Thursday, December 5, 2013

Annecy, France, where Adrienne forgot her passport and dropped a tomato on her dress

To begin with, I'm having a formatting problem with this blog. Every time I add a caption, the picture moves far away from where I would like it to be. Then, when I try and move it back, it deletes everything. After writing the entire blog and then seeing it disappear, I am choosing to just interject random comments mixed in with my stories.

While I was looking at a Facebook page, which I believe is called "Most Beautiful Places in the World," in February or March, I stumbled upon a picture of Annecy, France. I knew that we were staying a few nights in Geneva and that Geneva would be expensive, so I decided to see how far Annecy was from Geneva.

As luck would have it, it was just an hour and twenty minutes by train! I immediately added it to my list of places we had to visit during our time in Europe.

I'm so glad I did, because it was probably my second favorite place we visited, after Granada.

It was not Adrienne's favorite place, because she dropped a tomato on her dress, but we'll get to her pouting later.

(Interjection: The picture to the right is one of my favorites because I love everything about the building. The small windows, the flowers, the fact that it's directly on the water. It's so beautiful.)

I've mentioned before I'm a bit of a worrier when it comes to planning travel. Once I'm actually traveling, I don't worry a lot, but leading up to going I have to quadruple check everything. When I went to Japan in February, I had 4 completely empty pages left in my passport. I needed 3 empty pages to get my visa for China and I said to Elaine, "I'm nervous they're going to put one stamp on 2 different empty pages while I go through customs each way." And she said, "Lauren, it's amazing that you're even considering that as a possibility."

They did not stamp two different empty pages, only one. Probably because my worrying sent the message to them not to. I relate very strongly to the quote in "Bossypants" by Tina Fey as she said, "I keep my eyes on the sea, waiting to be rocketed into it on a wave of fire. I'll be ready for it to happen and that way it won't happen. It's a burden, being able to control situations with my hyper-vigilance, but its my lot in life."

(Interjection: The doors that clearly led straight into boats were fabulous; just like Venice!)

As a worrier, I reminded everyone not to forget their passports when we went to Annecy, since we were going into France from Switzerland. I was hoping to get a stamp in my passport, after the fiasco of not getting a stamp when we landed in Geneva from Spain. I was annoyed. Also, everything I read said we had to bring our passports.

The morning before we went to Annecy, I said to everyone, "Make sure not to forget your passports in the morning!"

That afternoon,  I said to everyone, "Make sure not to forget your passports in the morning!"

That evening, I said to Adrienne as we arrived back at the hostel, "Don't forget your passport in the morning!"

As she came back from her shower, I said, "Don't forget your passport!"

She said, "I know! Stop reminding me!

(Interjection: As you can see, a large part of the main area in Annecy is a Medieval city and extremely beautiful.

We woke up early the next morning and headed to the train station. We were on time, which was unusual because Adrienne takes approximately all day to put on her makeup. We were almost to the train station when Adrienne said, "I forgot my passport!"

Nobody listens to me. I reminded because I care, but did anyone listen to me? No! They said, "Lauren, stop worrying!"

I knew this would happen.

She sprinted back to the hostel. I almost decided not to go with her, just to spite her. Then I realized that, if she got kidnapped, mother would never speak to me again, so I followed her back to the hostel.

Luckily I did because Adrienne's card key chose that moment to stop working and she couldn't get into the building, let alone the room.

Needless to say, as we walked to the train station, late again, I was irritated.

(Interjection: To the right is, surprisingly, an almost normal picture of everyone!)

Also, as a worrier, I strongly believe that you should carry your passport at all times, in case of theft, regardless of the bolt locks on the lockers. (That evening, Adrienne managed to lock her keys in the locker. They were easily able to cut the very sturdy looking lock to rescue her suitcase. It proved my point about always carrying your passport.

They did not check our passports. Or any form of identification.

We arrived bright and early in to Annecy, tired and starving. We found a cafe and got some croissants and coffee and then began walking through town. Since we arrived so early, we were able to see the town with almost nobody else walking around, which was great!

Adrienne, for a change, is the normal one in the picture above! I am looking off into the distance, probably thinking about how much I want to hurt Adrienne for not listening to me, while secretly looking cheerful about it.

Hmm, what's going on with me? I seem to have lost the ability to look at the camera

And a normal picture! The first of Europe!
Oh, and I am lost in the hysteria of actually having taken a normal picture with Adrienne.
Anyway, back to Annecy. The town lies on the rather large, but not enormous, Lake Annecy in the Rhone-Alps.

I don't know a lot of the history, but I know that the Counter-Reformation, aka the Catholic Revival period, was centered in Annecy, which is interesting, since Geneva is so close and was one of the main centers of the Reformation. It was the capital of the House of Savoy.

Also, they've been excavating under the city and have found sites that they believe are from 2,500-3,100 BC. There was a Roman settlement there at one time.

The Medieval town was built around the Chateau d'Annecy, which they began to call "The New Annecy" in a text from 1107. The town is separated into several small parts by streams and canals coming from the lake.

It is also one the places the Tour de France goes through. It was actually passing through the day after we went this summer, which was fine with me because we missed a large majority of the crowds. I'd seen the Tour de France in Paris in 2005 when the traitor Lance Armstrong won, so I was ok with missing the crowds.

Also it was the site of a mass murder in 2012. I actually read about the murder around the time it happened.

I really really loved this town. It was just unbelievably beautiful. Every building was a different color with something unique about it. There were flowers, lovely doors, sparkling blue water and reflections. It was just perfect.

There were several clock towers throughout, which were very small and very cute.
It was so bright!
The churches were interesting and beautiful. This is the Roman Catholic Cathedral, built in the 1500's.
This view was my favorite part. The building in the center is the Palais de l'Isle, built in 1132. The Lord of Annecy lived there and later, the Counts of Geneva's headquarters. It was a jail, a courthouse, a mint and now a museum.

I just love the architecture and colors and reflections combining to make it perfect.
 There is a normal picture of the girls!
And a normal picture of us, except for Anna's hair trouble.
And then there's this picture, which makes me laugh hysterically every time I see it. Adrienne also laughs hysterically every time she sees it. She said the 100th time she saw it, she spit out her water in her hysteria.

There is no explanation for what she is doing. The only possibility I can think of is that she decided to whip her hair around like a model but ended up looking like a crazy person.
We wandered along the canals and streams and headed over to the lake.

The Chateau is the building you can see above the others.

Here's a church.
 There's the castle up there!
 Adrienne and Anna posing like "models," aka crazy people
 Adrienne attempting to whip her hair.
Adrienne and Allison trying to whip their hair while I have no idea that they are trying to do that.
I still have no idea and they are not doing a very good job at informing Anna that they are whipping their hair.
 Adrienne's whipping slightly.
I've now joined in on the whipping of the hair. It is completely unsuccessful and it looks like I am about to fall in the water and am yelling, "Help!"

And I'm falling...And Adrienne's hair looks like she's in Whoville.
While walking through the park, we were approached by another bachelor party. Rather than ask us to join in salsa dancing, they asked us if they could weigh us. They were carrying a scale. I said "Absolutely not!" They laughed and moved on to other tourists.
This tree was cool. Anna looks like she's been cut in half.

The lake was beautiful with the mountains and the boats...
 And small fountains.
And the molecules...
 And more fountains.

 And more birds! I love the birds!
The swan is looking beautiful with the fountain and the mountains in the background.
Oh wait, there's the swan's butt.
 A swan in the clear water. It pooped soon after.
Adrienne and Anna pointing at the swan butt. The swan's butt was in the air for an unnecessary amount of time.

 There were more baby birds!

And the mama bird who would dive and get the plants from the bottom to feed her babies.
 The plant life in the town was lovely.
While walking around the lake, we found a small exercise park.

Adrienne and Anna jumped on them to experiment.

Other tourists laughed at them.
Allison and Adrienne dancing for some reason, while Adrienne is perched on the exercise equipment.

And we're back to not being cooperative when I take pictures.
A little more cooperative, but Allison looks confused about it.
 And everyone's smiling!
Look how happy everyone was! That lasted until Tomato-Gate 2013.
 Adrienne's boat.

There were a lot of boats on the lake! It was such a nice day and people really took advantage of the weather.

 There were flowers everywhere! It was wonderful!

 So lovely.

 Colors colors everywhere!
 And the people have arrived for lunch!
 A slightly different angle of my favorite building.

After wandering the lake, we headed up the hill to the Chateau.

These buildings with the miniature windows were along the way.

 I believe this was a small hotel.

 There were segways when we arrived.
Here's the Chateau d'Annecy! It's quite beautiful.

We arrived and Anna immediately tripped.

That would have been fine except that she started gushing blood everywhere, requiring first aid attention. By the time the bandaid was finally on, there was blood all over the bricks.

So much for a quiet entrance.
 The first part of the chateau is a museum with various religious artifacts, most likely from the Counter-Reformation.

The Chateau was built between the 12th and 16th centuries.

They also have regional art within the museum.

Part of it also housed the ecological history of the lake which was not exciting and was in French.

 Here's the view from the window.
Adrienne decided this room was perfect for ballet. How embarrassing.

Well, it would have been embarrassing except nobody else seemed to be in the museum.

 This doesn't seem very ballet-like.

 A look out the other window.
Adrienne creeping out of the doorway, looking like she's coming in from a horror movie.
Looking towards the entrance of the museum.
 A view of the lake from the chateau.

 The Alps!

This is also a motel.
Walking back down, we saw a snail, which was very exciting.

We naturally bought some ice cream and then headed to lake to rest our feet in the water a little bit. The cold water felt nice on my travel worn feet. That is, until we noticed the dead fish floating nearby.

 Just a cute little side street.
The the little entryways everywhere were adorable.

 I love this.
We decided to get lunch at a little restaurant and this picture is of the view we saw as we were looking around. While at the restaurant, Tomato-Gate occurred.
 This is Adrienne before the Great Tomato Incident of 2013.
 Here we are.
While eating her pizza, Adrienne dropped a piece of tomato onto her dress and she was extremely dramatic about it. Supposedly, the dress is difficult to wash, which justified a full hour of pouting and a ruining of the day, in her mind.

She literally pouted for an hour.
Naturally, to try and stave off the pouting, I took pictures of the pouting.

I got the idea from mother when, on a trip as a teenager, Grant, Adrienne and I were fighting and she got us to stop by taking pictures of us.
Taking pictures did not work.
There were a lot of bikers coming through town! And by bikers, I mean Bicycle Riders.

After lunch, we walked around the town for quite a while longer.

Here's another clock. On a tower.

 I loved the little windows in almost every building.

A couple of my attempts to take an artistic picture.
 They were more successful than my later pictures.

I know this is basically the same picture as the one above, just zoomed in. I just couldn't decide which one I liked more.
We walked along a small stream.
 There's a little baby bridge. So pretty and cute.

 Some plant life growing out of the wall.

 A church.

 Here are some lions spewing water.

 This was a flower and creepy doll shop.

 Contesse du Barry! I do not know who that is!

(I have since learned that she is a Contesse who was ridiculously wealthy, was Louis XV's mistress and she hated Marie Antoinette. I need to read more French history).

 Another church.
 We were in France!
After a last round of the town, we headed to the train station, where we sat down and sweated while waiting for the train. The bathroom did not have toilet paper. It was unbelievably hot in the station. We looked forward to the air conditioning on the train.

We got onto the train and it was approximately 1200 degrees in the train car. It was like sitting inside Mt. Doom.
We sat suffering and sweating and suffering. Allison had just said, "How can we possibly survive an hour!" when a couple walked through the train car and we felt a blast of cool air.

Apparently, we were sitting on the ONE train car where the air conditioning was broken.

We continued on our trip much more comfortably from the air conditioned car.
We got dinner that night at a cafe near Adrienne and my hostel. We got crepes of course. Anna had a rather large bug land in her dinner. She freaked out and, in the midst of screaming, hurled the bug onto the ground in a pile of honey. I'm sure the bug was much more harmed than Anna, but she was mortified.

We walked around the lake in Geneva for a while, then headed to bed. We went to Montreux the next morning! But that will be the next blog.

The next few pictures are my failed attempts at taking an artistic picture. The flowers were being uncooperative.

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