Monday, June 07, 2010

Annecy Rambling II

This city/town has been greatly influenced by the nearby mountains in its architecture. It became apparent when we were cycling round the lake yesterday. The stand-alone houses, especially the older ones, were very reminicsent of the Swiss chalet style with which you are no doubt familiar. Souvenir stalls around the city sell the clanking cow bells for you to take home and hang on your wall to remember your trip. I looked at the map the other day and, blow me down, there was Switzerland! Seemingly just a stone's throw away from Annecy! [There is still enough un-Swiss-ness here to remind oneself that one is still in France, however. It's not all THAT freaking Swiss.]

Grassy parks and gardens surround the lake making it a wonderful place for a holiday. Many camping parks along the shores are testament to the fact that the old 'lac d'Annecy' is a popular tourist summer destination. [There are plenty of vacancies in these 'campings' at the moment, though, summer holidays are still a good way off.]

Apparently the lake wasn't always as pristine and clear as it is today. In the early 1950s the decision was taken to clean up the cesspool and rubbish dump that the lake had become (YUCK!). Today, the travel book tells us, more than 20 million holiday-makers come to Annecy to buy cow bells to help them remember their trip. That's a lot of cow bells!

The hire bikes on which we rode around the lake were brand new tourers. Quite light and, overall, very impressive. It took us 4 hours to circumcyclate the lake, including a perfect lunch stop beside a chateau. [Bloggs 'pinged' us with news of a visit to the Blanch household of Georgia, Banjo and Hugh. He had missed them though and was kicking himself.]

The total distance around the lake was just over 40 km, so it wasn't a huge day on the bikes. It did serve as a gentle reminder of just how unused to cycling our bottoms had become, however. Not to worry, there are lots of dedicated bike tracks (as well as dedicated cyclists) around and about these here parts. It's a sunny day AGAIN here today and we shall be venturing even further afield on our bikes.



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