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September 19th 2009
Published: November 24th 2009
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Day 22 continued (Friday, September 18, 2009)

A few hours after leaving Chamonix, we finally arrived in Annecy around 18:00, and were easily able to find Hôtel du Château without any problems. After parking the car in their free lot, we headed into the small hotel, which was slightly rustic, but in a very cute alpine way. Our room had an amazing view of Annecy and all of its colorful tile rooftops. After settling in, we immediately headed into town as both of us were starving. Neither one of us had had a proper meal that day, so after snacking on just bread and fruit, we were quite hungry. Since we were in the Alps region of France, eating fondue was a must for us. After conferring with our guidebooks on the many different restaurants in Annecy, we settled on a place called Le Freti, as it was listed as having reasonably priced fondues.

Before entering the restaurant, however, we decided to walk through Annecy for a bit. We were both surprised that the historical old town was much larger than we had expected. It was also far more beautiful that I had imagined it would be, with all of its multi-colored buildings reflecting beautifully upon the Thiou river.

We finally walked into the restaurant around 19:00, and were one of the first people there. After surveying the menu for at least ten minutes, we finally decided on ordering a bowl of onion soup (guidebook had indicated that it was great), a plate of various charcuterie, and cheese fondue, which came with potatoes and bread. Normally, we wouldn’t have ordered so much food, but for some strange reason, I was paranoid that we wouldn’t be full with just the cheese fondue alone; I think this was because I was starving. When our appetizers arrived, I was very pleased with the various meats on my charcuterie plate (salami, pancetta, prosciutto, ham, etc), while Mike was only mildly impressed with the onion soup.

Eventually, our large bowl of fondue was brought out along with the two bowls of dipping goodies. Mike took the first dip, and he said “wow, that’s some good stuff!” I soon dipped in as well, and declared that it was definitely the best tasting cheese fondue I had ever had. As we ate our way through the bread and potatoes, we soon began feeling very hot and very full; all of the previously unoccupied tables at the restaurant were now full of people, so the internal temperature of the room was quite warm. That warmth, combined with the hot fondue made for a rather uncomfortable experience. Regardless, we still enjoyed every last bite of that amazing fondue. And luckily, my precautions of having taken three lactaid pills worked wonders for me as I had no problems with the cheese that evening.

All in all, a wonderful day capped by a delicious dinner; it would have been the perfect day had we not spent nearly 230 Euros ($345 USD) earlier that day on all of our sightseeing adventures back in Chamonix. It had definitely been the most expensive day of travel ever, and one that we would spend days trying to recuperate our budget on.

Day 23 (Saturday, September 19, 2009)

Although we had been expecting to wake up to rain showers in Annecy, we actually woke up to partly cloudy skies, which was a pleasant surprise. After getting ready and checking out of the hotel, we headed out in order to further explore the historic core of Annecy. Although the streets were much less busy than the night before, there was still a whirl of activity going on as the shopkeepers and restaurateurs prepared for the coming day ahead. After walking through town for about an hour and stopping in to buy some things at a boulangerie, we headed back to the car and left Annecy.

Our second stop of the morning was to a tiny town about 15 minutes away from Annecy called Duingt. From this small village we had amazing views of Lac d'Annecy, which fortunately for us, was lit up beautifully during our visit by the sun. The clouds were still hovering over the nearby Alps however, so I knew our time in the sun would probably be short lived.

Just a few decades ago, Lac d'Annecy was extremely dirty and even unsafe to swim in. Fortunately, government agencies stepped in and undertook a massive campaign to clean-up the beautiful lake. Thanks to their great efforts, the lake is now one of the cleanest in all of France.

After enjoying views of the gorgeous lake for quite some time, we headed onwards to our next stop of another tiny village called Col de la Forclaz. Although only a short distance in kilometers from Annecy, because this village was located up in the foothills, it took nearly 45 minutes to reach by way of very twisty and windy roads. Once we reached Col de la Forclaz though, we knew it had well been worth the motion sickness we were both feeling as the views of Lac d'Annecy and further of Annecy itself were absolutely incredible. I had wished that the weather would have been slightly more clear so that I could have obtained better shots of the area; however, it was still beautiful, nonetheless. The viewpoint in Col de la Forclaz from which we were standing was also the launching pad for hang gliders. Hang gliding is something we’ve always wanted to do, and had we had more time and better weather, gliding over the gorgeous waters of Lac D’Annecy.

After enjoying the views, we got back into the car and headed towards Chamonix again, where we would spend the next two nights.

In hindsight, I wish that we would have been able to spend more time in and around Annecy. I would have liked to have dedicated more time to further exploring the beautiful and colorful city, and it would have also been great had we been able to partake in some boating activities on the lake. My advice to those visiting Annecy is to spend no less than two full days in the city; with the multitude of things to do in and around Annecy, you will not find any of your time wasted!

Please see the prior entry on Chamonix for a continuation of this travel day.

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