We started our day out fairly late on this day. Kas decided that going up to the Bastille on the téléphérique the previous day wasn’t strenuous enough, so in the morning she decided to run up it as part of a long morning run. While she was doing that, the girls and me returned to the branch of Paul in Caserne de Bonne for some breakfast. Now we knew the form it was a better experience than the previous morning. Kas joined us as we were finishing, having done her run and been for a shower.
While we were there, I took the opportunity to go and find a geocache in the gardens outside Caserne de Bonne that I’d been unable to find previously due to it being in a very busy spot. Even this morning there was a guy sitting right on top of where I thought it was – under the end of a bridge. I tried looking from the other side of the bridge and managed to establish the location, but I couldn’t reach it from where I was. The guy seemed in no hurry to move so I decided to go ask him ( or tell him ) what I was doing so he didn’t get spooked by my presence. He didn’t respond. He didn’t seem bothered, to be honest, so I went for it and did the doings. Throughout the whole process he didn’t so much as look. After leaving the site I figured this lack of communication a symptom of a state of being that later turned him into “shouty bloke”, so I ended up thinking it wasn’t such a great idea to go so close to someone who obviously wasn’t entirely there.
By the time we were all done it was approaching midday. We hadn’t really spent much time thinking about this day beforehand, but the previous day had decided we’d go and try the castle down at Vizille. We’d thought a little about going up into the “proper” mountains but I think by the time we got here we’d done our share of long days in the car, and as a result, the enthusiasm for spending a couple of hours each way driving to the mountains was pretty much missing. Vizille promised to be no more than half an hour away. It also had the advantage of being somewhere I hadn’t visited previously on three visits to the city forty years previously, so I had no idea what to expect.
It was easy to park and there was a cache in the back of the car park that I managed to squeeze in while one of the kids was farting about with footwear. The chateau is quite impressive – the biggest in the Dauphiné, apparently, and it’s been kept (or restored) in good condition. A great dollop of irony was introduced in 1984 when a wing of the Chateau was redeveloped as a Museum to the French Revolution, after the castle became government property and was donated to the Community Council of Isère in 1973. The castle has extensive gardens and that’s where we focussed our attention. There are false canals (part of an early water-powered scheme for the town and castle), a parterre and lots of lawns. There was a kids’ playground but Ami wasn’t bothered and Izzy gave up after a few minutes because the playpark was full of children. I guess we probably spend an hour and a half walking around before deciding to retire for an ice-cream. It was a bit cloudy but still very warm and humid.
To get ice-creams we walked out of the front gate of the castle into the town. We found a place that sold granités – we developed a taste for these in Italy on last year’s holidays but it was the first time our eye had been drawn to one in France.
After sitting outside for a bit we decided we’d had enough for the day, so we drove back to the apartment and camped down for a while. I think we were starting to get the “going home” feeling.
We went out for dinner at about 6 pm and found a boutique burger joint – nicer than McDonald’s but not really a restaurant as such. The burgers were good. From here we moved next door and had a beer while the kids ran around and got wet in a fountain in the street.
We walked back home again and got most of the packing done. We had an early start in the morning and didn’t want to be late to bed and didn’t want to drink much. According to Google, we’d got 870km to drive just to get to Calais and we needed to be there by about 6 pm, so we’d planned an early start. Google reckoned we should allow 12 hours. We were in bed by 9:30pm.