Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Highs and Lows in the French Alps

Sunset over Lake Annecy

The French Alps has to be one of the most beautiful regions in the world. Caroline and I based ourselves in Annecy which must be one of the most beautiful alpine towns I've ever been to. Lake Annecy is picture postcard stuff, one of the cleanest lakes in Europe. What more could one possibly want?

Lake Annecy, one of the cleanest lakes in Europe
 Ok, the stunning beauty counts for a lot, but one certainly pays for it. We drove to Annecy via autoroutes and the tolls were quite expensive. And as one would expect of a tourist town, the price of food, drink, souvenirs is a bit over the top. But our answer to that was to eat at our hotel from a supermarket, with cheese, ham, bread and yoghurt on the menu.

Palais de l'Isle, Annecy

Palais de l'Isle, Annecy

Archways, alleys and medieval buildings are a pleasure to walk around in Annecy

The price is something that we expected, but what we didn't expect was for our hire car to break down. This was an annoying episode which cost us most of a day in sight seeing. We drove the car out of the hotel parking lot, and within 50 metres, it just cut out and stopped. A mechanic came out and didn't know what was wrong with it, and then our rental car company towed it away and replaced it with another, which we thought was a pretty good result for us. The only problem was that we had to pick up the car from Lyon airport which is about 125 km. Hertz came up trumps and sent a taxi to pick us up and drop us at Lyon where we got a new car and drove it back to Annecy. The main hassle was that a whole day had been wasted by doing all this.

We put this behind us and chalked it up to experience. Our new car did get us to Chamonix the next day, though, before we head west towards the Pyrenees. One of the things we wanted to do was see Mont Blanc, Europe's biggest mountain. We were blessed with good weather, and a comfortable drive.

Mont Blanc towers above Chamonix (and everything else!)

Alpine rivers flow quickly, and wherever you are in Chamonix, Mont Blanc isn't too far from view

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