Surprise Trip (Part IX. Annecy, France)

The day that we left Toulouse, I was a mix of emotions. Being back in France, I knew it would be inevitable that we’d end up back in Paris at some point, for a flight to head home. As tiring as it was to fast travel the way that we were going, I loved every minute and did not want the trip to end. Maybe that’s what it’d feel like if I am on Amazing Race one day!

Fortunately, we weren’t headed back to Paris yet. When Bridge punched our destination into the GPS, I was delighted to see that it wasn’t a destination I recognized. Annecy, 648 km from Toulouse. Is that still a place in France?? According to the GPS, it would take 6 hours to get there, which meant probably more like 8 with me behind the wheels in Europe. I took a deep breath to prepare for the long drive, made sure my favorite playlist was ready, and off we went on our long road trip…

I’ve never been one to drive long stretches by myself, so this 6 hour drive to Annecy was tough. I did have to pull over at a rest stop once to take a power nap, since I could feel myself dozing off behind the wheels. What a difference it made to nap for 30 minutes!

We stopped at a small town for dinner, only to then be caught in pouring rain for the last stretch of our road trip. My vision isn’t the best, especially when it’s dark and rainy, so I drove very, very slow for the remainder of the time. We arrived to Annecy late in the evening and checked into our Airbnb. Boy, was I relieved to finally get to rest my eyes and body!!

Is it possible to add a surprise into a surprise trip? Apparently, it is, when Bridgette is behind the planning. She does, after all, carry the surprise gene that runs strong in my family. When we awoke the next morning, she told me she’d made lunch plans for us already. We walked through the beautiful, cobbled streets of old town and as we crossed a small bridge towards a restaurant, I heard some loud cheering and yelling of “surprise!” It took me a few seconds to process the smiling, familiar faces spanned across a large table in front of us. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Two Worldschooling families that we had met in Bali a few years ago were right there, greeting me with hugs and laughter!!

I later learned that Bridge had schemed with them to meet up with Annecy, since they were in Paris and would make their way to the south of France. They were able to make the detour work, but we would only have a 24 hour overlap. We decided we’d make the most of those 24 hours together.

After enjoying a scrumptious lunch together, we explored the town of Annecy by foot. It was a gorgeous alpine town, with winding canals, cobblestone streets, and colorful houses. It also happened to border the cleanest lake in Europe, and while it was too cold to be in the lake at that time, we did walk alongside it to enjoy the glistening blue water and mountainous backdrop.

Bridgette was just as ecstatic to reunite with her Worldschooling buddies Luna and Leelou as I was to see their parents Liezl, Viet, Jade, and Tony. After exploring the town, we went back to the Burke’s Airbnb to hang out. The kids played games, danced, and chatted incessantly while the adults caught up over some nice wine and delicious food. It was a simple, yet precious time together, because Bridge and I had been isolated for so long. To see familiar faces and have company once again brought us sooooo much joy!

We said our good byes late that night, with the Nguyens’ and Burkes’ coaxing us to join them in the south of France. I was definitely tempted to say yes to that, but left the decision making to Bridgette. We spent the next few days continuing to enjoy Annecy ourselves, indulging in amazing French cuisine, relaxing by the lake, and constantly checking out gelato shops. We even took a day trip to Geneva, Switzerland since we had our car!

On our last day in Annecy, Bridgette announced we will indeed be pivoting our plans to join our friends in the south of France for the next week, and got to work rearranging everything. I was ecstatic for more time with our friends and relieved that I wasn’t the one having to handle all the cancellations, lol.

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