I’m pleased to report that we won’t be heading home just yet. Either the tablets worked, or the Saint like diet I put myself on for the last week has done the trick. Thankfully, I’m feeling back to as normal as I’ve ever been. With our immediate travel plans a bit up in the air, we had decided to head to Lake Annecy regardless. The journey across from Gray took nearly 4 hours, but we were hoping that it’d be worth it. Friends of ours had visited previously and tried to explain how beautiful it was. However, it’s not until you see it for yourself that you appreciate just how magnificent it actually is.
There is a free aire (camping place) in Annecy and we hoped that it’d be easy pickings for a space. How wrong we were. Not only were the 10 spots of the official aire taken, the wasteland at the side of it had been taken over by motorhomes too. I’d guess at least another thirty vans were in there, squeezed in to every nook and cranny. Running low on water we decided to fill at the service point anyway. Just as we were packing the hose away, a couple walked up to their van and started to remove its heat resistant screens to get ready to leave. Result! Well, apart from the fact it was the spot next to the toilet and waste water dumping Station. The view from our van….
Beggars can’t be choosers, so we pulled in to the space and settled the van down for the night. The pong of the drain was nothing a peg on our noses wouldn’t sort!
The aire was situated literally 200 metres away from the lake, so we didn’t have far to walk once we turned the gas on and locked up. With it being early evening, the sun was still shining and people were still in the lake or laid beside it on the grass.
The main town centre just a twenty minute walk, so we had a stroll down there for a look. The lake is beautiful and so is the centre. Its all geared up for tourists as you’d expect with restaurants and bars every 5 yards. Although, across from the centre is a large parkland area which was busy with people enjoying picnics and icecreams. Having just arrived, we thought we’d just potter around, but plans were being hatched to cycle around the lake the following morning. As most of it is flat and on really good cycle lanes, we didn’t think that the 20 or so miles would be too much of a stretch.
After a peaceful night’s kip we were woken by the continuous flow of motorhomes wanting to empty their water tank and toilet. Not a particularly nice sight first thing, so we had our breakfast, packed the bag, and set off. The sun was shining and thankfully the forecast suggested that the blue skies would continue for the rest of the day.
In addition to the hundreds of cyclists bombing around, we could see up in the skies scores of paragliders. Not something a camera phone picks up very well unfortunately. They looked like gigantic birds of prey soaring in the wind. We eventually made it to where they landed, but that was after we’d taken a bit of a wrong turn. Our extended tour took us up a ridiculously steep climb with switch back turns thrown in for good measure.
It was a great feeling to get to the top. I’m not sure Sarah thought that though. Throwing her bike on the floor she just about resisted a full blown tantrum. I couldn’t laugh, I was too tired!! We didn’t realise it but the Tour de France has staged around these parts previously. Our 20 or so miles would just be a warm up for those fellas.
From all sides of the lake we were treated to some amazing views and scenary. The highest peak which has to be over 3000 metres, peering down on us all the while. It had been shrouded in cloud the previous evening, but was now standing proud against the bright blue sky.
The miles ticked along and we finally arrived back to the van 23.6miles and 2hours 46 later. It had been such a great ride, even the ridiculous hill had its part to play. Once the bikes were re racked and lunch was made, we headed back down to the lake for a dip and to soak up some rays. Surprisingly, the crystal clear water was bearable. Normally, your toes feel like they could literally freeze off, but that wasn’t the case and we had a good swim before collapsing on our towels. Our legs were starting to feel the mornings efforts.
Having missed out on Lake Konstanz due to dodgy weather, we’re so glad we made it to Annecy. It’s slotting in to the top 5 of places we’ve visited, easily.
As for that hill climb, the less said about that the better!