Add to Technorati Favorites expat Abu Dhabi Dispatches: Summer Escape from Abu Dhabi....Part 1

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Summer Escape from Abu Dhabi....Part 1

In my last post I bitched about the summer heat in Abu Dhabi and I realized what a useless thing that is to do. Like traffic jams, taxes, father time and women, the weather just IS and no amount of my cursing and beating the wall with my fists are going to magically transform any of these absolutes into my idea of what they should be in my little world. Although I can't change the weather, fortunately I can change where I experience it. In this moment of clarity I decided to head north for awhile. I have an open invitation from a friend who lives in the French Alps and she had no objection to my plans to visit. I looked forward to crystal blue skies, green mountains and turquoise Alpine lakes. I was not to be disappointed.

My flight to Geneva left Abu Dhabi at the ungodly hour of 2:20AM but soon after the meal I fell fast asleep. I awoke around sunrise and was treated to a tasty salmon omelette for breakfast as well as this scene:

Traffic at 2 o'clock

Etihad's flight to Milan, a perfect intercept!

The slightly different headings and altitude provided a breathtaking crossover at FL380!

Descent into Geneva

Geneva Airport Flight Line

U.A.E Royal Aircraft

The Royal 747 was parked at a nearby gate, what a coincidence! This aircraft is based a few kilometers from my apartment. No doubt ferrying some deposits for the Swiss bank account.

Due to the early hour I breezed through immigration, easily found my hostess, Anna-Lou, and was soon on my way to France. My destination was the town of Annecy, a medium sized community located 30 km south of Geneva on the shores of, you guessed it, Lac Annecy. 

Because of its proximity to the Swiss and Italian borders, this medieval town saw several shifts in governments over the centuries and was once part of the Kingdom of Sardinia. Annecy is crisscrossed with canals and is known as the Venice of France. Last June, the International Olympic Committee announced Annecy as one of the three candidate cities for the 2018 Winter Olympics. From what I saw, the town has a very good chance against competitors Munich, Germany and Pyeongchang, South Korea.

So after a short, pleasant drive on the excellent roads we arrived at my hotel situated in Argonay, a suburban area close to Annecy. I stayed at the L' Auberge d' Argonay  hotel, a charming place reminiscent of a classic mountain chalet. I strongly recommend this small inn, there is a restaurant and bar on premises. The excellent food is of the area and the proprietors are welcoming. I accidentally left with my room key in my pocket at checkout, but it is on its way back via Empost, inshalla! I apologize for the inconvenience!

Anna-Lou and I had hot chocolate and fresh croissants in the restaurant while catching-up a bit. I had a long day already with the redeye flight and went to the room afterwards to decompress for a few hours with plans to meet up later..

View From my Room Balcony

The Mayor of Argonay's Office Across the Street

Closeup of Same

As you can see, the scenery is stunning and an antithesis to the dull, tan, hazy summer skies of Abu Dhabi. I instantly was relaxed and as "at home" as possible. I felt the tensions and anxiety of everyday life easing up as I absorbed the beauty. There was actually an historic church next door that rang its bell on the hour and half hour. As charming as this was, thankfully it was turned off at night!

I hate to do multi-part posts but I have much more to say. The next installment will have me visiting the Annecy city center and after that, cheating death once again! Hell, I may throw in an editorial, too.

Stay tuned....Seeya!


Dave said...

Wow - and here's me thinking you were stuck in AUH in the stinking heat (like the rest of us) drinking adult beverages... when in actual fact you are having a great time somewhere else - best of luck to you!! I am truly jealous....

Ace said...

Dave: It was an all too brief brush with paradise and unfortunately I am back in the sandbox overindulging in malt-based beverages again. Sometimes a short glimpse is worse than none at all. Sigh!

Neil Roberts said...

Glad you had a great time - now my turn to get out of the heat! Cya.