Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Monday, 15 January 2007

Nairn to Beaune via the Netherlands

The journey down from Inverness to the ferry terminal at Rosyth (just north of Edinburgh) last Friday was uneventful although it was very cold - there was snow at the side of the road over the high mountain passes (Slochd and Drumochter) and the rain was mixed with sleet for quite a while, but the road itself was clear and fortunately there was no ice. A bonus is that there was very little traffic, so I had a pretty clear run down.

Check-in to the ferry was rapid and pleasant and the cabin, as expected, was excellent - as was the food on board (always an important consideration for me). However, because of strong winds (in excess of 60-70mph gusts) departure was delayed for about two hours, as was our arrival the following day in Zeebrugge. However, the crossing itself was relatively smooth, a tribute to the effectiveness of the ship's stabilisers, as the sea was VERY rough.

On arrival in Zeebrugge and after exiting the ship, it was simply a matter of setting my SatNav to the address in the Netherlands (near Maastricht) where I wanted to go and about 2 hours and 20 minutes later I was driving up to the front door. I had a great weekend in the little village of Sweikhuizen, visiting with family and friends and a full weekend of activities had been planned, including a very enjoyable birthday party for the hostess of the house where I was staying. Sunday afternoon was spent walking in a group of 10 with frequent stops for coffee and cake and for beers and wine, zigzagging back and forth across the Dutch/Belgian borders.

This morning I left the Netherlands at about 9am and after about 7 hours (with a couple of breaks for coffee and for lunch) I arrived in Beaune, having driven south past Maastricht into Belgium, before arriving about 2 hours later in Luxembourg (where I re-filled the tank with fuel as petrol is much cheaper there); shortly after that I crossed over into France, passing Metz and Nancy before having a break for lunch and to give the dog some water and let her have a walk. Then it was on the road again, passing through Dijon and Gevrey-Chambertin before arriving in Beaune where I am happily installed (along with dog) in a comfortable room with wi-fi access. I've already given the dog her tea and once I have taken her for a short walk will go down to the restaurant for what I hope will be a nice meal, but certainly accompanied by a glass (or two) of rather nice wine from the Cote d'Or region; the hotel has some nice wines in its list (yum yum!).

Tomorrow I head south for Vaisons la Romaine in the Vaucluse (not far from Orange), where I shall be staying with friends so shall not have internet access again until at least Wednesday, when I hope to be in Girona for my first night in Spain.

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