Although I had entertained thoughts of visiting Italy while we were down in southeastern France, the huge traffic jam we saw going into the tunnel that leads there made me think better of going there. Going to Italy would have meant another trip through the fabulous but treacherous mountain pass that gave Bill white knuckles. So, instead of looking for another nearby town, we decided to go back to Annecy. Maybe we’d take a lake cruise. It would also give us the opportunity to visit the chateau, which offers museums to explore.
Sunday morning view!
Well, it turned out that visiting Annecy on a beautiful Sunday was an exercise in frustration. Annecy was absolutely flooded with people. The lunch cruise was completely booked and we struggled to find parking. We walked through the fresh market again, but it was very difficult because there were so many people. Bill was getting nervous about all the people crammed into the walkway. It was like being stuck in a stampede.
Nevertheless, we did get a chance to visit Annecy Castle, which required walking up a hill. We also happened to visit there on the first Sunday of the month, so admission was free of charge! I was glad to see that a lot of the signage offered English translation, so we didn’t have to guess too much about what we were seeing. One thing to mention is that the castle isn’t really a castle per se, as much as it is a group of museums. To be honest, I only saw the museum about the lake. Except from June until September, the castle closes from 12-2 pm and everybody gets kicked out so the staff can go to lunch. By the time we were ready to see the other museum, it was close to lunchtime. I wasn’t upset, though, since I wasn’t all that interested in the other museum anyway. There were a lot of people in there. Below are a few shots of Annecy from the hilltop. For some reason, there aren’t really any good viewing spots from the towers.
I was glad I had my digital camera with me, so I could zoom in a bit.
The entrance to the castle. I’m not sure why they made this a museum instead of simply showcasing the castle itself.
Signs in French, English, and Italian.
A couple of shots of fish from the lake, kept in the aquarium part of the museum.
I climbed a tower, hoping to see a view of Annecy. Instead, we got a view of a locked window. Oh well. At least I got some exercise.
Most days, patrons pay 5,50 euros to gain admittance to the castle/museum. We didn’t have to pay, so this was kind of a nice treat. I see it gets some mixed reviews on Trip Advisor. I think it pays to remember the museum closes from 12-2. Most of the negative reviews seem to come from people upset about being kicked out for lunch.
Speaking of lunch, Bill and I decided to walk around a bit to see if we could find something good. I usually try hard to avoid touristy spots, but it was kind of hard to do that in the old town part of Annecy. We ended up eating at Brasserie des Europeens, a rather corporate looking place across from the city hall. I wasn’t really keen to eat there, but I needed a break from the crowds and the manager was welcoming.
The terrace was hopping. It brought back flashbacks of my days waiting tables.
Bill checks out the extensive menu. It was actually kind of hard to choose something. They had everything from mussels to tartare.
This time, Bill got his salad… washed down with an Edelweiss beer garnished with lemon. I had a Fischer, which was supposedly Alsatian beer… made by Heineken.
I had a skewered hangar steak with frites and a salad. The steak was a little tough. I probably should have ordered it medium rare. Better yet, maybe I should have had mussels. That’s the kind of dish I can really only enjoy about once a year, though.
I got a kick out of their unisex bathroom. There was also a ladies only restroom. Both were way too small for the volume of business they were doing on Sunday. There was just one stall in the ladies room and two stalls plus a pissoir in the unisex restroom.
We had wine for lunch. As we were enjoying this, the terrace got slammed. It reminded me of an infamous scene on Spongebob Squarepants.
The folks at the table behind us ordered Crepes Suzette. The waitress left her bottle of Grand Marnier on the table while she went to get the proper pan… and one of the guys sitting there non-chalantly helped himself to a nip of it.
Bill reacts to the sneaky cordial thief.
After lunch, we took in yet another church…
A young girl sitting at the front of the church was giggling hysterically. I wasn’t sure if she was being irreverent or overcome by the spirit.
It was well worth stopping into this beautiful church, even with the hysterical giggling going on.
We strolled some more around Annecy and I took more photos of what was going on. There was a lot to see, since there were so many people!
It seems like every major French city has at least one carousel.
I was glad to be in Annecy when the clouds were gone. Of course, a sunny, warm Sunday means tons and tons of people. It’s not even the high season yet!
Pretty gardens near the church.
At around this time, I had to find a public restroom. Fortunately, France is very generous with its public facilities. Annecy is no exception. We found our way to one near a playground. This was the line.
It probably took about fifteen minutes to get my turn. Every time someone uses the potty, it gets hosed down. That keeps the toilets from stinking a lot, but they also never get a chance to dry out on a day like Sunday. Consequently, it was probably not the most hygienic situation, as evidenced by the looks on some of the people’s faces as they emerged.
A whole lotta peeing going on.
After my visit to the loo, we decided it was time to vacate Annecy for some peace and quiet at the hotel. I took a few more photos on the way out. Annecy was positively bustling with people engaged in all kinds of fun activities.
One coming in for a landing.
They’re braver than I am!
We decided not to have dinner at the hotel on Sunday night because the entree was veal. I like the way veal tastes, but I try not to eat it because of the way it’s made. I know… I am not a vegetarian by any means, but I think South Park spoiled veal for me. Also, the starter was mozzarella, which I do like, but only when it’s not cold. We could have asked for something else, but I decided I’d rather have something simpler for dinner anyway. We went to the snack bar next to the hotel, which was directly across the road from a campground and next to a cheesy looking bar/restaurant that didn’t yet appear to be open for the season.
Before we went to the snack bar, we walked down to the lake. It was an easy stroll from the hotel. Too bad we didn’t go there earlier in our visit.
Even better shots of the parasailing daredevils.
I love this shot. It’s probably destined for my Facebook cover.
We were eagerly greeted by a swarthy man who invited us to sit down and told us they had rotisserie chicken. I probably should have ordered that instead of the Margherita pizza I ordered. I can never finish them.
I probably should have split Bill’s pizza.
This was kind of a nice change, though. I’m sure the veal at the hotel was good. I probably would have loved it.
Another English speaking couple sat near us. It was a little weird because the female half seemed a bit high maintenance. I heard her say in a pissy voice, “I’m sorry I don’t speak French.” to the guy who was looking after everyone. He went and got his boss, who did speak English and seemed a little like Mr. Krabs on Spongebob Squarepants. He was all about the euros!
Before long, the snack bar filled up with people and the one guy who waited on us was soon overwhelmed with people. Bill had to hunt him down to pay him. The guy seemed relieved when Bill told him to keep the change.
Next time, I’ll do a better job looking for specific activities. Fortunately, the Annecy area has a lot to see. I think it would be worth another visit.