The last and final chapter!! You all have made it!
I will admit – this was my FAVORITE destination of the trip. We stayed for one night, but I wish we could have stayed for a whole week!! I had never heard of most of the places on our itinerary, and if you are like me, you have no idea what Annecy has to offer.
First off – it was about a 2 hour drive from the last stop (Beaune, France), so we had to stop and get some gas and breakfast. We stopped at a random Shell station and after days of little to NO coffee – we finally found a respectable size coffee!!!
Honestly, that was the biggest size cup we saw all trip. It’s like a tall from Starbucks. Us Americans have SERIOUS portion control disorder. Needless to say we both guzzled down our coffees before heading back into the car.
We finally made it to Annecy and out cute hotel.
Yes, this is a view from our hotel room!! Look at the color of the water! Annecy is filled with canals and has one HUGE lake at the tip of the town (photos below). The canals kind of reminded me of Amsterdam and Copenhagen. So beautiful.
Since we got there in the afternoon we did not have a whole lot of time to explore. We took a walk through the old town and found many more canals!
And cute, sporty Smart Cars!
I would SO drive this if I lived in Europe.
Definitely not what we expected. We thought we would get history of the chateau and see old artifacts and tapestries. No. It was a completely MODERN, funky, weird, I don’t even know how to describe it museum. I think Eric hit the nail on the head when he said “modern museums are fine, but you can put them ANYWHERE. Why not use the chateau for its history and elegance?” Couldn’t agree more.
After the bust museum, we took a stroll along the lake.
So unbelievably beautiful. So clean and pristine. I could live here forever! We spent quite a while walking along the lake and then it was time for cocktails and dinner!
I had a life changing moment during this time. I was introduced to one of the greatest drinks I have ever tasted.
Leffe is a Belgium beer. You can get it in the states at places like BevMo and specialty liquor stores. We were walking through a grocery story and decided to get some Leffe – as Eric’s mom is a huge fan. Instead of getting the regular Leffe (blonde I think), we decided to try Ruby Leffe. Ruby Leffe is pink in color (point number 1) and tastes like candy (point number 2), because it is infused with currants (point number 3). I had two of these in one night. 🙂
See how happy it made me?
For dinner we went to a traditional restaurant to the region. For Annecy this meant fondue!!!
There was your typical fondue. Comes in a big hot pot with a flame underneath and little pokey skewers to dip bread and meats in.
Then there was this other form of fondue even more tied to the region.
Behold the Raclette Fondue.
This medieval, torture-looking device was the star of our dinner. The black horizontal bar at the top acted as a broiler while the cheese wedge could be swiveled around to be directly under the broiler, or away from it (as this picture shows).
You place the cheese under the broiler until it starts to bubble and slightly char.
Once you reach this stage you swivel the cheese away from the broiler and tilt the cheese vertically like so.
Then you grab the little cheese scraper/knife and scrape the melted cheese of the top of the wedge onto a plate.
And then you proceed to enjoy with various breads, meets, vegetables, etc.
This was SO yummy, and very interesting to watch it all take place! I love when you can see how your food is prepared or somehow interact with your food!
A very fantastic dinner, indeed.
Last stop: Baden Baden, Germany
We rose BRIGHT and early to make our long 5 hour (turned into 7 hour) trek to our final destination: Baden Baden, Germany. The drive was estimated to take about 5 hours, but 4 hours into our trip – the German “autobahn” was at a standstill. For 2 hours we sat in parking lot traffic. I am talking 405 during rush hour on a 3 day weekend.
There was construction on the autobahn, so for a while cars were traveling on a one lane road. This was SO aggravating as we were all tired, hungry and dying to get to our last stop!
We finally made it to our fabulous hotel.
After stepping into the room, I was immediately relaxed.
I immediately took a nice long bath while I indulged in some trashy magazine reading.
By the time I finished, it was time for dinner! Our last dinner before heading back to San Francisco! We had to celebrate accordingly.
Multiply these photos by 4. No joke. (And you think I won’t be able to celebrate Champagne Friday tonight. HA).
We all had a fantastic dinner with great company. Eric’s younger brother Greg was able to join us from Heidelberg for our last night in Europe.
We woke up sad, yet ready to leave and be back home. We had a long 11 hour flight back to SFO, and about 10 minutes into the flight my seat back broke. Yes, I was stuck in a seat where I couldn’t lean back or else my seat back would collapse into the person behind me (even though it was her fault to begin with because SHE broke my seat by using it for leverage to stand up).
The crew on our United flight were very apologetic and would have moved me to first class if our flight wasn’t completely full (damn)! But instead I was given 2 free glasses of champagne and a free $150 voucher to a future flight! Woo hoo!
And I got to sit with the flight attendants during landing – that was pretty exciting let me tell you.
That concludes my amazingly unforgettable trip to Europe. It went by so quickly and I am counting the years until I can go back.
I know I promised you all a recipe for my crock pot chicken, but due to my horrible unpacking skills I cannot find my camera cord. I will have to snoop around tonight as every other night I came home this week I was hit with a wave of jetlag immediately after setting foot in my apartment. No energy. Anyway, I promise – the wait will be worth it!
Happy Friday all – and drink some Champagne – just because it’s Friday!!