All posts tagged: mountains

I Heart Chambery: anniversary edition!

I had the idea to fill this National Geographic questionnaire out from fellow TAPIF blogger Hardly Snarky, who wrote about her city of Aix-en Provence. I have been working on mine for the past few weeks, and am posting it today: 6 months to the day since arriving in Chambé!! I heart Chambéry because it seems to have a dash of something for all tastes: endless outdoor activities in the surrounding mountain ranges and lakes, great local wines and cheeses, a small but fervid arts scene. It actually reminds me a lot of a previous hometown, Charlottesville, Virginia: a sleepy college town surrounded my mountains, which was at one time home to a great philosopher whom the inhabitants still obsess over today… Throw in perfect baguettes and easy train access to some of Europe’s most vibrant cities and voilà! As a native of Washington, DC with no great athletic abilities or aspirations, I never thought I would grow such an affinity for mountains, but I’ll admit, the natural beauty of Chambéry has swayed me. At least …

Vacation: Travels, Halloween, and the Great Assistant Reunification

Yes, you read that right. Vacation!! After working for less than two weeks, we had two weeks off for La Toussaint vacation. In fact, French schools have about two weeks of (paid!!!) vacation for every six weeks of school. Not a bad deal!! In lieu of lots of long posts about every fun event, which would probably take me another 3 months to write…I’m going to attempt shorter vignettes of the memorable moments, arranged more or less in chronological order, and sprinkled of course with pictures! REUNIFICATION DINNER Our attempt to unite all (well, most) of the Chambéry assistants, who have inadvertently been separated into mainly two groups: anglophones and Italians (and others) involved introducing the Italians to the game Mafia ….. which drew a few begrudging chuckles. We ended up changing it to Assassins to be more “politically correct” PICNIC AT LAC DU BOURGET Step one: procure alimentary items. Step two: take bus to beautiful lake surrounded by mountains and bathed in what has frequently been described to you (and rather ominously, you might add) as the last …

Started at the bottom, now we’re here

During my second week in Chambéry, I stayed with a really wonderful and generous woman who rents her spare room on Airbnb. The weekend that I stayed with her, she told me about a massive event was happening all over centre ville: La Grande Braderie de Chambéry. This is a massive market/yard sale that takes place twice a year in practically every single open space in the centre ville. There are official stalls that vendors and artisans rent to sell anything from antiques to cheese to leather products to clothing to books to ski equipment and on and on and on. These are supplemented by the particuliers who arrive 24 hours in advance to stake their claim on a plot of land in order to sell whatever the heck they’ve lugged with them from chez eux, including hand-me-downs, books, movies, dishes, refrigerators. They descended upon the town Saturday afternoon and stayed all through Sunday, camping out overnight. As Marie was explaining all of this I was thinking, Great! What fun to experience on one of my first …