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Report 2015: Alpine Adventures and Other Travels in the Rhone, Rhin and Rhön

By wendy lynn from California USA, Summer 2012

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Page 8 of 21: Annecy, France: Chateau d'Annecy and Boat Ride on Lac Annecy

photo by

Joe on Lake Annecy

We wake up and check out the breakfast at the Hotel des Alpes. A decent but unspecial spread. Our least favorite so far, and the hotel charges €8 a piece extra for breakfast. But there is self service coffee which Joe and Wendy take full advantage of. Joe leaves to re-park the car before he gets a ticket and is quickly able to find a convenient parking garage. Daylight and a little sleep must have made the difference.

We walk around old town Annecy for awhile. It's less confusing and frustrating in the daylight. We follow the signs and walk up a hill toward Chateau d'Annecy. It's going to be a hot day, so it's nice to do the walking in the cooler morning hours. We pass a candy store with giant lollipops in the window. We'd seen it the night before and the sign seemed to suggest the owner was on vacation. But it's open today and the kids are thrilled!

The Chateau has an interesting modern art collection in the ancient castle, the residence of the Counts of Geneva until 1394. The castle went through numerous transformations during the 15th and 16th centuries, giving the castle its unusual style. The castle is a blend of medieval defensive architecture mixed with elegant French renaissance style. The castle was abandoned in the 18th century and bought by the Town of Annecy in 1953. Entrance is €5/adult and free for children.

Notable museum works included a giant hanging mole, a pile of trash, piles of sparkling sand and some shadows of stenciled bones. Another installation had a life sized child mannequin dressed up in modern clothes. When you walk into the room, the mannequin activates, making it appear like a real boy is hitting his head against the stone wall. A bit disconcerting.

After exhausting the Chateau, we walk down to the lake for the first time. Lac d'Annecy is lovely. The water is a beautiful blue color and the hills rising up around the lake create a beautiful setting. We see a few large boats moored that offer dinner cruises of the lake. Further down the path are small paddle boats and motor boats for rent. We decide to rent a boat for two hours, costing €100, and we go back to the hotel, grab our swimsuits, sunscreen and head back out to get the boat.

We have a full two hours on the lake, swimming and goofing around. The water is cool but not cold. Refreshing on a hot day. Lake Annecy is supposedly the cleanest lake in Europe, and it's easy to believe. It has a lovely blue color and the scenery is spectacular. Everyone takes turns swimming, although Wendy and Joe are continually afraid Margaret is going to drown or get too close to the engine. The boat is terribly slow, we imagine for safety reasons, and we realize we won't be able to explore much of the lake. We have a scare when Joe lets Alex drive and the boat stalls and won't restart, but the engine which was flooded after Alex's sharp turn-starts in a few minutes.

We return the boat exactly at the two hour mark, and Wendy and Julia go back to the hotel. Julia still claims she does not quite feel herself. Joe and the little kids try to walk to the next beach down, which has a large slide. It's pretty far. He buys the kids an ice cream. Then a long walk back to the hotel. They are such troopers!

Dinner is a melange from the supermarket. We open a bottle of wine (local, decent and only €3!). Joe would prefer a beer, but there is no cold beer anywhere since, strangely, supermarkets are prohibited by law from selling cold beer. Maybe to prevent Annecy turning into a party town? Or is it to promote French wine? We finish the donkey salami and have some dried raw beef from Valle D'Aosta, a baguette, apple, brie and a jar of pickled mussels which the kids polish off in seconds flat.

Alex lost a tooth today and wonders whether the tooth fairy will give him euros or dollars...

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