I have been writing. Not in the narcissistic way, but in a self-preservation. Unfortunately it has mostly been in my mind. Occasionally on scraps of paper, and although my leather bound journal has never strayed far from my side, the only time it has been opened was to record a fine wine or single malt notation.
To say the work-life balance has been interrupted is an understatement. But several days travelling across France this past week solidified my commitment to Go Slow, and spend all of August incommunicado on a small island, far away from the reach of technology.
We were 2 evenings in Annecy, France, a beautiful town that is connected to one of the historical authors and thinkers of the French Revolution, as well as the upcoming individual time trial for the Tour de France. Having a visit 18 days later would have climaxed this visit to a point beyond blogging...
The trip was for work, which usually means a 30 hour travel day (via 3 airports, a train and a car), followed by several 12+ hour work days, followed by a 30 hour travel commute home. However, when travel is required I make it a point to try to get out and see parts of the world I would otherwise probably not have the chance to visit. On this trip, I found 1 place I would visit again, especially if on a holiday.
On arrival we went on an drive to see the surrounding region from the top of Col de la Forclaz. In reality we drove most of the way but did have to portage through a cow maze, before getting to the point where we could watch some Parapenter's soar across the lake. Re-read that last sentence... yes, we actually had to go through a maze of cows.
On our way up we passed a field, reminiscent of the Sound of Music...
Had my wife been with us, I am sure she would have jumped the fence and ran into the middle of the field, spinning her arms like only Julie Andrews could.
You can see the dots of the Parapenters, essentially going from one peak on the side of the lake, across the lake and beyond another peak. Even from that height, we were unable to see the landing spot they were heading for.
At the top we watched both new and experts take their turn at jumping off the summit edge, their Parapents being buoyed by the thermal drafts a mere 1 or 2 feet off the ground. A colleague told me the expert Parapenters can stay up for a few hours, going across the lake and eventually to a landing site.
Annecy, with several small canals (with emphasis on the word small) snaking throughout the old part of the city, has a plethora of outdoor cafes which allow you to take in the afternoon and evening sights. Revelers mixed with lovers, tourists mixed with locals. I tried to make the transition from tourist to revelers, but had a difficult time convincing my coworkers to do some team bonding over many drinks (at least many in the Canadian sense).
By far the favorite part of the city was the discovery of this: Rue Jean Jacques Rosseau, and his monument.
Reading some of my early posts, circa 2005, you may see some influence of Rosseau. In fact, his book is one of 2 or 3 that sit along side my journal to read when I am in the contemplative mood (with Thoreau being one of the others).
We capped our 2 days in Annecy with a quick photo visit to the Monastery Church, with it timed by our local host to be both closed, but devoid of tourists. .
On our way back, our trip would not have been complete without a quick 3 hour tour of Paris, with a visit to the Sacre Coeur, and the Arc de Triomphe.
All said, short trip and full of historical monuments, but Doug's Summer Solstice post has me Pining for the Fjords of Hornby.