And relax…

With the combination of the Tour du Ruan and the Tour du Mont Blanc, Andy had just completed 18 consecutive days of hiking. I had done the same except for my two-day break in Geneva. We really needed a break.

As much as we liked our hotel in Les Houches, we (especially me) were pretty keen to leave the Chamonix Valley. We scouted around on Airbnb and ended up booking a place that was really cheap in the town Passy, right next to St Gervais Les Bains which is only just out of the valley. We caught the train and cycled to the apartment which was the lower storey of a French lady’s house. It was pretty sweet setup and we spent the next two nights there doing very little. It was exciting to be able to cook in a proper kitchen (with a gas stove even) and we were able to get through our mountain of laundry. A washing machine has very quickly made it onto our list of non-negotiables when looking for Airbnb houses.

Somehow whenever we have access to a proper kitchen we always end up making nachos

From St Gervais Les Bains we caught a couple of trains to Annecy. Eons ago, I think while we were with Andy’s parents in Gensac, we had booked high-speed train tickets from Annecy to Paris. After paying a fortune for tickets from Modane to Bordeaux we had been keen to get in early for a good deal. Now it was time to actually use the tickets. We checked into the only hostel in Annecy, which was pretty cool actually, and set off on an afternoon tour of the town by bike.

Annecy old town

As usual we managed to stumble into the touristy area. We seem to have a knack for chancing across places that other tourists plan and go out of their way to see. Although of course we possibly have no idea about a lot of the places that we don’t stumble across. In this case it was the old town, full of cobblestone streets and cute buildings and shops. It was very pretty but also full of people so after a brief look around and a few photos we kept going.

Annecy old town incl. crowds

Our goal was to cycle around the lake for a bit. Annecy has a really pretty lake and the whole vibe of the place kind of reminded us of Queenstown. There are lots of mountains and ski fields nearby as well as lots of lake activities for summer. The coolest thing we saw was a couple of boats with slides on the back for sliding into the water. I would be totally into that on a hot day.

The lake in Annecy

The lake also has a really good cycle path which was (mostly) separated from the pedestrian footpath as well. You can circumnavigate the entire lake by bike but we were lacking the time or enthusiasm to do so. Instead we cruised around until we reached a small uphill. Maps.me showed that the cycle path ran out soon after and we were very much deterred by the uphill so we decided to turn around there. In our defence, our legs were still recovering from our multiple tramps. But really I don’t know how we ever got over the Col du Mont Cenis.

Andy cycling around the lake

The next morning we were up bright (actually dark) and early to cycle to the train station and head for Paris. It had been a bit of a random few days because we had booked our train so far in advance and had wanted to leave a bit of wriggle room in case something went wrong. We hadn’t actually done very much but I think we really needed the downtime. Onward to Paris!

Hey – we’ve been to Yangshuo! Apparently the sister city of Annecy-Le-Vieux

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