My recent trip to France was not part of the original plan. I was only supposed to travel to Belgium for an umpiring assignment. It just happened that an invitation arrived for a conference in Aiguebelette as well. I decided to attend since the date was quite close to my other commitment.
The first time I heard of Aix-les-Bains was when I got a list of recommended hotels near the conference venue in Lac d’Aiguebelette area. My contact from the organizers in Lausanne emailed it to me. I picked the hotel in Aix-les-Bains because it had the most user-friendly website. But I had zero knowledge about the place.
Usually, I take time to do some research to find out more about my destinations every time I travel. But I was not able to do that before my trip because things had been hectic. So I was clueless about what to expect. And I was okay with that.
The trip that brought me to the picturesque town of Aix-les-Bains was a long and tiring one. It took me roughly more than 24 hours (including transits). I started my trip in Davao then spent about 10 hours at the airport in Manila waiting for my flight. Then it was 9 hours to Abu Dhabi plus almost 4 hours of layover. I met up as planned with my colleague from Myanmar at the boarding gate. She was attending the conference with me. The last leg of our journey took a little over 7 hours. I was drained by the time we landed in Geneva. Someone picked us up at the airport and drove us to Aix-les-Bains. It took us less than 2 hours to get to our destination. It was a pleasant ride in roads surrounded by beautiful scenery.
I thought that I would be spending the rest of the afternoon sleeping when we arrive at the hotel. But a bath and brief rest re-energized us enough to venture outside to see more of the place. I was immediately charmed by what I saw and experienced at that time. There was something about Aix-les-Bains that made me fall in love with it. It is restful, but far from boring. It has a quiet elegance that is not standoffish. And I like how most of the people I met were nice. Some even took the time to chat with my friend and me. Quaint, charming, and fascinating are just some of the words that I can think of to describe it. I wish I could have stayed longer.
I arrived not expecting anything. And I left brimming with good memories.
(2-5 Sep 2015)