Thankfully the lounge wasn’t as busy as the queues had made me fear. No seats by the food, but plenty of space by the champagne as usual. We tag teamed our assaults on the buffet and I entered my happy place: big fat fry-up and a little bit o’the bubbly.
The music was louder than usual, but also better: jazzy versions of hymns, some John Martyn, etc.
The huge strike in France was causing a bit of consternation. Our flight was to Geneva, which tends to require flying directly across a country which was to have greatly diminished air traffic control capability. A couple of flights had been cancelled, and the BA app was showing that we’d be arriving over half an hour late.
This was a bit of a problem, since we were booked on a coach from central Geneva only 70 minutes after the original landing time, and we needed to be there 15 minutes in advance so that’s 55 ... take out the 35 delay and that gave us, uh, 20 minutes to get off the plane, through immigration and customs, onto a train, into the city and find the bus garage.
With that obviously a non-starter, I cancelled the coach and booked on a slightly later one, but also noticed there was a service leaving the airport a bit earlier - albeit for a fair bit more money. Ah well.
The flight came up as on gate A1, in the same building as the lounge but the furthest gate from where we were sitting. With some worries about having our bags taken off us at the gate and put in the hold, we got there early in the hope that being part of fancy priority group 1 boarding we’d not suffer that fate. Indeed, we were able to keep our bags.
Our chosen seats had been unceremoniously modified by BA overnight, because they’d increased business class by 9 rows so we were in the curtain envying row 10 now, in seats E and F. 10D arrived and spent most of the time on the ground on phone calls, right up until we were steaming along the runway about to take off – this after she’d been told off during the safety demonstration, which she was talking over. I mean Jesus Christ what the fuck.
The plane was bloody sweltering, which sent both Helen and I to sleep for a bit. I was awake by the time we took off, a good half an hour after we’d sat down. Browsing through the M&S onboard food menu I was pretty impressed to see that they now sell pie – with a discount for buying with a beer!
The first office announced that we’d be landing at about 1345, in the end only 15 minutes late. We could probably have made the 1510 after all, damn it. Anyway, there were nice views out of both sides of the plane - on the left they had Mont Blanc, on the right we had a variety of stuff.
Like this chain of villages and stuff along the river in a valley.
And mountains with less snow on them than you might expect.
And this big lake with some much more impressive mountains on t’other side.
Apparently Annecy has one of France’s shortest rivers. Dunno if this is part of it, or one of the canals. There are both and I’m not sure how to visually differentiate. But what’s most important is that it’s a wonderful place to wander around.
En route we’re looking at restaurants, since neither of us have eaten since 9am back in the lounge. There are plenty, and they are all shut.
Aha, there’s the bridge to the market.
Many of the market stalls are selling vin chaud, both blanc et rouge varieties. Many are selling cheese. Those that aren’t selling consumables are the opposite of most Christmas market stalls I’ve ever seen: they’re selling good quality, classy goods rather than outrageous tat. Helen gets particularly excited by the one selling terrariums.
Around the way is the town hall, which is having a big animation projected against it, complete with soundtrack. It’s pretty impressive.
We haven’t stopped to buy anything yet. Helen is very much in favour of sitting down indoors in a restaurant, and I’m saying we should exploit the good weather to get complete bearings of the whole old town – including the other half of the market which is half a mile away. So we walk, and see loads of other nice buildings and stuff.
Also many more restaurants, all of which are shut. Slowly, through a mixture of observation and Google, we discover that restaurants around here don’t open until 7pm. There are a handful that do restauration non-stop, but they all look shit. The good ones take a big break in the afternoons.
That’s fine if you’re already immersed in the culture and had a big lunch, or indeed lunch of any kind, but we’re on the verge of getting hangry.
The other half of the market is called the “Alpine Village”, and is on a town square rather than lining the banks of the water. There’s a big ice rink set up, and fewer goods stalls, more drinking and eating. But it’s too crowded and selling the same stuff as the other one – so we go back to the first one, making a beeline for the tartiflette-selling stall.