Annecy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    A n n e c y, I discovered this city when I was student teaching while researching for geography lessons. What I like to convey most with teaching geography, is that France is about the same size as Texas (in fact France is a little bit smaller) yet the geographical features are so diverse. You’ll be in the south and feel like you’re in a dramatic French movie surrounded by olive trees and valleys. Move a little bit over and you could fall into caves, rigid landscapes, or even be at a beach! Then there is the eastern border that is lined with mountains; the longest being the famous Alps that separates France from Switzerland. Here is where I located Annecy filled not only with mountain scenery but a beautiful lake.

I was really fortunate with the weather, and most of my time in Annecy was spent sitting on the lawn next to the lake (I am even a lil sunburnt!) While getting my first lobster look of the year, I also walked around and took many pictures of the bright pastel flowers and buildings. Annecy is one of the most flowered cities in France, there’s even an award for it called the “Golden Flower”.

People here were beyond lovely. Whenever I am on the border of France close to a neighboring country, I do notice shifts is the local culture. What I mean is, personalities and habits change when there’s an influence in the typical cultural norm. For example in Strasbourg, I saw a lot of German influence with healthier food stores and bike riding. When in Annecy, I noticed overly friendly locals and healthier lifestyles (a lot of runners, bikers, roller-bladders, water sports, no smokers, really I saw almost no smokers) now I don’t have any knowledge on Switzerland culture, so I can only assume it’s influence of two cultures, or  the scenery of Annecy being so beautiful and positive.

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Lake Annecy is said to be the cleanest lake in Europe. It was formed more than 18,000 years ago from glaciers that melted. The glaciers and mountains act like a natural filtration system, which is why it is so crystal clear! You are able to see 8 meters down (the deepest part of the lake is 87 meters deep). Small rivers and an underground source still feed into the lake, which is why it is so prominent and kept clean! I’m used to seeing Chicago’s lake, lake Michigan, so let’s just say I WAS BLOWN AWAY // JUST LOOK AT THE AQUA COLORS

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B O A T . T O U R  for 14.50 euros you can take an hour boat tour around the lake, seeing nearby villages, castles, and some special mountain spots. Here are a few pics from it 🙂

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cute nearby village
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formed in the ice age
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lovers’ cave
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11th century castle, privately owned by a family where they live year round, what a dream!

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If you look closely, you can see hand-gliders ; a very popular activity !

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there’s another castle in the middle there. it’s been owned by the same family for over 28 generations !
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At one time this was one of the most famous (and best) restaurant in France. The Queen of England still eats here !
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One of the most expensive villages to live in, in France

 

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Annecy has a few nicknames : Pearl of the Alps // Venice of the Alps
I hope you enjoyed my photos, and I was able to share a little special-ness from across the world.

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thanks for stopping by, here’s some cute pigeons taking a dip :p

 

 

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Amsterdam 

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AMSTERDAM

Hello! I just landed on the other half of my journey so I wanted to take a breather and write about my past few days. I survived the hectic bike paths, seriously they will run you over, and waiting in long museum lines. As a preliminary you can purchase museum tickets two months in advance, but Kyle & I were oblivious to this, so the week before we left they were already sold out of online tickets. The Van Gogh museum was around a 35 minute wait, which wasn’t too bad. The museum contains his famous self portraits, the bedroom & the sunflower painting. The sunflower painting was definitely my favorite to see because the flowers were much more textured than I imagined, some had such heavy layers of paint on them. The museum doesn’t have Starry Night, which I thought was silly because it is THE Van Gogh museum and that painting is a household name (it’s in NYC) but I know recognition on his other paintings is still well deserved 🙂

The two hour wait outside**The Anne Frank museum was all that I imagined it to be, mostly simplistic with museum items so you can get a feel for the house. The most surreal parts of the museum is seeing her walls with newspaper photos glued to it to add some real world into her room, her and her sister’s height measurements drawn on the wall, and of course seeing the diary.

When I look back on my small trip these are the things I will think of // not necessarily the Red Light district or locally legal substances :p things that I personally found interest in, and maybe you will too**

  1. Tulips // Clogs
    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe first morning we had in Amsterdam we headed to the flower market, known as Bloemenmarkt. Bloemenmarkt has individual huts and house boats selling floral goods. Sadly due to the season, we weren’t in the prime tulip time. Instead of soaking in luscious smells of floral, you could buy some vibrant wooden tulips or flower bulbs to plant in your own garden.

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    Bloemenmarkt

  2.  Eats // Drinks
    pancakes / dutch apple pie / mint tea / homemade gingerale

    pancakes
    homemade gingerale // drinks with a view
    dutch apple pie

  3. Bikes // Canals
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Public transport is really easy to use! Plus being clean and safe with workers all around was lovely

Fun Facts // Dutch are the tallest in the world, it was so nice to feel normal, and EVEN SHORT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE. Dutchies love their coffee, after Scandinavians they are the world’s biggest coffee drinkers, averaging 3.2 cups a day! Sounds like the perfect plan to me, minus the fact that half of the coffee shops in Amsterdam weren’t selling coffee and that was only slightly confusing to find the right one.

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Thanks for stopping by :)!