||[Sep. 8th, 2013|07:35 pm]
After much travel, we are ensconced in our room at L'Imperial Palace Hotel in Annecy.|
Douglas (who is looking after our kitties) very kindly drove us to the airport on Friday morning. We flew from Denver to Washington-Dulles, and from there to Geneva. It all went quite smoothly, and we arrived on time at 7:30 am Saturday morning.
We tried an anti-jetlag regimen that had us eating meals at whatever time was normal for the local time zone (so lunch -- carry on Chipotle -- on the first flight, and dinner when it was served on the second flight, about an hour after our 6 pm ET takeoff), and then taking a melatonin tablet and settling in to sleep after dinner. I managed to get about 4 hours of broken sleep; the lady next to me had her light on for quite a while and there was a guy two rows back that would Not. Stop. TALKING. Jerry did better - I think he slept for about 5 hours.
But it was enough to be functional once we landed at 7:30 am in Geneva. We got a ride with one of my colleagues, Steve, who's coming to the same meeting. Annecy, in France, is all of half an hour away from Geneva. So it was pretty easy getting here. (Although thank goodness for GPS, because that made it much easier.)
So when I made hotel reservations, I had thought we were getting here a day early compared to everyone else (which turns out not to be the case, but c'est la vie), so for the first night we stayed in a much cheaper hotel on the other side of town. We checked our luggage at the fancy hotel, put together an overnight bag each, and set out on foot. It was about an hour's leisurely walk away, and it was a nice way to see the town. Well, until we got lost. Not direly so, but enough that we decided to go ahead and activate the international data plan on Monkey's iPhone (which we'd been hoping to avoid) so we could get the maps app to tell us where the hell we were. That got us to Appart'City Annecy-Seynod.
(We got there at noon and couldn't check in until 2. So we wandered away down a very steep hill and found some lunch. It was kinda slow, but that was fine, since we were tired. Had a bit of a scare when it came time to pay and the card wouldn't go through; I was *very* thankful for the fellow at the shop next door who knew that American credit cards aren't chip-and-pin, so you have to run them through the machine differently.)
Anyway, for being one of the cheapest hotels in the area, our room was actually very nice. Small, but clean and well-appointed, with a tiny kitchen and everything. The bed was a fold-out, but it was probably the most comfortable one I've ever slept on. And the front desk loaned us an outlet adapter when we discovered that French outlets are recessed in this weird way that kept us from plugging our voltage adapter in. Really, my only complaint would be that they have no wifi, only ethernet cable, so we had to take turns internetting.
After sitting down a while to rest our feet, and then showering off the accumulated travel grime and walking-around sweat (it's so humid here in not-Colorado!) we roused ourselves enough to wander off to a supermarket to pick up something cheap for dinner. Then we watched some nature documentaries (good in any language) and some Stargate: SG-1 (surprisingly entertaining) while struggling to stay up until local bedtime. Jerry crashed at about 8:30; I stayed up until close to 10.
I woke up for a while around 3 am and had a bout of feeling stressed-out and homesick, but hten fell back a sleep until 8:30, whereupon the world was much rosier. We had a very nice buffet breakfast in the hotel, watched some Batman the Brave and the Bold (surprisingly intelligible even in a foreign language), checked out, and then took a taxi back to L'Imperial. (And many thanks to the taxi driver, who didn't take visa but was willing to drive us to a cash machine along the way.) Once again, we couldn't check in yet, so we checked the rest of our bags and spent a couple hours wandering around.
Apparently, in France, almost everything is closed on Sunday. We wandered through the old town, getting damp from the rain, explored some funky old steep stairs/passageways, and then poked around the old castle, which now houses an art collection and the mountain lake nature center. It turns out I can read things in French if they're about science: the waters of Lake Annecy are so clear because it's an oligotrophic lake, with high oxygen but low nutrient levels, which is why trout live there.
We found a supermarket and bought breakfast makings (because I can't deal with heading out for food in the mornings, and we're not spending 25 euros a day on the breakfast buffet), and then got some late lunch at Quickburger, which was (a) open and (b) not insanely expensive.
Walked back to the hotel along the super-pretty esplanade and finally got checked into the swank hotel. I blew a breaker by plugging our power strip into a 220V socket and frying it (I figured it was dumbtech and incapable of caring, but I guess the surge protection bits cared), but that's been sorted out and everything is fine now. We both got cleaned up again, I'm registered for my meeting, Jerry's off to find dinner, and I'm going to go make dinner out of the reception. Tomorrow I give my talk, and then it's pure vacation time!