I've been avoiding this topic for awhile. The topic of trips and real stuff that you can't embellish and you need to look up the proper spellings and names for. Details aren't my strong point.
Our trip to Annecy was actually a school field trip. We arrived with people from our school but were basically on our own once we arrived.
Our first stop was here:
Which is known as the symbol of the town. Open almost any guide or booklet about Annecy and you'll see the picture of the Palais de L'ile. We did not get to go in (you'll see why in a minute) though I'd like to someday. The town puts a lot of work into the area downtown with flowers all along the river and across the bridges.
Then we walked up a steep hill to the Chateau d'Annecy.
Basically an old castle that sits at the top of a big hill with the city spreading out below to Lac d'Annecy. C somehow thought that all the wells at the castle had whales in them. I don't know if he thought that "well" meant "whale." Now that I think of it, they do sound similar. It caused a few frustrating conversations.
C [looking down a big well]: "I don't see any whales."
Me: "There aren't any whales. This is where people a long time ago used to get their water for drinking."
C: "Are the whales sleeping?"
Me: "You aren't going to see whales. They would be too big to fit in there."
C: "Oh. Are they eating fish?"
C: "I don't see any whales."
Me: "Uhh. Me neither. Wonder where they are."
The Museum was okay. The kids were free and we got a group rate to get in, thankfully. I guess I was hoping to see the castle the way it might have been used way back in the 16th century or at least partially so. Basically, the exhibits just presented what they've found in Lake Annecy and some old furniture. Mildly interesting to us, but not so much to the kids. Also, some of the castle is set-up with modern facilities for receptions (or some such things) which reflects more of today than yesteryear. In fairness, I should say that we only saw about half of the castle. And it closed promptly at noon.
We know this because we were about to go see the second building (which reportedly has an aquarium) when we decided to take lunch early (the kids were a little crabby and hence, so were the parents). Mid lunch the security guard came over to tell us they are closing for lunch and then stands nearby watching us pack-up and leave. We could've come back at 2 p.m to resume our tour, but our ride was leaving Annecy at 3 p.m. and we decided it wasn't worth our time and effort to remount the high hill.
Then as we were lamenting our fate of being kicked out, it started to rain and we realized we hadn't brought umbrellas. The kids started to ask about going home and we started to wonder if this could be a great idea indeed. We ended up finishing our lunch standing under the awning of the many closed shops in the downtown area. We pondered what we could do, wondering why we hadn't anticipated the museum closing. Of course, the French always take two hours for lunch. Everything but the restaurants close. We did some window shopping. There are a lot of cute shops that we did not go into, but would if we could. Chocolate shops, art galleries, souvenir shops - all closed.
We wandered towards the lake and then the sun came out and the kids started playing in the grass. The lake has a grassy park near it with a paved path that goes around part of it (perfect for running, rollerblading, bicycling). There's a playground within the park as well. We sat on a bench and Mr. French started speaking French to a Japanese girl who was sitting next to us. Between French and English we learned she was here in France studying how to make cakes (we think).
Then we decided to take a boat out on Lac d'Annecy and this turned out to be the highlight of the day. The view was beautiful! We could have taken a paddle boat, but our children seemed a little too young; Mr. French thought it would be too slow and we both had visions of J jumping off the side. So a motorboat it was. All the males enjoyed driving it.
The lake is huge and much bigger than it seems from one shore to the other. It's surrounded by mountains on the opposite shore from the town. The weather was perfect and none of the pictures we took look as beautiful as they should.
We took pictures of people standing around a beautiful house on the opposite shore. My first thought was that it was a party, then I thought it may be a funeral.
Then they started to look Amish to me (suspend your common sense for a second, please). We snapped several pictures, just for the amusement of it. When we got home, we blew them up to see if it was a cover for an Amish-Funeral-but-really-a-French-police-sting-operation.
Alas, it all looked very normal blown up.
I was slightly disappointed. (No, I don't get out much. Why do you ask?)
We did mysteriously lose J's shoe.
We noticed it was missing right before we started to climb into the boat and even though the water is very clear (I think it's known as the cleanest lake in France), we never saw it again. Thankfully, we had the stroller and didn't have to carry him everywhere.
The last thing we did was get freshly made ice cream/sorbet cones for everyone (except for C, who is Mr. No-Thank-You when it comes to trying new food). French ice cream and sorbet generally have a more concentrated flavor than the American counterpart. Generally, I'd say it's better. The man who served us was very generous with the servings and gave us two extra flavors to try with each ice cream cone. There were probably 30-40 flavors to choose from so that was especially nice.
Overall, a nice day-trip. We look forward to going back before we leave.