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.