but I prefer these little moments. And I don’t either!! Is it because guys don’t wash swim trunks??

  • http://www.simplysaratravel.com/ Sara

    Hehe I love your introduction! Congrats on being a Travel Tuesday host! I love Paris, so it’s too bad you didn’t make it over while you were living in France…though it certainly sounds like you had tons of fun regardless! :-)

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Thanks, Sara! Haha I don’t know why I decided to go all hipster over there but yeah, it was the best of times anyways :)

  • http://www.fullofbeansandsausages.com/ Holly Hollyson

    I went to Grenobles :) Loved it! Is there a Travel Tuesday theme tomorrow?

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Not for tomorrow, but for the first Tuesday of March! The theme will be announced on tomorrow’s Travel Tuesday :)

      • http://www.fullofbeansandsausages.com/ Holly Hollyson

        Perfect – thank you, I had written tomorrow’s post and then suddenly panicked, I always miss the themes somehow!