Sunday, June 24, 2012

Amazing Annecy in the French Alps

Sunday, June 24, 2012
Annecy-Lyon, France

It is not quite the end of the day yet--only 7.00 pm-- in Lyon, but I have had an amazing day in Annecy and I'm not sure I will have a lot of time to blog later--so here goes.

I awoke at 8.00 am only to find that almost everyone in the Tougne household was awake as well. A quick breakfast followed (chocolately bread and cafe au lait) and then along came Genevieve to the table and ready to drive me off to Annecy today so that I could continue my tour of the French Alps.

Just fifteen minutes later, we headed along the beautiful mountain road to Annecy with a quick stop at the cemetery where Genevieve's parents, Raymond and Lisette, are buried as I wanted to pay my respects to a couple who were always warmly welcoming of me whenever I was their house guest in France. And then we were off past beautiful verdant pasture and rolling hills to the lovely town of Annecy.

The Endless Charms of Annecy:
Annecy is a picture-perfect little mountain town. Every time I have visited it, I have loved it just a little bit more. Today happened to be Market Day and my Genevieve's sister Chantal had warned me to be careful of my possessions. The town was packed as folks bought and sold briskly along the banks of the many canals that crisscross the town. In many ways, Annecy reminds me of Venice or Amsterdam as it is a maze of picturesque bridges, narrow pathways, stone squares, tall towers composed of clocks and bells that chime from time to time. It is an ancient town not too far from the Swiss border--which is why you will find architectural elements that are distinctly Swiss--onion domed churches, for one thing, take the place of skinny spires. When they are not made of stone, the facades of buildings are painted in vivid warm colors--yellows, ochres, peaches and cream. Narrow bridges link the canals together and are lined by shops that offer refreshment in the form of cocktails, traditional Savoyarde cooking (meaning fondue and raclette) and all sorts of regional foods: salami sausages, cheese made with milk produced by the cows that are seen in every field. It is all enchanting--all of it.

I found a church--the Church of St. Francis de Sales--and since it was a Sunday and I needed a mass, inside I went--only to find that mass had just begun and was in Italian. I still cannot fathom why it was in Italian--but there you are! After mass and communion, I was out in the bright, warm sunshine making my way towards Annecy's famous lake. I wondered about taking a cruise on the lake; but then I felt that there wa so many more exciting things to see in this magical town that I dropped the idea of the cruise and pressed on towards Le Pont Des Amours (Lover's Bridge) past the beautiful park.

At lunch, I found the perfect sandwich: A Sandwich Chaud avec Jambon and Raclette Cru (that is to say a sandwich with ham and melted raclette cheese served with cornichons). All that cheese just oozed out as I tried to handle it. It was wonderful. Such a treat! I sat in the park and ate it and watched the world go by and enjoyed every second of what turned out to be a perfect day!

By the time I rejoined Genevieve, the weekly market was closing up and the vendors were pulling their stalls down. Perfect time for me to find my ride and get back to Lyon--which was exactly what we did.

I spent the afternoon relaxing by the pool at Genevieve's home in Lyon when I caught up on my blog.

Family Dinner By the Pool:
Genevieve stirred up a simple but very satisfying dinner after having spent a good while in the afternoon lounging at the pool: Tapenade and Aubergine caviar with bread made neat tartines, brochettes and merguez sausage with potato croquettes, fresh strawberries with chestnut mousse. There was a lot of laughter, a lot of joking (most of which I did not understand) with a house guest named Remi who is spending the night with Louis.

But soon it was time to turn in and that was what we did. Bonne Nuit.

A demain!

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