The white flakes float down from the sky and settle outside layering the ground like ice cream twisting its way into a cone. Winter has come to the French alps and I find myself reminiscing of when the sky was blue and the sun was radiating warmth.
Continuing to keep cycling in the chilly cold and trying to keep your extremities warm while keeping a watchful eye out for icy patches on the road would make anyone reminisce of warmer times…
Our visit to Lake Annecy was made when the sun was blazing and one’s skin could be crisped in the heat. We were visiting new friends in Menthon St Bernard, they were residing close to the lake, a short stroll from the beautiful hotel Palace de Menthon. After a hearty lunch it was decided that a cycle around the Lake was a must. Excited to go exploring I was the first one ready and raring to go.
Skinny suburban roads easily led our wheels down to the water’s edge where we found plenty of dozing adults basking like kebab skewers under the oven like heat of the sun, giggling children were splashing in the lake’s shallow depths while small stylish boats bobbed beside a handful of tiny wooden jetty’s. The Palace De Menthon with its fancy staircase sat grandly beside the lake like a majestic lady in waiting.
The boys decided that they would cycle the long way around the lake. I decided to take the shorter route. They wanted to race at speed and since I wanted to dawdle and enjoy the views it seemed like the ideal plan. We would all meet up in Annecy’s old town.
The path, dotted with leafy knotted trees followed the lake edge for a short time before turning off to climb the inclines of quiet roads. I cycled past a few dog walkers and elderly folk enjoying their day. At the top of the small hill and the view of the lake fell open before me. It was a real treat to feast on its pure blueness. The hazy outline of the mountains surrounded the lake enhancing its colour and it made me want to go swimming!
The quiet roads I was pedalling on were sleepy compared to the constant hum of the busy D909 road that lay parallel. I enjoyed zipping past juicy fruit trees jangling their delicious wares, peeking at rustic architecture hidden behind sparse bushes and seeing cheerful locals digging in their lush gardens. This tranquility disappeared as soon as I joined the cycle path on the main road.
The closer I got to Annecy old town the more everything became like spaghetti junction. It was certainly a busy day and the road was complete with every vehicle large and small, fast and slow. Other cyclists began to appear on the cycle path and their numbers increased the closer I got to town.
People were everywhere – Like ants moving about in a hurry. I had to slow down and stay alert. I did not want to run the risk of knocking anyone down or be knocked off my bicycle by a random day dreamer.
I was glad when the cycle path finally widened and returned to the lakes edge where it collaboratively joined with huge pedestrianised pavements. With the abundance of open space the scene quickly improved.
A buzz of activity was all around me! Pleasure boats and paddle boats were being hired, kites were flying in the skies above and lovers walked hand in hand over Lovers’ bridge. The lake lay twinkling its eyes at the joyous energy that was being created in its vicinity.
I found the boys at a busy intersection – it was perfect timing. We pedalled over bumpy cobble stones and squeezed down tiny walkways into the old part of town where we enjoyed a freshly brewed coffee and a tasty bite to eat.
We sat and marvelled at the bricks and mortar that were standing around us dating from the 12th century.
The sun prickled our skin as we lazed enjoying the day just like everyone else. Perfect!