Friday, April 26, 2013

Spring in my steps


 
 
 
 


Now that spring is here (sort of) I’ve been taking myself and my dodgy knees for a ramble or two in the sunshine. After all, isn’t fresh air and exercise supposed to be the best remedy for depression? No, wait - that’s fluoxetine…

Anyway, fresh air and exercise works for me. My first outing took me to the Marais de Seiglières, a marsh situated at an altitude of 1150 metres, near St Martin d’Uriage. The spot was named after the seigle (rye) that was cultivated there in the thirteenth century and it is now classed as a conservation area.

 


This was not an arduous ramble – more of a gentle stroll through pine forests and across spongy marshland. I passed through the ruins of a hospital dating from the eleventh century, its walls now low, moss-covered banks. Whatever the hospital was built for – some say it was a leprosy hospital – it was certainly huge. I stood there for a few minutes, trying to imagine the place echoing with voices and footsteps - but all I could hear was the joyful singing of birds and the soft rustlings of the forest…


 
 
 


As I walked down towards the large pond in the middle of the marais, I had to keep an eye on my feet for fear of stepping on the numerous copulating toads that were strewn across my path. Spring, of course, is the season of love and new beginnings although the cynic in me says otherwise. I don’t believe in Fairy Tales. I once kissed a Handsome Prince you know, and guess what he turned into?





I went home at the end of the afternoon, refreshed in body and spirit and very slightly sunburnt.



My next walk was to Mont Jalla, the small peak that rises between the Bastille and the Mont Rachais. There are several tracks you can take and I took the easiest, because that’s the sort of person I am.


 
 


However, I had forgotten how noisy the place was. As well as the hordes of families with children and excited dogs, there was the constant drone of traffic rising up from the streets of Grenoble. And the closer I got to the top of the Bastille, the louder the rumblings from the bulles, the téléphérique that ferries people to and fro from the Jardin de Ville.


It was quieter when I finally reached the summit of Mont Jalla. I took a few minutes to wander around the Mémorial National des Troupes de Montagne, the war memorial built in the year 2000, and puzzle over some crumbling ruins perched on the cliff edge (the ruins were perched, not me). These turned out to be the remains of one of the world’s first industrial aerial tramways, used by the cement factory of the Porte de France to transport limestone mined from the mountain. What a shame. I had been hoping for something a little more romantic…


 

 


I took a different route down the mountain and sorely regretted it – the pun is intended. It was mostly stairs. Steep stairs. By the time I got to the Jardin des Dauphins at the bottom, I was hobbling. After a few minutes groaning on a bench, I decided to forego my principles and take the bus home. My poor, poor knees.

 

 



It is dreary today and the sky is dark with rain. But as soon as the sunshine returns and my knees have stopped creaking, I'll be off again - with a smile on my face and Spring in my steps...
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

2 comments:

Gigi said...
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Mary J. Hale said...
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