After so many weeks of hard work in Lausanne, I decided that it was time to get out of the country for a little break! My friend Ayumi and I picked the small French town of Annecy to spend the past weekend. We had heard that people called it “Little Venice” and it definitely did not disappoint. Canals and rivers crossed the entire city, with countless walking bridges that gave the most perfect picture of the old, colorful buildings which lined the canals. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, we found the lake. You would think that a giant lake would be easy to find, but it took us about 5 minutes to get completely lost, and then another 45 minutes of walking to find it. And it turns out, it was about 15 minutes from our Airbnb! We are clearly seasoned travelers.
That being said, the view was worth all of the exhausted-walking in the world. I hate to be repetitive, but I really don’t think that I will ever get sick of mountains and water. We sat in front of the lake and ate our nutritious breakfast of cheesy quiche and macarons (which, by the way, are my absolute favorite food on the entire planet) and got to look at this amazing view. The weather was beautiful and so many families were out enjoying the lake with their families. We couldn’t stop talking about how lucky we were to be experiencing this, and how unreal it felt. It finally hit us that we are really here, thousands of miles from home, seeing the things we dreamed about seeing for our entire lives. At the same time, I can’t help but think of all the places I still have to see, all of the places that are on my list and all of the incredible places that haven’t even made it onto the list (yet).
And now onto a slightly embarrassing confession. During our time in Annecy, surrounded by all the beautiful canals and bridges and old buildings, we spent a solid hour in Monoprix, the French equivalent of Target. We had gone in to find snacks, and we left with about 100 euros worth of groceries to take home. I have not mentioned this before but Switzerland is PRICEY. For the first time in my life, I have to shop like a real adult and unfortunately after a month in a half here, I can tell you which brands sell the cheapest pasta sauce per gram (I really sound like a middle-aged mom now and its beginning to scare me). When we finally got to France and saw that everything is about 3 times cheaper, we went absolutely crazy. We came to France for the mountains, but the best find was the cheap groceries.
After calming our thrifty grocery-shopping selves down, we finally got back to the city. We visited all of the little boutiques in town and really just walked around to see all of the amazing old architecture and bridges. Of course, we got a classic tourist picture on “Le pont des amours” and another with the mountains and lake in the background.
With all of our walking and shopping, we were starving and decided to have dinner in a French fast-food restaurant, Quick. I know it sounds weird to pick fast-food while in France, the center of all culinary genius, but all we really wanted was a burger and fries. As an American, I am proud to report that McDonald’s is a much tastier choice for greasy, unhealthy food, even though Quick was throwing some major shade with the caption on their boxes.
On the more sophisticated side of food, we also visited the Sunday market in Annecy, which was special because almost everything is closed in Switzerland on Sundays. We were expecting a small market with mostly fruits and vegetables, but what we got was so much more. Throughout the streets, there were stands with cheeses, meats, pastries, spices, and wines in every direction. The market was amazing because of all of the food, but even more so because all of the people. It was easy to see that this market was a weekly event that brought the whole town together each week to enjoy lazy Sundays together. The French use a term called “la convivialité” that is basically all that makes life enjoyable and happy. This market was the definition of convivialité!
All in all, we had a great relaxing weekend in Annecy, and it made us really appreciate how lucky we are to be spending a whole semester in one of the most beautiful places in the world. That being said, on Sunday afternoon, we were beyond relieved to be heading to our temporary ‘home’ in Lausanne, high prices and all.