Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Spring Break, Part VII - the road to Chambery, France

Hello Kari:

Wednesday March 24, 2004

We left Glion and the wonderful bed and breakfast and headed for France. We drove along Lake Geneva and crossed over into France. Our first stop was the town of Evian-les-Bains.

We got there just before everything closed down for lunch. The lady at the tourism counter spoke English with a British accent!

She gave us a handout for a walking tour of the main part of town. But first we refueled on some pastries. Yum!

We then started to walk around and here is a photo of the town's historic old church.

By the way, did the name of the city ring any bells?

I have to say I don't prefer particular brands of water (I'm not snooty about water as long as it doesn't taste awful) but indeed, this French town is the home of Evian bottled water!

Here is the fountain where they say the magical healing properties of the water was first discovered. We saw people bring their Nalgene plastic bottles to fill up at the spout!

To read more about the history of the water, check here.

We got on the road to Chambery and we discovered something about the GPS unit. You can set it for shortest path by distance or by time. The unit was set for shortest path by distance so it told us to go up some mountains on some tiny winding roads instead of the big superhighway that went around the mountain! Anyway, we got to see some farmland and even some snow!

We got into downtown Chambery during rush hour and it was thoroughly confusing! Remember Zork? You see twisty passages leading in all directions.

The GPS often lagged behind a bit in refreshing the map thus we got confused as to when to turn and the signal sometimes dropped out because of the taller buildings of the tight urban center. We parked the car in the lot underneath the Palace of Justice.

Here I am at the Palace of Justice. Yes, this Californian was a bit cold!

If you want to read about tourism in Chambery, check out this site.

We met up with my friends Christin and Mike who hosted our stay and cooked up a wonderful meal for us road weary travelers.

We took a walk after dinner.

The most famous landmark in Chambery is probably the Fountain of the Elephants.

It is at the intersection of Boulevard de la Colonne and rue de Boigne which is very close to the Tourism Office.

Why elephants you ask?

It was built in 1838 to honor General de Boigne who was a leading citizen of the city who made his fortune in India which is symbolized by the elephants!

Every city has its old historic church and here it is above.

Travel tips:
* Read the travel guide on how to use a phonecard in a payphone! We got into town and were lost. Thus, we parked the car at the Palace of Justice and tried to call Christin and Mike to let them know we were in town but didn't know where we were relative to where they live. I read the travel guide enough to know one can get a phone card at the tobacco store. What I didn't know was that there were two different phone companies. I picked up the first one I saw on the counter. The cashier unable to speak English was trying to communicate to me about how certain I was about wanting that particular phone card. Eventually, he just got me the other brand. I figured he knew something I didn't! So we went to the phone booth with the phone card and soon got the French equivalent of "you can't complete this call as dialed." We tried all different combinations. Eventually, we asked somebody walking by and he explained how to make a call. Whew!
* The GPS is a neat gadget but in tight crowded city situations it becomes less useful. Also check the mode: plot course by time or by distance! There is always the need to be able to read a map and local signage. Part of the charm of travel is to "get lost" but at times you do want to get to where you want to get to in a reasonable amount of time so a good nose for directions is a good skill to have. Suffice to say, it isn't one I don't have so I should factor in "lost" time in my travel plans!

Happy trails!


Go onward to part VIII.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home