Afternoon Hike: Pierre Chauve

A couple of weekends ago when we were visiting my in-laws in Valence, we went on a short afternoon hike with Matt’s dad. It was a gorgeous afternoon and the hike, aptly named “Bald Rock” because there are few trees at the top, is one of my father-in-law’s favorite hikes in the Vercors.

Enjoy the pictures, and if it’s a nice day where you are, go spend it outside! :)

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I just love the look Matt and Solo are giving each other ;)

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The best family pic we managed to take

Afternoon Hike: Fort St. Eynard

A couple of weekends ago, Matt and I went on an afternoon hike with some friends. The absolute best thing about living in/near Grenoble is that we are surrounded by three different mountain ranges, and therefore there are so many good hiking trails less than 20 minutes away from our house :)

Enjoy the photos!


Solo leading the way like the little shepherd he is ;)


Almost near the top


Since it’s an old fort, there were these old gates around the base. Solo was too afraid to explore them…


The view from the top (not overlooking Grenoble)


The beautiful Belledonne in the background.


The top, overlooking Grenoble


My two boys :)


Our little family <3


Another gorgeous view of the mountains


The city of Grenoble! It looked so small from up there.


Another picture of Grenoble


On the way down we passed by a herd of sheep! Look at the little lamb :)


Another picture of the lamb and it’s mother.


Seriously, so precious!

An Afternoon Hike: La Tour d’Arces

Something I love immensely about French culture is that they love to spend time outdoors. Grenoble itself is a very outdoorsy city, and people here go hiking all the time. I have always enjoyed being outside (geek analogy: if I was a Sim, I would have the “Love Being Outdoors” moodlet), especially this time of year when Spring is bursting forth from all around. We have had an unusually warm winter this year. Last year in March, it was raining practically every day and then it snowed just after Easter. This year, it rained quite often a few weeks ago, but since then we’ve had perfect early spring weather. I love spring! Eating lunch on the terrace outside, starting my little herb garden (hoping for better results this season), and taking hikes with my little family.

Yesterday afternoon, we went on a short hike to La Tour d’Arces. It’s a medieval lookout tower that is less than 10 minutes away by car (just another advantage of living in France: medieval ruins practically in your backyard!). There’s not much to say about it, so I will let these pictures speak for themselves :)


The hike there…gorgeous weather, as you can see.


My first thought that came to mind: Oh, I feel like Jane Eyre returning to Thornfield…only happier ;)




Look at that window! The view of the snow-capped Belledonne mountains must be gorgeous from up there!




This picture is taken from the ruins of an adjoining chapel.


The walk home. I can’t stress how much I ADORE walking down gravel paths like this one. I always feel like Elizabeth Bennet or Anne Shirley.


And then we found where we will build our future home (can you see the Tour d’Arces in the background?). Matt and I planned out where we will put our cottage/Victorian stone house (we couldn’t decide which we’d rather have) and how we would have a long gravel path leading up to it. *sigh* I could spend all day in that wide, open field.


And with THAT view!


I know someone else who’d love to have a big yard like this…

Hope you all are enjoying the beginnings of springtime, from wherever your corner of the world may be :)

May in Grenoble, or “Why is it still winter?”

Well, I recently wrote about why I didn’t enjoy April here, because of the cold, windy, and rainy weather. It turns out that May was exactly the same, only weirder, because we also had snow and hail. In May.


Fresh snow on May 25th, and this isn’t even that high!


More snow…

But now it is June and, even though it has been raining nearly every evening, we officially have warm weather! And our back yard was finished last week: the dirt was leveled, they put in some stairs as well as dividing fences between each apartment, and now the grass is starting to spring up, so soon Solo will be able to play around out there. And it won’t matter how early he wants to go pee in the morning, I’ll just have to open the door. Last week we even had our first cook-out of the year!

Instagram picture of our homemade burgers and sweet potato fries!

Last month we also went on a camping trip with Remix to celebrate one of the many holidays/long weekends they have here in France. I have been wanting to go camping for months now, and the weather actually stayed decent, even if it there was a light shower.


At this camping trip Matt happened to be the only French person there! Most of Remix is made up of internationals, like Stephie (intern from Germany), Dora (student from Hungary), and Bethany (XA pastor visiting from Ohio).


Solo loves camping too!

On the camping trip we had a Croquet tournament. Yes, I get excited about things like that, and especially since I came from behind (twice) and got 2nd overall! And also, I’m proud of things like that. I haven’t played croquet in over ten years, and even back then I was horrible. But it’s a fun yard game to play and Matt and I are looking to buy a croquet set of our own to play at the park or at his parents’ house this summer.


This was the first wicket and this is where everyone passed me while I failed miserably to make it through. But I had my comeback eventually.


More croquet…


Artsy shot…


Matt played, too, when he wasn’t keeping Solo from chasing after the balls.

Besides our exciting croquet tournament, we also went on a hike which was lovely. We made it to this local museum where I swear The Sound of Music could have been filmed.


I just feel like running towards the camera…


And again… Also, this was next to a museum for a monastery, how fitting.


: )


Cave “exploring”

And this was priceless:


This must be Darth Vader’s summer mountain house.

So now it’s June and our summer is full with lots of fun activities, the biggest one being that we’re spending 10 days in Germany for an SFC (Students for Christ) conference! More on that next month.

Why I Don’t Like April

In my last post, I talked about how last weekend Matt and I wanted to go hiking and maybe do some “crafts” for the home. Well…it rained. All week it was sunny and hot and then the weekend rolls around and it’s cold, foggy, and rainy outside. And today I wake up to a light drizzle again! This time it’s supposed to rain  most of next week, too. The weather app on my phone is looking bleak…

But Matt tells me this is how April is here. A random cycle of hot sunny days, foggy rainy ones, and snow! Yay. I live for the few days that feel like spring…but at least there are flowers everywhere! Except for that tree I loved. It’s full of leaves now.

Some things we’ve been up to lately: I’m still babysitting my 19-month old niece and she has entered the “No” phase! But overall she’s a good baby, and she tells you exactly what she wants so it’s not so bad! She has also started telling Solo to stay, assieds (sit), and au pied (heel)! She has even told her dad to stay!!! Also, we saw Iron Man 3 the other night (IN ENGLISH!) and I loved it. You Americans will have to go see it next week!

So, to make up for this yucky weather, I’m going to post a “glamour shoot” I did with Solo two weeks ago. Enjoy!


He really dislikes being in the sun, so this was him posing under a tree, with some leaf stuck in his teeth.


Our mountain pup “in the meadow”


Fun fact: there are two soccer fields at this park (you can see the more professional one in the back), and Solo is terrified of the games…something about the whistling and all of the people yelling and running around. I’m sure Matt has something to do with this since he, too, hates soccer…


And this is his “Ok, no more pictures!” pose


Love this view!


Not a cloud in the sky…

July Getaway: St. Sorlin

During the summer, French people take a lot of vacations! Going on 2-4 week family vacations once or twice a summer is a big part of the culture here. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t have the time or money to do the same, probably because vacations mean unpaid leave from work. But here you get paid to take five weeks of vacation time a year! That’s rather nice!

One of the vacations we took this summer was to St. Sorlin D’Arves, about an hour and a half away in the Alps. Matt’s parents own a cute little cabin there in the mountains, and they usually go a couple of weeks every summer and during Christmas. This year we also spent Easter weekend there to get one last trip at the ski slopes!

During the summer it is gorgeous (well, it’s gorgeous all the time!). The weather is sunny and cool, there are flowers everywhere, and there are plenty of fun outdoor activities to keep us busy. Solo loved it there especially. One of the best things about having an active, adventurous companion dog is that you can literally bring him anywhere, and we really do! In the three months that we’ve had him he’s been to the mountains (his favorite place), the beach, rivers, on a bike ride in one of those little kiddy trailers, on a ski lift, on hours worth of train, tram, boat and car rides, on lots of big and little hikes…and he’s done a lot of other things too that I’m forgetting. While we were in St. Sorlin we went on a four-hour hike up one of the mountains near the cabin. It was a little chilly and there was still snow in a couple of places which Solo played in (pictures at the end of this post). We stopped for lunch near the top at a lake. Overall it was a wonderful day!

Two other things we did during our week in the mountains was have a family picnic dinner around some nearby lakes during sunset, and we took a ski lift up to the same area one morning where there was a small “festival” in honor of the annual sheep pilgrimage that happens in St. Sorlin. Three shepherds migrate with their herd of around 1500 sheep from their winter pasture by the sea to their summer pasture in the mountains. We left Shepherd Solo back at the cabin, just in case he got any ideas to herd/chase the sheep!

A collage of some of our St. Sorlin experiences!