Day 8 – Annecy – 80 km

Rather than head over to Annemasse, most of us decided to have a pseudo-rest day and spend the day cycling around Annecy which is one of the most delightful places I have ever been. With an old medieval town, a lake and mountains what more could one ask for? It was also an opportunity to seek out a bicycle shop and get some new rim tape to hopefully solve my front tyre problems.

After breakfast most of the tour group cycled around the lake. I headed to  the tourist information centre to find out where the bicycle shop was. I was directed to a sporting shop next door which had tyres, but no rim tape, so I went to another shop in town which also didn’t have rim tape. He directed me further up the road to a large store which he claimed carried everything.

It was great to wander around the old town through the cobblestone streets. As it was early morning the tourists were not as yet out in force, although many locals were shopping at the market stalls selling fresh fruit, vegetables and other food. There was a canal winding its way inland from the lake, which had this amazing built up island. Small bridges crossed the canal leading to overhanging alley ways with lots of nooks and crannies to explore. My wife Lis would have loved it.


I eventually headed out of town along the bike path which was built on an old railway line. This meant that the grades were moderate (3%) with no traffic for most of the way. A cyclists dream! I found the cycle shop and they were very helpful, providing me with rim tape, new cycling gloves and a magnet to replace the one I lost for my cadence meter.

I continued north along the east side of the lake and passed a number of people from my tour heading back into town, having almost completed the 40 km circumnavigation of the lake. The cycle was delightful but the skies were ominous, and sure enough, as I reached the end of the lake it began to rain heavily. I pulled off the path and found a café where I had a drink and sat waiting for the rain to stop. It looked really set in for the day so after an hour of waiting I donned my rain gear and headed back to town, having given up on cycling around the lake.

For me, the only problem with cycling in the rain is the cold that eventually seeps into you. I had not brought my boot covers so my feet and hands were quite cold; the rest were protected by Goretex and so were fine. As I approached Annecy the rain lightened and then stopped just when I got to town. Ho hum. I decided to check my e-mail and went to the tourist information centre to get a map. Armed with my new map, I bumped into Andrea from my tour who was lost, I gave her my map so she could find her way out of town.

After answering e-mails I emerged to a brilliant sunny afternoon. I wandered through the old part of town again and found a middle eastern restaurant where I had a great vegetarian couscous lunch. I then decided to get on my bike again and try to cycle around the lake, this time starting on the western side.

The ride was along busy roads without too many cycle paths, so it was not as pleasant as the eastern side of the lake, and there were also a lot more hills. At one point I asked some locals if I could cycle closer to the lake and they directed me down a road. Unfortunately, the route went back to town so I had to cycle back up a steep hill to the main road again; that will teach me for trying to be idle. Still, when I took that detour I found an amazing old chateau which was now a hotel and a lovely beach. There were people there dressed in medieval outfits preparing for some form of show. It’s always fun to stumble upon a gem.

There were small towns, farms and beaches all along the road and I resolved to return on day and spend more time in this delightful place. The photos below do not do justice to the beauty of the area. It really is special.



Eventually I rejoined the bike path where I had been earlier in the day and cycled the now familiar route back into town. Jonathan, our tour guide, thought I was mad having done the trip once in the rain and then returned in the sun, but I was here to ride my bike and it was a great place to do it.

After an excellent dinner the others from the tour decided to head into town to watch a circus that was performing. It was a fine evening so I strolled along with them, but then wandered along the lake and into town rather than watching the circus. It was fun walking around the cobblestone streets people watching, especially now that the tourists were out in force. The buildings were high lighted in a most enticing way and I thoroughly enjoyed my wander. There were buskers out doing everything from music to mime, and wall to wall people. I eventually found my way home again and sat outside chatting with Jonathan and a few others until late in the evening. So ended another fine day.

On to the next day or Home

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