Thursday July 10, 2008
I got to Charles de Gaule Airport without any problems, but actually getting there wasn’t my biggest fear; it was getting into the country. At the customs booth, I was ready. I had my “just visiting” story down and I had the “I’m just a tourist” look down. As it happens, I didn’t need it. The customs officer just stamped my passport and let me right in. No interview, no questions, nothing . Thank God.
I grabbed my things and started heading off towards Terminal 2 where I had a train to catch. After wasting about an hour looking for the terminal, I got my act together and found it just in time. When I say just in time, I mean it in the most litteral way. When I found it, the train lady was blowing her “all aboard” whistle. I asked her if this was the right train, and she literally pushed me in. I’m not sure if I’m conveying how frightening this was, but making a train with a 40lbs pack on the literal last second is exhilarating, but not something I’ll ever aim to repeat.
Also, it turns out I had a ticket for a TGV ride, some I was expecting to be much cooler and futuristic.
After a transfer in Lyon and 5 hours of travel, I finally reached Annecy. I don’t have the proper vocabulary to describe how spectacular Annecy is. I would image this is where words like beauty, romance and magnifique got their start. But for all it’s beauty, it’s a huge pain to navigate (like any European city).
I decided to take a supper break at a nice little Italian restaurant where I sat next to a man finishing his meal. He saw the Canadian flag on my backpack and we had a great chat over my supper (his desert).
Now that I regained some energy, I decided to try to find my hostel. I had a vague idea of it’s location, but nothing concrete; I was following bus stop signs to find it. I’ll admit. I had no idea where I was going. On my way up a steep hill (I was pretty sure it was the right direction), a generous couple who had seen me around town decided to give me a lift. Awesome!
I got to the hostel, settled in and decided to take a nice evening stroll by the lake. This place is as beautiful at night as it is in the day.
When I packed it in for the night, I finally got to meet my roommates: an older Frenchman, a Thai and a Scott. The Scott said he was going to hike up the Semnoz in the morning. Maybe I’ll go with him. I might as well check out the view since I’m here.