Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Saturday 26 January 2008

Temporary blog header change

Keen-eyed readers may notice that the sub-heading at the top of the blog has changed to reflect my departure next Tuesday from Scotland for Spain. In theory I should be blogging en route whilst driving down through France and Spain, where I expect to arrive at my destination in the Murcia region on Sunday 3rd February. Obviously this will depend on wi-fi availability on the ferry and the various hotels I'll be using on the way. Once I complete my journey I will probably be off-line for at least a week, as it'll take me a few days to get round to organising broadband in my own house - more a function of me being too busy to visit the ISP's office on-site to ask for it to be installed than any anticipated difficulty in getting it done; during this time my only way of blogging will be to visit a nearby internet café, but I doubt I shall have much time for that either.

For those that are interested I'm reposting my itinerary (originally posted at the beginning of the month):

On Tuesday I shall be departing Nairn (a little town on the Moray coast of Scotland, just east of Inverness) and beginning my journey to Mazarron, where I hope to arrive about 126 hours later. First will be a three or so hour drive down to Rosyth, the ferry-port on the Fife shore just north of Edinburgh, where I will board the Superfast ferry for Zeebrugge. With luck, assuming we arrive on time (weather permitting - last year we arrived a couple of hours late), I will be driving out of the port there soon after midday on Wednesday 30th.

My first overnight stop will be in Orléans, about an hour south of Paris. The whole journey, which will take me around part of the Bd Périphérique in Paris (a road I haven't had the 'pleasure' of driving on since I ended my 4-year sojourn there in 1988!), hopefully missing the worst of the early-evening traffic. I've been to Orléans only once before, a Sunday lunch destination on one occasion when I lived in Paris, although I have toured parts of the Loire region a few times as well (to visit the mediaeval castles and of course sample the wine).

The next day will take me from l'Aquitaine (the French A10 motorway linking Paris to Bordeaux) onto the A71 (l'Arverne - see a website about the names given to French motorways here) in the direction of Clermont-Ferrand, a city I've not been to before (and indeed will only transit this time). It is, however, the home of the ubiquitous Michelin company. Then it will be onto the A75 (la Méridienne) and my destination for the night, Millau, because I've wanted to cross the Viaduc de Millau, the spectacular bridge across the Tarn valley designed by Sir Norman Foster, ever since it was opened at the end of 2004.

My third day out from Zeebrugge will take me into Spain, where I'll spend my first night in a place called Castelldefels, just south of Barcelona; although I've been to Barcelona before (I drove through it earlier this year and did the 'tourist thing' there some years ago) and must have passed through Castelldefels before on the train on the way to/from Sitges (where I have holidayed before), I've not actually visited it yet.

The following day will take me farther down the AP-7 motorway to the city and region of Valencia where I'll spend the final night before arriving at my destination near Mazarron in the Murcia region on Sunday 3rd February.

I'm unsure about wi-fi availability at the hotel in Millau, but apart from that I should at least have the possibility of blogging if I get the time. There may be a couple of new posts before I leave on Tuesday - it all depends on pressure of time, which is becoming more intense as I prepare to leave.

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