Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Free water in Evian

View from Chateau Chillon
Friday 10th September 2010: Lausanne, CH to Annecy FR. I woke up this morning with the same sore throat and thought it would be better to stay in the warmth of the Snail shower rather than walk through the cold morning. The Pilot is made of stronger things than me, so we went off. I know that when I get a sore throat, it means a week of being ill. It always tarts with the throat, then the nose, then the cough. If I get to the cough, then I’m officially ill and I won’t sleep, and I must have my sleep. As long as I have a continued amount of sleep per night I’m fine, if not, I’m like a monster!

Time to leave Lausanne, and although the showers were great, its time to see what else is around the lake, before we go back to France and stay in Annecy. The Pilot has been good this week, although he is pining for his flying.

We drive to Montreaux, but because we can’t find a place for the Snail to park, we keep going. We stop at Chateau Chillon, to have a look around the grounds because the castle has an entry fee. It’s a beautiful place and looks like it could have been in a movie.

Where we have parked the Snail seems to be an 'Alfa Romero' convention. There are old cars dating over the decades and they are parked elegantly next to one another. A boys dream. 

I am then told that I have to take over the driving. Its not that I don’t like the driving, I just don’t like the driving!! But, because I am driving, I can choose to stop and park the Snail where I want, and I do. We are heading for Evian, because I hear you can get free drinking water there. We stop in a lay-by near the lake and I sit by the rocks looking out over the lake. It has been a good week and I will take some good memories from this country. It has been really good to do things together and think maybe that has been the problem over the past few weeks.

I look over the rocks and see some ducks and swans coming over; I sneak back into the Snail to find some stale bread to feed them. The Pilot comes out to help, and it’s another moment shared. The bread soon runs out, and although I try to bring some ‘real bread’ out, I have no luck. The Pilot appears after a while with a few slices of ‘real bread’ and the birds eat out of our hands. It’s a nice hot place to stay here, and so I sit on the rocks like a mermaid, whilst the Pilot reads his book inside the snail.
When the moment comes to leave, I think about the driving ahead of me going to Evian, what I didn’t realise is that Evian is about 5 minutes drive from where we are, so after parking the Snail, and believe me that was a traumatic experience, we arrive in Evian.

The Pilot has had enough of sightseeing and so he stays to read his book by the waters edge. The bike and me go off in search of what there is and the infamous free water.

I arrive at the top of the town after getting a map and wonder around the streets in search of the liquid refreshment. When I get there, I put the 2 litre bottle out of my rucksack eager to fill it. Only when I start to put it under the spout, the water is leaving the bottle at the same rate. The Pilot has given me a cracked bottle and now I have no means to fill it. A French lady, who is doing the same, only with about ten 5 litre bottles, looks at me in pity and goes off to rummage about in her car and pulls out a 5 litre bottle for me to have. I utter my thank you’s a hundred times as I fill the bottle and she has a huge smile on her face, and so does her little grandson, who by now has started to climb the Evian Statue in front of the water fountain. I wonder how I am going to ride my bike all the way back with the bottle on it, but I walk most of the way.
I am nearly at the bottom of the hill, when something catches my eye. It is a shop with an artist inside using every colour of pastel ever imagined. I watch her pop up a sketch on the window and I am intrigued. Here she has her own exhibition space, as well as a place to sit and draw, all in full view of the public who walk by, like me, take a fancy to what’s inside and takes a peek. I go inside and look around; her pieces of art are amazing. We chat for a while and she tells me of a commission she is doing at the moment. A couple have sent her a photo and she is transferring it into a pastel picture for them. I wish now I had a job so that I could do the same. I give her my email address so that she can send me her newsletter, and I buy a postcard of a mermaid because it reminds me of what I have been doing the same afternoon.

I get back to the Snail and the Pilot is ready to leave here and head back to France. We are planning of staying in Annecy before we head of to the Coupe Icare Festival. I have heard of this place regularly over the past few years and hearing other Pilots describe it as a great place to fly. I hope it will be.

We arrive in Annecy after the drive and have a look around the landing site and talk to a few people. We look at a parking place for the night, its about 5 minutes from the landing field, so it doesn’t look too bad. We are unsure of whether we have to pay for it and we spend some time looking around at the signs.
A man, who doesn’t speak French, but we think is from Holland, comes out of his Camper van and heads towards us. He says something to us, and we try to understand him, but I think he has had a few so we cant make head nor tail what he is saying. The Pilot concludes that it is free, but we go off in search of a nearer place. We look at the campsite and find that the gates are shut. We wonder if we could just park outside for the night, but there is a security guard sitting in his car, and once we approach, he gives us our marching orders. Its hard to find a place to rest your head!

We park near the trees by the road and have a BBQ. It’s the first time we have bought some steaks to go on it, as usually we have sausages. The Pilot is keen to eat them, but they are still pink when he brings them in. we settle to watch a DVD whilst the chips and steaks are cooking. It was well worth the wait, and after our Swiss tour, it was a great end. The peace and tranquillity was suddenly shattered as we heard two cars screech up in front of us, music pounding. I looked through the gap in the front curtains and saw about 15 people come out of these two cars. They were swaggering along like the downtown streets of LA, and I was quite scared. My imagination kicked in, What if they were a gang going to set the Snail on fire, and grab me and do unspeakable things to me. I had already had a few glasses of wine, so my imagination was in overdrive! I looked at the Pilot, and I said, lets get out of here. Now, if he said to me not to worry, then that would be ok, but because he started to pack up quick, that’s when I started to panic more. I crept out of the Snail to pick up the BBQ bucket which was still smouldering and took it inside. We would sort that bit out later. I made sure all the doors were closed and we got out of there really quick. Back to the man we couldn’t understand, at least there would be no hoodlums here..or so I hoped! 

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