Monday, June 29, 2009

Fête de la Musique à Grenoble

I will remember 21st June 2009 as the day when I first saw what is called a festival of music. If you read in wiki, it will tell you the idea was first conceived by American musician Joel Cohen, who proposed a all-night music festival at the moment of the summer solstice. Later on French Music and Dance director Maurice Fleuret took the idea and the first festival was held in 1982. Well, as they say the rest is history. Being the longest day of the year me and my friends started to go around quite early. Our visit started with a visit to the nearest place from my apartment that is Victor Hugo park. There a group three guys were playing nice music on their instruments. The same park had another stage where we heard a few French songs. Some of the groups were amateur but many were professionals as well. So we stayed around that place for a while. People were so enthusiastic that some climbed on the statue of Hector Berlioz to get a better view. The groups changed after sometime. Then we moved into another place where a group of amateurs were playing soft rock. Then walking towards another crossing we came across two guys who had just setup their own place with just two chairs and their musical instruments. A similar thing I saw at another place where a lady had setup her instruments and was singing to a large crowd. I think when pioneers of this festival started this event they had exactly this image of city streets filled with musicians wherever you go somebody is playing a tune. The next stop took us to Place St Andre where a professional team was playing some modern classical. It was being conducted by a professional conductor. If I am not mistaken I had listened to this group earlier in a concert here in Grenoble itself but I am not sure. Here we stayed for sometime and were completely lost in the melodies being dished out. Our last stop took us to Chavant. Here a group of young people were singing some popular songs which I am not sure but think was soft rock. By the time we reached Chavant it was midnight, five hours from the time we started. So last stop Istanbul kebab shop for dinner and back home with nothing but a full belly and sweet memories.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Trip to Lac de Monteynard-Avignonet - An experience to remember

I have been thinking of writing about this for quite sometime now. Last week on 1st June it was holiday for us. So me and my friends decided to visit Lac de Monteynard-Avignonet which is a man made lake 10 kms long and at places upto 300m wide. So we set out for the lake though we did not plan properly as to how to reach it just a brief sketch. We got down at a place close to the lake or we thought close to the lake. Since we could not find our way, we asked a local person and he told us go down the way a little and then you will see a road bifurcating from the highway, take that road down all the way. So we set out and then saw a road bifurcating and took it. That led us into the jungle. We walked for about an hour in the jungle and then we realized that we are lost and probably have taken the wrong crossroad. So now the aim became to get out of the jungle and ask somebody again for the direction. Walking another half an hour we finally came out on a small road. All this time in the jungle we could see the lake from far off but never could get close to it. So coming out we saw a small farm where an old guy was working in his garden. We walked in and in our imperfect French explained to the person that we are lost and we would like to go to the lake. The old man told us in no uncertain terms that it is impossible to go to lake from here on foot. You need to have a car. We said we have no car so tell us how to get back to the bus stop from where we will catch our bus back home. He said why the bus stop, you have come so far and you will go back without seeing the lake. This is not fair. By that time his wife had also joined the conversation. They said we will take you guys to the lake in our car. It was like we dropped from the sky and before we could even figure out what was going on we were in their cars and heading towards the lake. We stopped at a place to take a few pictures of the lake from the top of a cliff. After that they took us directly to the lake. It was a beautiful place with lot of wind and clear blue water. There were lot of people camping around with some people doing water sports. We stayed there for half an hour and then the old couple took us to restaurant for a drink where we payed even though the lady was reluctant to let us pay. While sitting in the restaurant we exchanged our names, places we came from, where we live in France and things like that. After the small drinks party they invited us to their house in the village for some wine and cake which we readily accepted. The wine was superb as was the cake. Their one of my friends sang an Indian song and then we chatted for sometime about our daily lives. In the end they dropped us at the bus stop from where we took our bus back home. While coming back to the bus stop we realized the mistake we had done at the first place while taking a crossroad. Well no regrets, at least this mistake led us to two wonderful people. In the end we had nothing else to say but to admire the people and really ponder over the fact that there are still people in this world who would believe in you without knowing anything about you.