Un Beau Début (A Beautiful Beginning)

Tiny rays shot through the corners of the plastic blinds, like surgical lasers aimed only at our corneas, awakening us from our all too brief dance with sleep. We had been chasing the sun for 5 hours via an Air Canada 767, and yes, we had finally caught it! There it was in all it’s splendor and beauty and yet it was causing a bit of havoc on our sleep starved bodies. In another hour we would land at Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Like cattle summoned by the troughs being filled, we queued our ragged bodies in the line marked Customs, and prepared our passports for inspection. Army officials patroled the baggage claim area, berets on head and machine guns in hand, pointing toward the ground. Their looks said “fit and mean” yet their language was seductive. Such diametrics would be plentiful in France.

Our train reservation to Lyon was for 1300. It was 1030 now and we thought we may be able to land on the 1100 Train instead but alas it was full and there was nothing more to do in the Airport than drink a beautiful Cafe Creme, paired beautifully with the flakiest of flaky croissants and tarte de pomme. It was a nice way to pass the time!

Our Eurail Pass was bought in Canada and through much consideration, we decided to take the 4 days in 2 Months France/Italy option, netting out at about 700 dollars for two. Since being here, we have learned that you can buy full year passes – amortized by month for about 900 Euros per year each. That may be an idea for the next trip! We were told that once in Italy, the train travel was fairly inexpensive.

We jumped on board the TGV to Lyon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TGV) and in 2 short hours were there. The bar car was a couple of cars away and Tim made his way there and bought a couple of 1664 beers for 6 Euros (8 bucks Canadian). We have decided that booze is cheaper here!

Once in Lyon we had a short layover. The train station is big with many shops, bars and cafes, but the outdoors proved more of a lure and we made our way toward the hot sunshine and relaxed in the small park amid the many colours of a Lyonnaise spring day!

We tried to make up a bit of time, catching another train to Annecy, via Chambery, but the train ended up stopping to wait for something or other, and we lost the time and lost our next connection. Yes, there is a lesson in there somewhere. C’est la vie.

We met a few people along the trail that were so remarkably warm and friendly, we wondered how the reputation de Francais ever came to be. We blamed it on Paris!!! One of the young men that we were speaking with was from Algiers and did not speak a word of English. It was okay, we managed to converse, of course. He was on his way to Annecy to visit his girlfriend and was VERY excited to get there. One look at Tim’s tattoo and he came up with “Peace and Love”, but that was it for his repertoire d’Anglais.

The other girl whom we sat with from Lyon to Chambery was an engineer with the Train company, designing the Right of Ways. Her English was exceptional, so we practiced our foreign languages on each other and had a few laughs along the way, while she explained where we should go and what we should eat.

After our 32 hour journey, we finally arrived into Annecy at 7:30 PM, dumped our bags at the hotel, and went in search of some dinner. We found it at Le Restaurante “Tex Mex”. This was a Tex Mex restaurant with an East Indian twist. We enjoyed a couple of Heinekens and some curried enchiladas – suprisingly delicious for 17 Euros!! Then it was off to find our dear departed friend…a peu de dormi!

Friday morning in Annecy was market day and all of the vendors were out in full force throughout the streets of Old Annecy. Everything was so fresh and so robust; the olives, the cheeses, the pastries, the spices, the beautiful fresh vegetables. It was pure music to our eyes. And it was a beautiful beginning!!

click here for a quick tour: Rolling Snapshot of Annecy!

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