One of the delights of traveling without a destination is stumbling onto lovely places like this lake high in the Vosges Mountains of Alsace.
"Gerardmer" was just a dot on our large scale map (all of France and large parts of surrounding countries).
The lake didn't show on the map at all, so it was a surprise to find a sizable resort town with hotels and parks and score of boat rentals, though few boaters. It's cold, wet and gray, the coldest spring anyone can remember. (I've worn thermal underwear, two sweaters, jacket, hat and gloves every day since we left Boston.)
The lakeside Beau Rivage had an elegant restaurant which we didn't use -- we picnic every other night to make the Euros go farther -- but a lovely corner room for us with two balconies.
There was no soap in the bathroom, though, and there were no plastic cups or glasses for brushing teeth and taking your meds. (So unlike the Europe of 65 years ago, you drink the tap water everywhere.)
John had slyly gotten into his pajamas before I did, so I was the one who went down to the front desk to ask for glasses and soap.
"They'll give you glasses at the bar," the desk clerk told me, "and there's soap next to the shower."
The bar was even more elegant than the restaurant and I wished, as I asked for glasses that I hadn't come down in slippers.
And I remembered then that indeed there was bath gel on the wall next to the shower, easily reachable, as John had already discovered.
We were going to comment about this awkward arrangement when we checked out in the morning, but the only individual at the reception desk was clearly not interested.