Europe Summer 2010 - Day 3 and 4

July 05, 2010

13 June 2010, Day 3 – Dijon Strasbourg Geneva

Next day we woke up to a sunny day. Proceeded to go back to the town centre where things were still closed, being a Sunday. The thing with Europe is that virtually EVERYTHING closes by 5pm on a Sat, and all closed on Sundays, with weekdays closing at 7pm. That is one thing I cannot reconcile with compared to Asia. We couldn’t even buy any Dijon mustard since the shops were closed, haha. Had some pastry from the boulangerie though. Everyone was buying bread. That seemed to be what they like to do regularly, buying baguettes, which I find very amusing.

The wine shops were open though and that’s the aim of QY – to try and buy wines from the Burgundy wine area. I however am not that interested as I don’t think I can fully appreciate wines. But it was nice to experience them anyway since we are in the famous Burgundy wine region.

Went to another little town called Eguisheim that looked like a real Disneyland setting with all the quaint cottages, cobbled stones and even a horse drawn carriage! Popular among LKKs, this town. LKK = lao kok koks, the old folks! It got a little drizzly but nothing serious.

When we got back to the car I realized that my train to Geneva is at 5pm instead of 7. That was quite a blur moment, and the entourage had to discard their white-wine region to send me to Strasbourg. Boo. And when I got there found out that my train had left so I had to take another one that transfers at Bern. It was a super long journey – 2.5 hours to Bern, half hour wait, and then finally to Geneva. I reached the station at 11.40 and finally got to the youth hostel at midnight.

The youth hostel was another new experience. Luckily the registration desk opens till late and I had already booked a bed (really last minute, 2 nights ago). I had to stay in the 6 people dorm as there was no other space. I got a bedroll and a card that lets me open a locker and access to the room. It was surprisingly clean and filled with people at that hour though, so that’s great. Showered quickly, had a quick wrap with a drink downstairs and crawled into bed quietly (4 other people are already sleeping).

14 June 2010, Day 4 – Geneva Annecy

Breakfast! Woke up a bit later and went for the canteen breakfast downstairs. It was good actually, quite hearty, with bread, butter, jam, cereal and coffee/tea/orange juice. Nothing too fancy and I suspect what a lot of people in Europe have for breakfast.

Had a quick chat with a dorm mate, and found out to our surprise that she was from Singapore! And further conversation divulged that she was my senior from university from 10 years back. Wow! That was quite cool that we actually met in a youth hostel in Geneva. She’s here on stopover from London.

That Monday was excursion day for me. I set out at about 10, and had planned out a whole journey to Annecy in France that was supposedly just 2 hours away. My siblings told me it was beautiful there so I wanted to see for myself, since I have nothing much to do anyway. First part of the trip started well, walked to the train station, took a tram, and alighted at Amandolier. Then the confusion started as I could not find the Geneve-Eaux-Vivres train station where I am supposed to catch a bus! I asked an old man for directions and he told me to take another tram for a few stops along with him. Then I got even more lost walking around from there and asked more people for directions all of which did not help. Haha.

Finally had to resort to smsing ZQ and scott in Singapore for them to check the transport website for me again. Apparently then I had to take the train from Eaux-Vivres to Annemasse and catch a bus instead of a direct one, so I went back to amandolier, and found the station tucked behind in a small road fork! I should have looked closer the first time.

So I took the train, and had to look around for the bus as well and managed to buy a ticket and catch it in time. Dang. The bus ride was uneventful, but the weather outside was great for the first part. But by the time I got near to Annecy it started pouring really heavily! Really not my luck. Got off the bus and it was freezing cold with the rain that I had to hide in a restaurant and have my lunch. I was also quite clueless as to where to go to sightsee as I am alone and do not want to miss my bus back. I did however see a little of the old town and it was really nice, if the weather is. Hurried back and had a coffee and crepe, as well as bought 2 macarons and an apricot tart to take away. At least I had that!

Another long bus ride back, but this time direct to Eaux-Vivres. Took the tram back and then walked to the hostel, but not before stopping to have a kebab nearby. It was a HUGE kebab, I cut it into two and was still full from the half. I saved the other half for Grace (the fellow Singaporean), thinking if she did not have dinner I can pass it to her. In fact, when we got back, we found out that the Japanese girl in the bed above me had not had dinner and shops were all closed! So she had a free kebab, haha.

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