Marg and I caught a 9am train out of Bordeaux this morning. We didn’t want to miss it so we tried to book a taxi, but they were all tied up with delegates to the current VinExpo, so we outlaid a few more Euros for a private driver. Once we arrived back in Paris, we had 97 minutes from the time our Bordeaux train arrived at Montparnasse station until the time our next train departed from Gare de Lyon. We took a taxi and he delivered us across the river to our destination in only about 20 minutes, so we breathed a sigh of relief knowing that we wouldn’t miss our connecting train to Annecy.

Why Annecy? It’s a little out of the way when you look at the places we’re visiting. Some of you might remember that between October 2013 and February the following year we had a French house guest staying with us. Tess had met Remi in Bali and he was on his way to Australia. He ended up staying with us for four months and basically became part of the family during that time. Most nights, when he wasn’t working at the City Wine Bar near the Princes Theatre, he cooked delicious French food for us. We were all sad when he left to return home to his beloved mountains in the alps just outside Annecy, where he grew up. So we’re here in Annecy this weekend for a very special reason – to catch up with Remi, meet his wife Barbara and daughter Naska, and his parents Guy and Dominique. Remi’s working early this weekend, so we probably won’t see him until lunch on Sunday, but in the meantime we’re planning to enjoy having a look around his home town.

Our train from Paris didn’t get in until 4.30pm, but thankfully it’s only a 130 metre walk to the hotel from the station, so we were back out on the street by 5pm and spent just over an hour walking around the old town and having a look at the lake and the mountains beyond. Unbelievably, Marg found a wool shop only six doors down from our hotel, so guess what’s she’s planning to do tomorrow.

I haven’t learnt much of the history of Annecy yet, although I’ve already seen dates going back to the 12th-13th century. I do know that it is a place where people come for recreation on the lake and in the mountains. On our train, for example, we met three Australian girls who are here to do some hang gliding. Remi also works in the industry, managing a hostel where people can stay when they visit here to explore the mountains.

Geneva in Switzerland is very close, so the alpine region is shared between two countries, and we saw almost as many Swiss flags in the town as we saw French ones. Swiss references reminded us that we like fondue, so on the way back to the hotel we found a fondue restaurant and had a delicious cheesy dinner, accompanied by a local red.

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