Friday, June 20, 2014

Jour 3 Annecy: Road Trip & Hotel Alexandra

The first time I saw Annecy (pronounced "ahn-see") was in my French textbook in junior high. I saw the classic canal shot in front of the former prison and I was smitten. I promised myself I would go there someday and I kept my promise. It took me 15 years but I made it happen!
I decided that renting a car would be the simplest and most economical way to make our way over to that quaint little town. You can certainly take a train but when we looked it up, it was about €25 each way and with four of us, it would've been €200 round trip. The rental car (via Sixt) was around €100 for the day. We hadn't booked a GPS but we all thought it would be a good idea to get one so when we mentioned it to the sweet girl at the counter, she said she could either give us a GPS for €10 or she could upgrade us to a bigger car with a built in GPS and it was an automatic for €25 more. We figured eh, why not? Even though I drive stick, we thought it might be a safe move to go with the easier car since we were in a brand new environment anymore and we went with the upgrade.

The upgrade was for a BMW 5-series station wagon and it was on the huge side, compared to the majority of cars we'd seen on the road (mostly smart car-sized vehicles). Plus, I think station wagons are hideous. No offense to anyone who owns a wagon but I feel like they're meant for grannies. Aesthetics aside, admittedly, it was much more comfortable and our luggage could be piled right into the back without any trouble.
I have a BMW so I thought I'd be pretty comfy in the car and I was but mine's almost five years old now so there were several features I was unfamiliar with. Luckily, baby sister has a brand spankin' new beemer so she knew what was up. She handled the navigation system easily and explained to me why the engine cut off suddenly when I stopped at a red light. I freaked out but she said it was some feature that helps save gas.
I think all of us were grateful too that I'd taken French in junior high and high school because we couldn't figure out how to get the GPS to talk to us in English. No matter though because I knew that "droigt" (pronounced "dwaht") is right and "gauche" (pronounced "go-sh") is left so it was no biggie. We took the southern route which took us about an hour and a half. We hit a toll road on the way there (and on the way back) which was €14.80 each time.

Soon, it was smooth sailing and I felt like a professional French driver. Is that even a profession? Maybe taxi driver.
For the most part, the drive was uneventful. The speed limit was 125 km/hr but it turns out that French drivers are somewhat aggressive and like to drive like speedy little monsters so I stuck to the right lane and kept at the speed limit. It might seem like a nerdy move but I had no intention of getting pulled over in a foreign country.
As we got closer to Annecy, we saw more and more mountains. We drove through two mountains that had awesome tunnels built into them.
It was pretty exciting when we finally saw signs for Annecy. The mountains and blue skies that greeted us were also a lovely welcome.
Annecy is probably the quaintest, sweetest, cutest town ever. It's super small so you can walk everywhere and despite its tiny size, there's plenty to do and so much fresh air to breathe. We parked our rental at an underground parking garage at the intersection of Rue Saint Francois de Sales and Rue des Glieres. It's €1.10 per hour but that garage is affiliated with our hotel and paid for 7PM to 8AM. We ended up paying €7.70 - I guess it was in there for 7 hours? Duh, which was awesome.
We stayed at the Hotel Alexandra which was a cute and tiny little hotel. It was nice and affordable at €75 per night. We booked through Hotels.com but they just asked for a credit card number to hold the room and we actually paid when we were checking out. There was a city tax that we had to pay as well (which happens all over Europe) so our total (in USD) was $105. The 'P' is obviously where the parking garage was located.

The hotel has somewhat of a modern-looking facade and the rooms are quite clean though they're kind of tiny. We had gotten ourselves nice and spoiled at the Hotel Mercure in Lyon so it was quite the change. Especially the teeny tiny bathrooms.
Apparently each room had a theme. Mine was damask and purple, I think. My cousin said her room's theme was probably "nature" because there was a wall paper mural of trees.
We had a tiny television, mounted on the wall, hospital-style, and a small desk (no chair) and a little bookshelf. It's just the basics here, but that's fine. I didn't snap a photo of the bathroom but just picture a 4 x 4 grid, one square is occupied by a stand-in shower, the second is occupied by the toilet, and the third holds the sink. The fourth square is just enough space for the door to swing in and that's it. We couldn't even keep our toiletries in the bathroom because it was so teeny!
But you know a balcony this cute makes up for the tiny bathroom right? No, not really, but honestly, by European standards, or at least what I've experienced in Europe, the size of this room was average so I have no complaints. Besides, it was affordable and close to the "action" so yes, I'd recommend this hotel for sure.
I'll probably have a semi-boring post like this for each of the cities I visited, just because I would like to do a brief overview and review of the transportation and hotel. I think it's useful. If you're not a fan, just come back when I'm doing something more interesting! Problem solved, right?

xoxo.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...