February 26th, 2010

Back From Holiday

I've done too much- way, way too much. The things I've done too much of include climbing mountains and eating really wonderful food. I don't get many holidays, and when I do I hate to waste a moment of my time. I'm pretty crocked up- aching all over and with what I think is a mild chest infection-  but I don't regret a thing.

Sorry, I should have said I was going away. I had sort of hoped that the place we were going to would have had a wifi connection- and I'd have been able to keep in touch.  It didn't. There was an internet cafe in the village, but it only opened in the afternoons and my afternoons were far too precious to be spent in front of a screen.

Our nephew, Matt, works at CERN. Ruth- his mother- wanted to pay him a visit- and very generously took Ailz and me along as her travel companions. We stayed at Duingt- a village on the Lac d'Annecy, in France, but right up against the Swiss border, in the department of Haute-Savoie.  It took us two days to get there. From Manchester to Ashford by car, from Ashford to Paris by train, across Paris in a taxi, from Paris to Annecy by train.

Let me say at this point just how much I hate luggage. Luggage is fine for the rich. For the not so rich it's a ball and chain. Next time we travel abroad I swear we're going to limit ourselves to a small back-pack each- and anything we can't carry we'll buy and then abandon en route.

It was dark when we arrived so we couldn't see what we were getting into. We picked up our hire car from Hertz and drove from Annecy to Duingt.  Our appartment, which we'd been told was easy to access, had two flights of outside stairs- and some nasty, twisty uneven stairs inside as well. We grumbled a bit . And next morning we woke, opened the windows- and when we looked to the left we saw this.... 

and when we looked to the right we saw this.


Here are Ruth and Ailz- still in their night clothes- looking out and going "wow!"

Pictures Taken On The First Morning.

Here are some pictures I took the first morning in Duingt.

This is the chateau. There was an 11th century castle- of which a single tower remains. The building in the photo is mainly from the 18th and 19th centuries. Cezanne painted it.

This is a view looking up the lake- in a roughly southerly direction

And this is the view across the lake from Duignt's village square. The pollarded lime trees are typical of the region. We had one in our back yard.


Lunch In Entrevernes

We went shopping. The music coming over the speaker system in the supermarket was mostly English language drek. I noted Rod Stewart and Bonnie Tyler. I've been coming to France for nearly 50 years and in that time I've watched it grow notably less French. When I was a kid I was told you were taking your life in your hands if you addressed a French person in English.These days most of them are only too willing to try out their language skills on you. My conversational French is passable, my grammar lousy and I have a fairly large vocabulary. Most of the conversations I had featured me talking in French to a French person who replied in English. The world grows smaller, more homogenous. I think this is bound to happen- and that if we want to be fit to mix in planetary society it's important it does happen. All the same, I would have preferred Trent or Brel or even Chevalier to Rod.

We bought picnic food and took it up into the mountains. At the village of Entrevernes the road gave out so we pulled into the car-park and ate. The local cider- 99 cents a bottle- turned out to be exceptionally good.

The mountain is called La Tournette.


The next day - that'll be the Thursday- we went into Geneva. It was raining, the traffic was ghastly and we had trouble parking. I have mixed feelings about Geneva: on the one hand a noble tradition of free speech, on the other Calvinism- one of the most noxious, sadistic and hateful doctrines ever conceived by the mind of man. None of us enjoyed our stay. After a hurried lunch we drove along Lac Leman and found ourselves on a private road patrolled by security guards. We stopped to take pictures and a security guard approached- and asked us if we could give his vehicle a jump start.

In the evening we went to Matt's place and dropped off some stuff that Ruth had brought out from England for him.