Friday, 18 May 2007

Annecy, at last!

We are finally here and it was worth the long journey. Annecy is even more beautiful than I imagined. It already has a sense of familiarity to me from all the maps and photos I have pored over and although it is early days I feel sure that we can settle into a happy life here.

The journey here had its ups and downs and I'm very glad that its over and that I dont have to do it again any time soon. Our first flight to Tokyo was fantastic. The plane was half empty and we had bulkhead seats and many other rows to move around and stretch out in. The 9 hours seemed to go very quickly with both kids having a 3 hour nap. We settled in comfortably at the Tokyo Hilton and I was just enjoying a delicious japanese curry with grilled chicken when Jasper woke up with a 39.4 degree temperature. What was to have been a good night's rest became broken sleep with Jasper literally breastfeeding all night for comfort, culminating in him vomiting up his 2nd dose of neurofen and about 8 litres of breastmilk all over me at 2am. For a while there I was worried that we might have to take MBF up on their travel insurance policy but he cooled down a bit by morning and we boarded our next flight.

This one wasnt so good. I'll say this for him, he was quiet when he was asleep...but he mostly cried and whinged all the time he was awake. Lily did great with her own personal video screen (a real treat) and the flight seeemed to pass quite quickly. We made our quick connection from Heathrow to Paris and I readied myself for a grilling at immigration about my "no visa" situation. But we passed through with no problems and it all seemed so easy that I had to check with David that it was immigration we had just passed - I expected further officials to be waiting around the corner ready to pounce! I was on such a high from just being in France that the drama that followed in the baggage claim section almost passed me by. Jasper howled, Lily threw a massive tantrum as there were no toilets and 3 of our 5 peices of luggage were lost. Dav was furious but what did I care? - I was in France!!

Of course, it all got sorted out and the bags were delivered to our hotel later that night. We had a very comfy stay in the Holiday Inn near Charles de Gaulle and then the next morning started the long journey into Paris with our luggage (2 very heavy suitcases, a very heavy wheely case, a portacot, 2 laptop bags, Lily's Barbie backpack, and my back pack). After a couple of train changes we made it to Gare de Lyon and got the TGV straight to Annecy. It was a great trip and I loved seeing the countryside - everything is so lush and green here and there is water everywhere. But at the end, after having slept for about 3 hours, Jasper vomited yet again when I got up and went to the bar. In fact, he also vomited as soon as I set foot on the platform at Annecy and, after our taxi ride, once I set foot in the htoel - I hope he's not trying to tell us something. At least he didnt throw up IN the taxi and in his defence, there were lots of fast bends as we travelled through the mountains.

When we got off the train at Annecy, the first thing I recognized was the building housing the apartment David had pursued in February. We got a taxi as it was raining and with Jasper on my lap (oh, how my standards slip when travelling!), we drove through the centre ville and towards the vielle ville. Everywhere I looked was something I recognized. It was so overcast, I could barely see the lake so the town revealed itself to me by degrees. There was the Bonlieu (Welcome Centre), over there the Paquier (with its 100 year old carousel which we discovered the next day goes VERY fast), and then the canals and the buildings of the old town. It wasnt until the next morning that the clouds cleared and I saw the mountains and the lake clearly. It is a truly breathtaking place that we have chosen to live in.

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