11 Jan,2018 By jagabond
I spent New Years in Annecy, France. This town made my hidden gems of Europe list, and that’s why I came here. I wanted a chill, quiet New Years celebration that didn’t involve fireworks. I’ve seen highlights of the Naples show, and what I could be experiencing…it looks like the closing scene to ‘Fight Club’ when everything blows up.
Let me walk you quickly through Annecy, an amazing French town that deserves your weekend time. Fly into Lyon and take a two-hour train ride here to start the adventure.
The cleanest lake in Europe
A unique Christmas market
I’ve been to many markets in my time in Europe, and the one in Annecy is a winner. It reminded me of the mountain town market I saw in Bolzano. With so many cities trying to copy the Germanic markets, it’s always nice to see some diversity.
Different food options
What do mountain people eat? Things that stick to their stomach for the long, cold winter. The main cuisine is tartiflette, which is basically potatoes covered with cheese and bacon. There is also Raclette, a cheese that you melt and scrape onto a bed of potatoes and pickles. Who ever said the French ate healthy food?
An iconic shot
The canals in Annecy are reminiscent of Venice. This particular shot shows a former prison, and has become a hallmark view of the town.
There you have it, a quick summary of an amazing town in France. One that made me consider my resolutions for 2018, and I have many. 2017 was an amazing year, but I expect 2018 to be even better. How will I balance my life and travel considerations? Annecy gave me the lucidity and time to plan…here’s what I decided.
1. Don’t go crazy at the end – I made this mistake last time in Europe. To channel my favorite comic, ‘Starman‘…Europe is just a place, just like San Diego is just a place. I shouldn’t hurriedly scour the continent fearing that once I leave, I’ll never be happy again. Previously when I lived in Belgium, I had this attitude and jammed too many trips into my last six months. This time, I’ll take what Europe gives me and enjoy the present while looking forward to the future.
2. Allow repeat trips – I used to think it was lousy planning to ever duplicate a trip. However, re-visiting favorite cities also allows for repeat memories. When I was in Annecy this time, I loved how the stores and restaurants jogged my brain of my previous trip.
3. Visit one more country – It’s amazing that so many little-visited countries demand visas or have limited flight options. It appears that Cyprus, Andorra and Ukraine are my only hopes to add one more European country to my list. I have my targets set on Ukraine for Easter weekend…fingers crossed that happens!
4. Focus on Italian weekends – I’m trying to conserve my vacation time, which makes weekend trips a viable idea. I’m privileged to live in such a conveniently located area, though I find myself not exploring much close to home. I still need to see the main sights in downtown Naples, visit the three islands off Amalfi, and do more wine tasting in the Avellino region.
5. Finish the ‘Artist’s Way’ – The author of this book was previously married to Martin Scorsese, and has turned the ‘Artist’s Way’ into a personal workshop for many across the globe. I’ve decided to begin the 12-week program aimed at boosting the creative writer within me.
6. Read five books – For those who know me reading five books (comics not included) is a big deal. I typically use my ADHD to excuse my lack of literary conquests, but I wonder how much laziness also plays a role.
7. Incorporate workouts – Many travelers lament about lack of workout options while on the road. I used to love running, and am looking to rediscover it again. There’s nothing like visiting a new town or city, and doing a morning run the first day to see the layout.
8. Plan for non-solo travel – Solo travel is so easy for me, as it’s the ultimate selfish, hedonistic experience, but it also seems more geared to the younger generation. If I’m to incorporate more buddy travel, I need to develop a new travel personality focusing on the art of compromise.
9. Close out countries – I’m looking to close out my top four countries: Slovenia, Austria, Croatia and Poland. To wrap them up I probably just need one more trip each, but the clock is ticking. Once I get back to the US, countries like these aren’t the easiest to travel to. Either I do it now or leave something on the table.
“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to gain all while you give, to roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to live.”