If you think my decision to go to Aalborg for the carnival was last minute, it was nothing compared to my spur-of-the-moment thought to go to this year's Annecy. I had heard about for a few years from Louis and remembered to check and it was only a few weeks away. But I got cheap air fares and ended up with my first Couchsurfing experience since the whole city was booked out for the festival.
I left Copenhagen the day the festival started, but my flight got cancelled and I ended up being 7 hours late, missing the first day. Shucks. I was pretty frustrated, to say the least, but as soon as I arrived in Annecy I just couldn't help smiling. It was such a charming place.
I couldn't reach my host so I met up with Louis and his friends at the fountain by Bonlieu. Then we got ahold of my host and we all went to his place to drop of my things after which Louis walked me around town and we got a burger for dinner. We sat down to watch Ballerina, but since it was in French Louis left. I stuck around to see how much I could understand, and was shocked that I got almost every sentence and fully understood the movie.
Tuesday I tried to get into a WIP screening, but it was full with rsvp guests. So I headed for a networking talk at Mifa that ended with a surprise networking event! It was a good time with some great advice and meeting lots of people.
I stuck around to get into the Guillermo del Toro talk which was about most everything. It was super great! After this I went to try my luck with the Glen Keane talk. The line was super long and I ended up being number 7 in line and not get in. Rats!
No matter, I went around the block and did the VR experiences instead. Grabbed some food and met some TAW people around town, ending up at des Arts.
Wednesday I decided to do my one-day Mifa expo after my interview in the morning. I quickly got burned out because of all the impressions though. So I took a slow lunch and then went for a panel talk that was only in French and Japanese. This got my brain tired all over again haha.
So I took it slow again, sketching and cooling down.
Then I went for a movie screening, met a British girl and then met up with some TAW people at the ZAG party at night. It was a good time, dancing, getting odd freebies and hanging out on a weird beach.
Thursday I met up with two polish girls that I had chatted up on IG. We walked around and got lunch and ice cream.
This place really was the best - they even gave an additional small scoop on the top!
After ice cream we decided to go join Vicky in the queu for Zombielennium - which proved to be a blast. And we had fun folding paper planes too! It goes on before every event and screening and you have to try and get the plane to the screen area. A fun little game!
I was so surprised at the number of traditions at the festival. The paper planes, yelling LAPIN, doing animal noises - and singing along to the above song.
After this screening we parted ways for a bit and I went to dip my toes in and sketch by the water. And then we saw Kung Fu Panda at the open air.
Going home at night was a bit tedious as it was up to a 45 minute walk. On feet that had been walking all day haha. The last days I had some people to talk to though - Anastacia and Emil.
Next morning I got into the Coco/Cars3 screening with the Polish and then met up with the TAW girls afterwards! We got to the CHINE exhibit to late though, so only got to see the limited view.
After this me and Signe went to watch Lu over the Wall and got some decent seats thanks to some Sun Creature folks further up in the line. We then sat around, eating and drinking, chatting and playing. It ended up being a massive thing in a different park, and we only left when it got too cold. In the end they were all saying their emotional goodbyes at des Arts because they weren't going to see each other during their many internship months. And they were all leaving the next morning.
So Saturday was going to be very much alone-Liv. I did manage to go to the beach with the Polish girls! They didn't have swimsuits, but both ended up sacrificing their dryness to get in the refreshing water.
We said our goodbyes and they rushed to the bus. I took my time, and got another ice cream.
I sat on the staircase behind the shop, listening to the birds and the French.
Then I headed up the hill to Chateau d'Annecy to see the CHINE exhibit we missed the day before. It was cool enough, but I enjoyed the view and the castle itself more. It made me angry how Sleeping Beauty-perfect it was though....
One museum wasn't enough, so I walked over to the animation museum too. It was tiny! But had some nice pieces all the same.
By sheer coincidence I found my way into the Closing Ceremony, which wasn't actually on the schedule anywhere. As I came to learn, most things happening at Annecy were not made public and you kind of just had to know enough people in order to learn about them and/or get in. I only learned this the last few days, but instead of being too angry about it, I was just glad the festival was long enough for me to actually put my new knowledge to use.
I got a solo-crepe to get my energy up after the awards ceremony. It had been long, but it had also filled me with great joy, being surrounded by so many who took animation so seriously - and the event had a really high production value. I talked to Arianna over the phone while eating, since she was on EU time.
And then I went to the Closing party at Mifa! It was pretty crazy to see how quickly they had gotten all the expo booths out - but a good use of space! I met up with some Sun Creature people and got talking and dancing with a lot others. It was a good ending and I made my way home in the late hours.
I had arranged for a cheap ride up to Geneva in the morning, but overslept a little. This was more grave than I had thought, since I quickly realized that the busses didn't run at all on Sundays and there were very limited ways to get to Geneve. I finally found out a train, but my card didn't work on the website, so my host had to help me... It was a mess. And then I almost missed the train! It was only because I hitch-hiked (again, another first) to the station that I got there in time!
I got to Geneva though and me and Nicolas found each other easily. His English had become so good and he was a great guide, showing me around his city.
Since it was Sunday, it was a very slow day. Everywhere people were just relaxing in the sun, and all the stores were closed. The wind was very strong though, so in the beginning the fountain wasn't on.
The old part of time had some charming winding roads, and the fact that it was somehow layered was great fun.
The church was wonderfully Gothic and he showed me this gothic courtyard that yet again would have been perfect for Sleeping Beauty.
We walked through a park and saw the old-timers relax and play chess before going to a stree food market at a very industrial square. His favourite booth was sold out, but we still got food. Geneve was super expensive! So I was happy that we only ate street grub. We headed back towards the station, talking about life and cosplay and how both had changed since we had last seen each other.
We got limonade for us and his girlfriend from his favourite place after which he put me on a train to the airport. And that was the end of my Swiss-French adventure for this year.