Let’s just pop over to France for the day, shall we?

28 May

Yes, it’s possible to say: ‘Do you want to take a drive to France tomorrow?” when you visit Geneva, Switzerland, which sits so close to the border of France that their airport has a French side you can walk to. We picked up our car from the airport and drove on to Chamonix, for what ended up being one of the most scenic drives I think we’ve ever driven. We were passing massive mountains with peaks so high they were covered by the clouds. We drove past chalet houses cosily located in the valleys below the peaks, and a glacier so massive, it looked like it was going to slide down the mountain-side at any moment. It was so green, it was like we were driving through a postcard – you know those ones you get in the mail at home and you are absolutely certain that the picture must be made up. We can assure you, they aren’t!

We had spent the previous day in Geneva, which is located at the tip of Lake Geneva, one of the largest lakes in Western Europe. The purpose of our trip was to celebrate our good friend Jaime’s birthday, and well, she wanted to go to Geneva, so we could hardly say no, right?! We flew to Geneva the Friday night after work and stayed in a hostel, in a room with just the six of us – Matt, Jaime, Amy, Troy, Jo and I. We woke on Saturday morning to an absolutely stunning day – the sun was shining and it was warming up nicely. We went for a walk along the lake until we found a spot on the rocks to soak up the sun and the view. The water of Lake Geneva is so crystal clear that you can see the seaweed and rocks on the sandy bed below, that is until you get out into the middle of the lake where it gets deeper. The water is such a pretty aqua colour, it’s hard not to feel so incredibly happy to be in the middle of this picture-postcard town.

Being a southerner (aka, from Adelaide), Jaime made a move to the water, keen to go for a swim. The water was freezing (from a northerner/Queenslander perspective!), so we were reluctant to go in – even Matt said it was too cold for him. But I was persuaded and eventually made a dive for it. The coldness of the water took my breath away and I had goosebumps immediately, but it was incredibly refreshing. We tread water the whole time so our muscles didn’t seize up from being cold! Swans swam by us, giving us looks as if to say we were crazy. It was a great start to a great weekend.

Still in our wet togs and feeling a little cool as my dress eventually became wet as well, we continued walking around the tip of the lake and stopped for coffee and ice cream along the water. We sat down in the sun to dry out (again, the view is hard to describe, but there was the lake, the swans, the sun, good friends… so you get the picture). We also made a trip out on the water on a small rental boat. Feeling in good spirits from the fact we were in the sun, we each had a turn at driving and had a lot of laughs until it was time to return to shore. Back on land, we headed for the town centre for a spot of shopping, but unfortunately didn’t buy anything in our favourite shop, full of Swarovski Crystal jewellery – wishful thoughts. Plus, everything in Switzerland is expensive – we even bypassed McDonald’s because of how expensive it was (our fail-safe in most countries only when all other cafes and restaurants have been ruled out).

In the afternoon, we paid a visit to the United Nations building and feeling in desperate need of a nanna nap, we then headed back to our hostel. We picked up some supplies – food and drink – on the way home after we came across a grocery shop. We chilled out and talk turned to childhood TV shows while we were getting ready to go out for dinner and a drink in honour of Jaime’s birthday. We were recommended a pub just up the hill from our hostel so we headed there and had incredible-tasting burgers and a (expensive) pint.

Now, back to the incredible mountains. As I was saying, on the Sunday, we made a beeline for Chamonix – a ski resort town in France. The town is so cute, it is surrounded by mountain peaks and if the weather had been kinder, we would have been able to take the cable car up to one of the mountains for incredible views. Unfortunately the clouds and fog had set in higher up, so the view would have been nothing but a sea of white. We had lunch at a pasta place and then made our way to visit my friend, Emma, who had been living in Chamonix for the ski season, working as a cleaner in one of the guesthouses in the town. We had tea and a chat about travel. As we spoke, our eyes would always drift back to the view from her lounge room… through the door and pass the balcony stood a massive mountain,  one of many overlooking the whole town. Not to mention, we were envious of her life in Chamonix.

We drove on down the road, the scenic route, to the town of Annecy. We drove through the mountains and after more than an hour, the road met the edge of a lake – Lake Annecy. We found a spot to stop and spent some time taking in the views of the mountains, against the aqua-blue lake. We kept saying how beautiful the whole weekend had been and lucky we were to have such great weather. We drove on into the town, found a park and went walking. We spent the rest of the afternoon in Annecy, strolling around the old town, doing some more shopping and just generally relaxing and taking it all in. We had an early dinner in the park and spoke about not going back to London. We were sure we could all find cash-in-hand jobs here for the summer so we could spend more time in this incredible location. Eventually, reluctantly, we got back in our car and drove back to Geneva airport. We all agreed that Jaime made a great decision to spend her birthday in the sun in Geneva.

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2 Responses to “Let’s just pop over to France for the day, shall we?”

  1. Grandma June 1, 2011 at 12:48 AM #

    Melinda we are enjoying ur blogs so great to read them and I forward them on to everyone that would know you

    love you

    hope to catsh up on skype sometime

  2. Mel June 2, 2011 at 9:40 PM #

    Thank you! Love writing them… just need to find more time to write more! Miss you heaps – should be around this weekend so i’ll keep an eye out for you on skype.

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today was meaningful

a collection of thoughts, life lessons, and days full of meaning.

Liv Hambrett

An Australian Writer in (North) Germany

I am the world's oyster

Photography, Aviation, Nature, Culture, Nikon, Canon, Qantas, Airlines, Emirates, Airports, A380, 747

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Love for hand-knitted & -crocheted beauty. Proud designer & founder of LN|Beanies and LN|Andes, my two knit brands, my two loves.

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