France during the Summer… Grenoble Edition

So I’m now in France, and yup – it’s definitely summer… if I was to say there are lots of pretty girls around would be an understatement !!!

I arrived in Paris early Sunday morning, then due to some issues with trains ended up taking the TGV to Lyon and then a local train service out to the city of Grenoble where the company has a big presence.

Something I didn’t realize is that Grenoble is right in the midst of the Alps… in a bit of a valley surrounded on all sides by some pretty impressive looking mountains. It’s quite an old town, with a 17th century fort (the Bastille) on the hill overlooking both it and the river flowing through.

Incidentally the river is fed by the snow melt and glacier nearby… and is pretty fast moving.

So far my time here has been a bit of wandering around on Sunday afternoon, as well as each evening after work. It gets dark quite late, so Monday evening was a walk through the old town (followed by dinner in one of the brasseries in Plac Grenette), and Tuesday evening took the cable car up to the Bastille. The lifestyle here seems very laid back and outdoors’y… plenty of locals out enjoying the weather !!!


Experimenting with settings on the camera… kinda like the retro feel.


Plenty of outdoor dining… to enjoy the weather and the greenery.


View from my hotel room window… pretty impressive huh ?


Gare de Grenoble, with the company’s downtown office behind.


View from le Bastille… 745m above the valley floor.


The start of sunset


Exploring the Batterie et Grottes du le Bastille


Workmates Piotr and Pascal and our One Metre Beer. Although they’re Stella Artois glasses, the beer is actually Leffe… and it was cheaper to buy this way rather than beers each… honestly !!!


A little while later…


… and later still with Piotr starting to look a little seedy. No comment as to how much of the meter I drank !!!

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Words to live by… the Dave version at least !!!

This is from the menu of a place called Jack Astor’s in Toronto, where I took a break and had lunch while sight seeing.

Cenosillicaphobia… I suspect I may be a sufferer.

😉

btw – what’s with a non-alcoholic Becks ???

Sight seeing in Toronto

After the massive with my flights getting in so late on Sunday, I only had a small amount of time on Saturday to get any sight seeing in… but I still tried to make the most of it.

So after cabbing it to the airport and putting everything other than my camera gear into the Luggage Store, I “took the booss” to get “oot and aboot” in downtown Toronto.

Slight chaos and mayhem… they were filming some scenes for some Bollywood movie in a couple of buildings in the city, so they had a big function for these famous Indian actors (that I’d never heard of), and lots of tour busses, crew vehicles, security etc. around the place.

Despite all that, I got to see a few things and take a few pics… some of the ones I like below.

Rules

Weird Canadian rule #2
You can only check bags in for a flight 4 hours before it leaves… but if you have to wait (say) 5 or 6 hours for a connecting flight, they’ll let you check them… why is that ??? I didn’t want to lug everything with me through downtown Toronto – luckily there’s a “Luggage Store” in Toronto airport that not only sells luggage, but will store it for you short term also.

Weird Canadian rule #1 (that I’d forgotten to blog about earlier)
Flying Air Canada, when the plane is coming into land they stop you from using ipod’s etc. because it supposedly interferes with things. They leave the entertainment system on, but while announcing that they’re leaving it on they literally say “for your safety only earbud type headset plugged into the inflight entertainment system may be used”. For my safety ??? If the plan crashes… using a non-earbud type headset, or one that’s NOT plugged into the entertainment system I don’t think will really be up there as things that could hurt me…

Software guys… almost always Petrol Heads

Spent the day today with Dundas Software… a company who do dashboard and visualization software that we use.

Well, not surprisingly of the 3 guys that I deal with, two of them are petrol heads almost as bad as me, and into the same sorts of cars… Audi/VW and General Motors. The 3rd guy used to be into cars, but a wife and two daughters put paid to that.

Anyway, this is Jeff’s toy that we went to lunch in… a current model Chevy Camaro, and even in the sort of colour I would choose !!!

Pretty cool huh ???

Happy Birthday to me… Niagra Falls !!!

So today had a presentation to a 3rd party integrator during the afternoon, and since we finished up a bit after 3:30 the sales guy Andy took me out to see Niagra Falls.

Pretty damn impressive really… even on an overcast kinda day that wasn’t great for photo’s. Did the stereotypical Maid of the Mist boat ride and got VERY wet… glad the camera and lens are both splashproof.

Not bad for something different to do on my birthday I reckon !!!

😉


Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me…


Next, will be going down there… may possibly get a bit wet methinks…


Maid of the Mist VII, about to leave the dock


Reasonably close to the US falls


US falls


Up close and personal with the Canadian falls !!!

The Coffee War !!!

My mate Canadian Mike told me about this one before, but I never really beleived him… until now.

Everyone’s heard of Starbucks, the big American coffee chain. Well, in Canada they’ve got a similar company called Tim Horton’s, and the two companies have been going at it for quite a while trying to do each other over. The American newcomer trying to defeat the local brand if you like.

Canadian Mike said that in some places on one block there’d be a Tim Horton’s, then the next block there’d be a Starbucks, then a Tim Horton’s, then a Starbucks and so-on… and sometimes you’d get one of each in the same block.

Well, near the hotel here in Mississauga it’s even more over the top than that… on a single intersection (so 4 corners) there’s 3 coffee stores diagonally opposite each other… a Tim Horton’s, a Starbucks and a Tim Horton’s Express. Pretty insane huh ???

And the verdict from a touring Aussie ???

Well so far I’m leaning towards the Tim Horton’s… their breakfast food of bagels, wraps etc. seems to suit me pretty well.