Today four of us – Julie, Cara, Anhtuan and I – packed up our cameras and passports and headed out early to catch a bus from Geneva to Annecy, France. Boy, are we glad we made the trip.
Let me start out by saying that none of us has the best grasp on French. My skills are limited to greetings and ordering various cheeses. But getting lost linguistically has become a daily occurrence, so we just went with it. But by the time we got to Annecy, it was our English failing us.
There are hardly words to describe the amazing beauty of Lake Annecy. Julie said it best: “This is heaven on earth.”
Home to a huge market in the city, Annecy is full of canals, winding stone streets, small shops and a sprawling park. The city sits on the northern part of Lake Annecy, where impossibly bright blue water has a backdrop of soaring mountains with some peaks capped in snow and some touching clouds. Dozens of paragliders floated through the air, while hundreds of paddleboats dotted the lake.
On a boat tour of the lake, our fellow travelers probably tired of our conversation, which consisted almost solely of “wow! Look at that!” interspersed by some stunned silences. Our overwhelming feeling by the end was that we are lucky – lucky to be part of the CCT Geneva program and lucky to experience such magnificence.
Of course, we couldn’t let a day go by on this intensive program without *some* academic angle. Luckily, we met Geetha, a UN Human Rights Council worker whose last post was in Darfur, Sudan. She joined us for the day, including a picnic in the park consisting of food from the outdoor market. We munched on fruit, bread and nougat and talked about the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, the politics of international aid, oil interests in Africa and much more. A lot of it tied in closely with the issues we read about for our Trade, Technology and Development class.
All in all, an unforgettable day – and we just may return another weekend to join those paragliders in the sky.