In the spring of last year, the Gods of travel answered my prayers (in the form of Easyjet having a Europe-wide sale, obviously) so I decided to surprise my then-boyfriend with a weekend getaway to Geneva for his 25th birthday. Neither of us had been there before, and with us both being Easter babies, we both had some time off from work to go somewhere nice for a couple of days. The dirt cheap tickets were also a very welcome bonus.
I consider him to be one of the easiest types of travel buddy because he hasn’t travelled extensively through Europe, which means that nearly everything is a novelty to him. Being a Southern Californian who is used to enormous vehicles, mountainous portions of (alarmingly-)processed food and year-round sunny weather, I concluded that a romantic weekend break in one of the greyest, rainiest and most compact European cities was the obvious choice of host for his birthday celebrations. Is it any wonder he went on to marry me?
My relationship with terrible weather is somewhat of a long-standing and deep-rooted issue. Why? Because I actually really like it. I just love being cooped up indoors all nice and warm while listening to the pitter patter of rain outside. I live for comfortable pyjamas and hot cups of cocoa in front of the fire. I can’t get enough soaking in a hot, bubbly bath with a good book in the midst of an unrelenting thunderstorm. You get the picture.
Now, before you recoil in horror and scramble to exit this blog and never return, remember that I’m British, so it’s a comforting feeling of “home” for me. Anything above 15°C and I fly into a state of emergency-level panic. When I stayed with Eric’s family in Orange County for a month over the summer, I’m convinced that the incessant sunshine of the first few days sent me and my weak constitution into a Vitamin D overdose.
That being said, I also delight in beautiful weather, don’t get me wrong. I just need time to adjust lest I keel over in shock. On top of that, being a curly-haired individual means that drier, more manageable weather definitely suits me much better, but I definitely don’t think that a rain-strewn sky and the crackle of thunder puts a dampener on my fun. Geddit? Dampener. DAMP-ener. Ah, I crack myself up.
Ok, so where does Annecy come in? Well, whilst we were in Geneva, we took it upon ourselves to cram as much activity into our three-day trip as physically/financially possible. Call it making hay while the sun shines…even though the sun did not shine at any stage of our trip.
Annecy is located in southeastern France, roughly 30km south of Geneva, or to put it in layman’s terms – a pleasant and scenic bus ride away. I’d seen countless images of it online and fawned over how beautifully edited they appeared to be – a source of envy for someone as technologically-challenged as myself. However, I was wrong. (Which is unusual for me, just ask my husband!**)
It is so naturally picturesque that it looks like you’ve stepped straight into an Instagram account. No editing/convoluted photographic set-up necessary. Which meant we simply had to stop by whilst holidaying in Geneva.
We kicked things off by walking through the main part of the town, hungrily eyeing up freshly-prepared crêpes and enjoying the smell of hot coffee. The town itself is labyrinthine in nature, with lots of small streets that lead to other small streets. As we went in search of the lake, we paralleled a canal whose turquoise waters glistened in the mid-morning sun. Clusters of ducks bobbed calmly on the surface and children leant over the railings reaching down in an attempt to touch them.
One characteristic that we both considered remarkable about Annecy, especially given the fact that it is such a tourist hotspot, is its notable cleanliness. The place was immaculate – free of discarded cigarette butts, unsightly graffiti and rogue pieces of litter sullying its unadulterated charm.
The lake is a sight to behold and then some. Never in my 25 years of life have I ever seen such a spotless body of water, especially one of that size. It was truly incredible and the most beautiful mermaid-green, to boot. A photography lover’s dream. Small boats with towering sails danced around each other in one corner, and strings of colourful buoys divided the water’s surface into segments.
Naturally, when you’re lucky enough to behold a view such as this and you spot pedalos for hire at a short distance, you’re going to want to hop in one and row out into the middle of the lake and just sit there, wide-eyed. Right? Good, I’m glad you agree.
So that’s exactly what we did.
Thankfully Eric has a long history of running track and field competitively, whereas I only ever run in life-or-death situations, so he literally did all the leg-work as I sat back and marvelled at the breathtaking view before me. The Swiss Alps are the most majestic chain of mountains I’ve ever seen. So beautifully luscious and green, yet sporadically peppered with pockets of crisp, white snow.
Once we disembarked our pedalo after trying about 15 attempts to “park” it in an unforgivingly narrow space between two fishing boats, we headed over to the Pont des Amours, to embark upon the cheesiest couples photoshoot imaginable. Then we had an argument, so…balance?
We were fortunate enough to enjoy Annecy before the heavens decided to suddenly open and drench anyone and anything unlucky enough to be exposed to the elements. The rain in Annecy is temperamental, unrelenting and also absolutely freezing cold.
So if you’re considering a visit (which you should) then definitely bring a brolly, or in my case, nab a floor-length, luminous yellow poncho from the Brazilian volleyball tournament before you go and parade around like a radioactive banana with no shame.
**no, on second thoughts, don’t.
Have you ever visited Annecy? Or are you a pro at the old pedalo? Leave a comment and let me know!