Despite the fact that two of my flatmates are, only next week, about to undergo what is possibly the hardest academic ordeal in France, the Agrégation, involving 7 hour written literature exams and tests that demand them to be walking dictionaries in the etymology of the French language, these last couple of weeks have seemed very nice and relaxed. Partly this is because at no point have all six of us been in the flat (until tonight), but also it has felt rather like holiday time because they are revising (and I am, in fact, on holiday). So we have been watching several episodes of Friends together, going out roller-blading in the sunshine, and so forth.
Yesterday, Claire and I went to Annecy. The train in the morning turned out to be a bus (the French think they can trick you by painting the bus the same colour as the train and writing ter on the side but no, it was definitely a bus. However, it didn't go round the houses as I originally feared, but took us straight to Annecy so was really quite efficient. Once we got there we found the Office de Tourisme (NB this is the correct term and not syndicat d'initiative as, for some reason, the textbooks always told us!), where a lovely lady gave us maps and little booklets with "itineraires pedestres" for seeing the town. We wandered around, found lots of weird sculptures, admired the quaint old town, walked up the hill to a not very exciting château, then had a picnic in the park and (oh yes) took a pedalo out on the lake! It was beautifully sunny and warm, the water was sparkling and the scenery was magnificent. I was also very excited because the pedalo stations reminded me of punt companies, and the people running them were just like punters, and the girl at the place we got ours from was even in the middle of writing the rota that looked remarkably like a CCP rota…aaah. Pedalos are cool, but I think punts are better. The train went a weird route on the way back and ended up 40 minutes late because of "actes de malveillance" on the line, but this was not a problem really, as we'd had a very nice day.
This afternoon we have been for a Velo'v ride, up almost to Miribel (a heowge park north-west of Lyon). We didn't go all the way today, but maybe one day we will. In the meantime, cycling up by the river was lovely and even reminded us of Cambridge (and Oxford in fact) at times. Tomorrow we are once more heading to the Monts d'Or for a walking adventure: indeed, I should go and consult the map!