The daily diary of a wandering restaurateur
December 5 - Geneva and Annecy

Today was a day to get out and about. Michel was working and Monique had no clients scheduled but was up to her ears in caring for the grandchildren. I was in need of some reading material, so after breakfast, Michel directed me to a bookstore in downtown Geneva that sold books in English. I was expecting perhaps a couple of shelves, but what we found was a selection that many bookstores in the US would have trouble matching.

I selected a couple of mystery novels by writers I like. We also picked up a couple of really neat little books that give an insight into how the people of various countries think called the Xenophobe's Guides (xenophobe meaning fear of strangers). We got the guide to Italians ... and the guide to American's! Very interesting ... and unnervingly accurate, at least for its take on us!

Every third shop in Geneva sells watches and while I cannot believe there is that much of a market for that many timepieces, but my understanding is not required. Geneva seems like an efficient city -- very Swiss in that regard -- but we didn't see anything architectural that turned us on. We are not city people anyway, so after we took care of business and wandered a bit of downtown, we walked back to the train station garage to pick up the car and head south to the town of Annecy in France, in the Rhone Alps, known for a picturesque old town.

Only one small problem ... and unfortunately one that I didn't discover until I went to leave. I forgot that in Europe you have to pay for your parking before you leave. This involves putting your parking ticket in a machine and adding enough money to cover the parking fee. Of course, I remembered all this when I got to the exit gate ... at the top of a narrow ramp ... with no place to turn and a dozen cars stacked up behind me!

Making what I hoped were apologetic gestures (that only the car right behind me could see), I left Margene in the car and sprinted to the machines to bail myself out. The people stuck farther down the ramp had no way to know why they had to sit there for so long, but they were amazingly patient (no honking horns or irate yelling). I got the gate open and did my best to disappear before the rest of the mob could identify me!

By the time we made the 45-minute drive down to Annecy, the rain had returned. After a few U-turns, we finally found the old town and a parking place. The old town was interesting and fortunately offered a lot of porticos (covered sidewalks built under the buildings, so we could explore and stay reasonably dry.

We found a little cafe that looked inviting, had a pleasant lunch, checked out the Christmas Market down by the lake and still made it back to Divonne before dark. Margene had a hankering for fondue (What? Something other than Italian?) and we had seen a nice-looking place that offered it when we were in Nyon yesterday, so off we went.

It was really a delightfully conversational meal ... and we could eat earlier than we could in France -- a particularly good thing today since we have to leave for the airport and our flight to Italy around 4am! A brief final visit with the Sommers and then to bed. Tomorrow, Tuscany!

Geneva and Annecy

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