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[Entry 25] Christmas Eve

24 December 201002:02PMepic-triptravel

This town cannot possibly be this perfect. Case in point: I wake up on Christmas Eve morning, and it's snowing. And continues to snow all day. And probably will until boxing day, according to the locals. I'm pretty sure it doesn't work like that in real life. This must be the Matrix.

If it was the Matrix, it'd be greener.

I'd slept in until about 11, so we went down and had breakfast/lunch (hot chocolate and a pain au chocolat, which we would call a 'choclut crussont'.) Then we went out to have another look around the town. Once it snows on a place, it looks different, you see. We found the tourist information office we'd missed last night, not that we really needed anything from it. We walked across a park in the centre of town, next the the lake, and accidentally had a snowball fight (it was an accident I swear... I just happened to lob that snowball at dad, totally not on purpose.) By that time, it was 2pm, which is when the prison and chateau open.

LOOK, SNOW!

I made those snowballs by accident, I swear!

The prison was a really interesting building. It's in the middle of the main canal, which I guess acted as security and is on a pretty interestingly shaped bit of land, almost like a boat. It has a pretty interesting history too. It was originally a prison, then sort of evolved into a more multipurpose administrative building once Annecy became an important town (the duke of somewhere-or-other, Geneva I think, made it his capital, hence the castle), and at various points in its history was a stonemason's school, a mint, and is currently a museum/exhibition place. It's a good building. I like it.

I probably wasn't meant to touch this, but oh well.

Then we went to the castle. Like the prison, it'd been restored. There wasn't a whole lot of the original stonework visible on the inside, especially in the staircases and things, which were all reinforced and redone in modern concrete and then rendered or something. Still, a castle is a castle, right?

Once again, nonchalantly walking past.

I made a mini snowman, I call him Sned. Short for Snow-Fred.

Me an' Dad an' Sned. You can't see Sned though, he's too small.

What we did not know was that the castle was also the museum. It was a really odd museum too, very 19th century. It had bits and pieces from all over the place there which locals who'd gone out into the world had sent back to the museum. It had this hodgepodge collection of art, some modern, some older. It had a selection of traditional Savoy furniture. It had a section on the history of fishing around lake Annecy. It had an aquarium room with local fish species, and a room full of stuffed local birds. Oddest of all, it had a sort of meta-museum, which explained the history of the museum in museum form, and showcased a lot of its odd items. Like I said, a very stereotypical idea of a museum- a sort of collection of mismatched, eclectic objects. It was much better explained and labelled than the Cairo museum though, and I guess the fact that each room was totally different made it more interesting to look around. The world needs more museums like that, I think.

After we left the castle we got a bit lost, and ended up buying some churros (like straight donuts) near an ice-skating rink and asking for directions from the people behind the counter, who found the fact that we were from Australia and that it's almost 40 degrees over there to be highly amusing and out of the ordinary. They were friendly about it though. They recognised my French as sounding funny, I think, because the asked pretty much straight away if I was English.

This, by the way, is the town hall. The light show makes the lights in the windows look switched on. I don't think it's purple normally either.

We worked our way back towards the Christmas markets, and bought a fruitcake, and watched the light show on the town hall, and then thought about dinner a bit. We'd previously been past this place which sold ready made gourmet food, but passed it up in favour of a restaurant because we reckoned we could find one open. That turned out to be a mistake. When we did eventually find a bar which was open (it was a Scottish bar, even... I don't think any French ones would've been open) a family who was there explained that Christmas eve was when the French did most of their celebrating with their family (I facepalmed a bit at that- I remembered learning it in French class once she mentioned it) and thus all the restaurants were closed. It looked like we'd be DIY-ing then, but when we went by the insta-gourmet shop again, it was shut. By this point we were worrying a little, and walked into the first shop we saw (actually the only shop we saw) which was still open. It was a boulangerie/deli type place, and there we bought what was to be our christmas dinner:

It was actually really good.

So that was our Christmas eve. Tomorrow is the big day. I'm fairly confident no gifts will be exchanged, because neither of us really thought about it until it was a bit too late. Dad thought about getting me a GPS, because of my habit of getting lost, and I thought about getting him a nice photo album of all the places we'd been so far, but decided that getting this blog printed would be a better idea, except that I can't do it yet because it isn't finished. I might buy him some toothpaste though, so he can stop using mine.

And despite still being Christmas eve here, in Australia it's already Christmas day. So Merry Christmas, all you future-people. Hope it's a great one. :D

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