Saturday, June 24, 2017
Arrival in Annecy
Having taken the train from Paris towards Bruges and Amsterdam, the next phase of our trip involved taking a short flight to the Mount Blanc area, and continuing to explore France from there.
We started with a short morning flight from Amsterdam to Geneva. The Geneva airport is unusual in that it has exits into both Switzerland and France, since it’s right next to the border. And there are separate car rental places for either country’s exit. Since we were planning to drop off the car in Paris, we rented a car from the French side, which made the rental just a regular domestic one-way rental (international one-way rentals are much trickier to coordinate). Today, we were going to make our way to Annecy, France.
The catch is that the easiest route from the French side of Geneva airport to Annecy is actually through Switzerland. If you drive a car on Swiss highways, you need to buy a $40 sticker for the car, which is kind of pricey for the 5-10 miles for which we needed it. So, we worked out the instructions on the GPS to take the appropriate streets to avoid needing to buy the sticker for the highway.
Unfortunately, at a critical junction, the GPS fell behind and we ended up making a wrong turn. Of course, when the GPS re-routed us, we ended up exactly where we didn’t want to be. Fortunately, we made it to the next exit without any fines. And we ended up with a really nice Fiat!
Less than an hour later, we arrived in Annecy. What a beautiful town! Many people compare it to Luzern, Switzerland.
Our arrival was a little after 1pm, so by the time we figured out parking and got situated, it was suddenly an awkward time for lunch. In France, most restaurants serve lunch from 12-2pm, so if you miss this window, a real meal might be difficult. We did manage to find a shop that sold small sandwiches, so with two hungry kids, we felt fortunate.
There were quite a few antique markets. John really liked the fencing swords and guns. I had a ton of fun exploring.
After lunch, we headed down to the waterfront and wandered around. Amazing!
Next, the boys found a sunny exercise park that they wanted to play while Jeremy and I sat in the shady grass. While the weather was a little warmer than we experienced in Amsterdam, it was nowhere near the ridiculous heat we had in Paris the week before. At 85-90°F, we felt fortunate to be in the mountains. Just think what the temperatures must have been at lower elevations!
Unfortunately, we neglected to buy water after getting off the plane. With the heat, we quickly became dehydrated, so Jeremy left us in the shade while he went out to fetch water for everyone. After letting it soak in a bit, everyone felt a lot better.
A tip for traveling with a family is to keep a sharpie in your purse or daypack. Every time you get a new water-bottle, write your initials on the cap. Since we are all J’s, we use our middle initial. Then you can throw them in your daypack and not worry about getting your kids backwash or sharing their germs.
We used to bring reusable water bottles, but for extended travel, keeping them clean is often a problem. Once, we think we actually became physically ill from not keeping them clean enough. Since then, we typically will each buy a disposable water-bottle, then will either refill from the tap, or purchase a larger (2 liter or more) water-bottle and refill the smaller ones from that. Once it becomes gross, usually 3-7 days later, we will simply buy a new one.
One caution, if your kids tighten the caps, you might want to double check them if there is anything important in your daypack. In all our travels, we have probably had at least a handful of water-bottle related accidents. I usually carry the critical stuff in my purse, while Jeremy carries all of the heavier/bulkier, but less critical items in the daypack. If you are carrying all the passports, the guide book, and other odds and ends in a purse, try to have a cross body strap or you will have a sore back, neck, or shoulders by the end of your trip.
The rest of the afternoon was spent with wandering the town and soaking in the environment.
At one point, we decided to stop for pastries, which is always a highlight for everyone!
For dinner, we decided to get fondue. Another favorite!
After dinner, we took one last stroll around town, then picked up our car and drove a couple miles out of the town to our hotel. Ideally, we would have stayed in the old town, but in this particular case given compressed time in the area, a hotel a few minutes outside the city worked fairly well.
All-in-all, a very pleasant day. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. That said, we found the next day that we’d enjoy Chamonix even more. Hence, while we would return to Annecy, I suspect we’d be more likely to spend time again in Chamonix.
Keep reading our travel blog for more adventures in France!
Here are some more blog posts from this trip to Europe: