I have been patiently waiting for fiber optic internet to crawl to my building, supposedly at the speed of light. They said beginning of October, but it’s still not here. Anyway, I have slowly been getting better at finding ways to get around this issue. The other night I finally figured out how to force my phone to always use 4G, even when the signal is weak, and voilà – now I have good internet speeds again! In any case – that was just my long-winded excuse as to why I haven’t posted anything in over a month. Now, where we left off – Annecy!
If someone were to ask you to describe a typical smaller European town, you would probably end up describing Annecy. The capital of the department of Haute-Savoie (Upper Savoy), in the southeast of France, Annecy is extremely close to both Switzerland and Italy. There are mountain ranges all around, in fact Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps, is just southeast of here. There is a big lake nearby and canals all around the city. The Old Town (Vieille Ville) is extremely picturesque as you will see below. There are little shops, cobblestone streets, a building that used to be a mint, then a prison, and even a chateau! I have to walk through that part of town every day to get to class. I love it!
I’ll tell the rest through the captions in the photos below.
Finally made it to Annecy!
This is Annecy. All of the following photos will be variations of this one.
Palais de l’Ile or “The Prison” as we lovingly call it. That’s what I call it anyway. “Let’s meet at the Prison at 1.” The most iconic building in Annecy. It’s supposed to look like the bow of a ship. It served as a residence for the Counts of Geneva, then a prison, then a mint. Multi-use!
Canals and more canals. Annecy is also called “The Venice of the Alps”
Swans and ducks!
The prison is very well-lit at night.
The traditional descent of the cowherds down from the mountains for the winter. The Old Town was packed!
There was every sort of food you could ever want – from cheeses and meats, to brioche and ice cream.
Did you know the minions were made in France?
Woodcutting in traditional garb
The cows descended
The tower to the left belongs to the Chateau d’Annecy
Transitioning over to the lake and a bit of Le Pâquier – a vast green space perfect for many things – among them frisbee!
Gardens of Europe – interesting exhibit around the lake – started with the Garden of Eden, then went through a medieval garden, Renaissance garden, all the way to the community gardens of New York.
A stone clock
You can see the church that is very close to my school up there, more on that soon
We took a boat tour on the lake
The nexus of Annecy – the train station
Tartiflette – the typical regional dish – potatoes, onions, pork fat cubes, and reblochon – THE Savoy cheese
A dangerous discovery was made at this bakery – the best almond croissant you will ever eat. Ever.
The church Notre Dame – right next to the old town. It was pure silence when I went in there. I need to go back.
They had an amazing exhibition at the chateau – Alexeieff and Parker were a couple (Russian/American) who developed of the pinboard, an animation tool that allowed its operator to basically work with primitive pixels to create movement. Tedious work, but pretty amazing results. Made me thankful for the “ease” of CG.
The old town, the lake, and some of the mountains.
Another view from the Chateau.
My other international buddies, Daniel (Brazil) and Karim (Tunisia)
Daniel and Zahi (Lebanon)
Change of scenery – this is in the town just west of Annecy – called Cran-Gevrier. This is where I live.
The building was an old paper mill, now in the middle of being revived – it just opened along with my residence (the smaller buildling to the right)
Right outside my apartment. Amazing mountain in the distance.
Another view of Les Papeteries. The building is intended as a home to creative companies and has a lot of office space
The view from my window
Same view, rainy night
This is actually an aptly-named grocery store right next to my apartment
The French love their minions (but really, who doesn’t!)
My neighborhood. There’s a river right by. I can hear the water when I open my window
Ascending a bit to get an even more amazing view. I usually go for runs here.
The colors are changing everywhere. It’s gorgeous.
I found a great deal on a used bike accidentally when walking home from grocery shopping. Got it right there and then.
Went for a bike ride around the lake. Some photos from that trip.
Paragliding. An important sport in this region. You will always spot the parachutes when looking up at the mountains.
The rond point (traffic circle) close to my school
Here it is on a sunnier day. Now with Christmas decorations!
The mountains near school
Approaching the main gate of the Conservatory of Art and History
This is the conservatory – right by my school building
This – we lovingly call it The Bunker – is where classes are
Notice that we are on the negative 1st floor
That would be me!
The Basilica of the Visitation. A church right near school. You may recall it from an earlier photo where I pointed it out. It is fairly recent – completed the 1930.
We decided to visit it during lunch break
Cut to… Old Town and a freaking cookie shop!!
My buddy Stéphane and I celebrating turning in our first assignment with some beers
…Karim and Daniel were with us. It was freezing yet we were outside. Why? Because smokers gotta smoke! 🙂
Another specialty of this region. Fondue. It was amazing.
My entire class decided to go on a hike one weekend. We went up the hill seen across the lake in all the previous photos.
At first we sat like this for lunch…
…but had to move when in the span of 15 minutes, not one, but 2 paragliders had to use this ramp to jump off the ledge
Annecy from above
On the way down we saw llamas… or were they alpacas?
Jumping over to Geneva, Switzerland – which is about 40km away. Took a quick trip there when picking up relatives from the airport. Grass clock!
St. Pierre Cathedral in Geneva – started in Romanesque style…
…and completed 100 years later in Gothic style
Neat sculpture by another, much bigger lake – Lake Geneva
This was my favorite
Lake Geneva – feeding the birds.