The hardest part of posting about our idyllic, too short, two night stay in Annecy is picking the photos! We stumbled on Annecy quite by accident just picking what looked like a nice place on the map (how did we ever travel before Google?) and booking what looked like a good bikable location at the apartment hotel Villa due Port. Then later Willy and Gert and their friends Yvonne and Pieke told us Annecy was a wonderful place and we should try to stay longer, so we booked a second night - we were lucky to get the same hotel but had to move to a different room - and they had no more rooms for the next night because the 12th marks the beginning of the French holidays. We had no idea HOW magical a place it really is until we finally arrived in the late afternoon of July 11 - after a very long drive from Willy and Gert's Provence Paradise - we were tired but immediately felt the pull of the lake and went for a walk along the lakeshore and a beer.
In the morning, after breakfast in the garden (bring your own egg... the French don't eat eggs at breakfast) we took off on bikes on a near-perfect trail over 3/4 of the way around the lake. This has to be one of the most scenic spots on earth... the photos tell the story far better than I can. The trail all along the west shore is on a very old railway - it even has a tunnel and a tiny engine to help imagine what travel must have been like 150 years ago. Near the south end of the lake we looked up into the sky and saw the amazing sight of hundreds - maybe more than a thousand - paragliders soaring off the impossibly high mountaintops and over the lake. At times like these we wish we still had a real camera! We pedaled down to watch them touching down south of the lake. Of course we couldn't get photos of their view, so I had to snip a few off the internet. This is definitely an unbelievable experience for the brave!
We pedaled down to the southern tip of the lake and from there caught a ferry boat back to the town at the north end. The town is very large and busy, but the south end is relatively quiet and there are lots of campgrounds. We promised ourselves a return trip and a longer stay someday.
When we returned to the holel we had to get settled in our new room, which was much nicer with a large balcony. We have 7 days before we turn in the car and 10 days before we get on the boat and we are very tardy in worrying about where to go next. We spent a lot of time working on that problem. Now that we are into the main Euro-holiday season nothing is simple and our normal approach of planning a day or two ahead doesn't work. We love the French camping cabins, but in July and August they all require a Saturday to Saturday stay. After much research, discussion, emailing and phone calls, and false starts,we finally came up with a workable solution.
All this hassle took us well into the evening, so we actually managed to wander down to the lake shore at the appropriate time for dinner. It was a beautiful clear evening, but no sooner did we get seated under a lovely canopy than a sudden lake-storm blew in and it started raining! With hand signals and smiles we invited a French couple who had just been served dinner on the uncovered deck to join us at our table. The storm blew over as fast as it blew in and afterward we capped off our perfect day in the perfect place with a perfect desert and a perfect stroll along the lakefront. A day to remember.