July 9, 2016
Today was a travel day, so after breakfast we packed up and said our good-byes. We were heading for Annecy; when we originally planned this trip we tried to schedule a visit to Annecy after the ill-fated Tour du Mont Blanc walk. We couldn’t understand why there was absolutely no availability there and then we noticed that we were trying to book for July 14. But July 9 seemed to be a bit better, and we had managed to get the last room in town.
Anyway we headed down to the Les Houches train station to wait for a train which would arrive at 10:32 am. But when we got there we found there was a train at 9:32 am and we were in time for that train, so we got onto that one and travelled down to Saint-Gervais-les-Bains. As it turned out a connecting train going to Annecy was already in the station there, so we validated our tickets and boarded it, arriving at Annecy at about 12:30 pm.
We had a bit of a problem then, because it turned out that Annecy has two Best Westerns and we didn’t remember which one we had booked. But “Carlton” didn’t sound right and it didn’t take long to find the other one, about five minutes’ walk from the station. Our room wasn’t ready yet, so after storing our luggage we headed into the “vieille ville” to find lunch.
Annecy is a lovely town on the edge of Lac d’Annecy with a canal and the river Thiou going through it. We walked from the hotel down to the river, following the map we had got at the hotel, and then followed the path towards the lake. Within a short distance we found a patisserie, so we went in and had lunch. We both felt better after eating. Then we continued along the path towards the lake; the buildings were painted nice colours and many of them had pretty flower baskets.
Along the canal we saw several families of ducks, swans, and grebes. The babies were particularly cute. Soon we arrived at the Old Prison, which stands in the middle of the river. Everybody photographs the Old Prison, but today it was under scaffolding. Quelle surprise. So we carried on until we reached the lake. The day was really hot so any spot in the shad was welcome; by the lake we sat on a shady bench for a snack. We decided today warranted an ice cream so we found an ice cream cart, where Rosemary had a cassis-flavoured cone and Paul chose banana. Only €2 for a cone, and they were really good.
By now it was getting close to 3 pm so we headed back to the hotel to check into our room. There was definitely nothing special about it but it was clean and had a small but very modern shower. We unpacked our stuff and turned on the TV to watch the end of stage 8 of the Tour de France. An amazing finish, as Chris Froome managed to take off and win solo, totally outsmarting the other contenders.
Paul had been getting a sore throat which had turned into a head cold, and Rosemary was a day behind, just starting on the sore throat. So we didn’t feel like a fancy dinner at all. Instead we bought baguette sandwiches and some iced tea and sat on a bench by the canal. It was really lovely sitting there for our meal. Once done we walked along the lake shore as far as Sévrier and back, which was a walk of about 10 kilometres.
July 10, 2016
Both of us felt worse this morning, but rather than sitting around the hotel room we headed out to the Carrefour to buy some food. Choosing some nectarines and apple juice we then went to the patisserie and bought two chocolate croissants.
We had decided that hiking in 30°C weather was out of the question, so our plan for this morning was to take the two-hour boat trip around Lac d’Annecy. We found the ticket booth and were in time for the 10:15 am departure; we even had time to sit on a bench in the shade and eat our breakfast. Hopefully being on a boat was going to be cooler.
At 10 am we boarded and chose seats in the stern under cover, but also open to the breeze if there was one. Considering how many seats there were, the boat was quite empty. The tour stopped briefly at numerous locations around the lake, and occasionally some passengers got on or off. It was quite a nice tour, with explanatory announcements in French and English describing the scenery and buildings that we were going by. Given how we felt, it was the perfect way to spend the morning.
We headed back to the hotel, stopping at the Carrefour to buy sandwiches, and the rest of the afternoon was spent watching today’s Tour de France stage (which was very long) and then some track and field.
Neither of us felt much like eating dinner, but Domino’s was just down the road so we went down there to get a Hawaiian pizza. The location was a hive of activity; they seemed to pumping out a pizza per minute and the guys on their scooters were buzzing in and out. When we got our pizza we walked down to the river and sat on a bench in the shade to eat it.
Later in the evening the final of the Euro 2016 soccer championship was on television, France versus Portugal, so it was a big deal here. It didn’t start until 9 pm and since it went into extra time it was well after 11 pm before it finished. But Portugal won, 1-0, so it was very quiet outside after the game!