Monday, 5th January 2015

Monday was a travel day. Searching for a suitable hotel in the area of Dordrecht threw up the Hotel Port of Moerdijk, one of the Holiday Inn Express chain. I’d stayed at one of these in London last year when I went down for the Marfan Information Day, and was quite impressed.

Before setting off I needed to get some supplies, especially some fruit, and fill up with diesel and again Lori the SatNav Lady came up trumps. I’ve added several supermarket chains to Lori’s points of interest list so it was a simple matter for her to find the nearest Carrefour selling fuel. This turned out to be the Carrefour Market in the Dunkirk suburb of Malo les Bains.

When I got there I found the supermarket was in a complex containing other specialist shops, one of which was a fruiterers called Les Halles du Méridien. It was a self-service shop with a vast array of fruit, vegetables and other items of a more calorific nature. The apple section contained several varieties which were new to me, so I plumped for the nice-looking Rubinette. This turned out to be a good move as when I got home and did a bit of research I found it is the best-tasting apple in the world! I would not disagree with that.

With the apples, clementines and bananas safely on board I filled up with diesel and set off. It’s a direct motorway route along the E40, E17 and E19, and with a couple of stops on the way I turned off for the hotel by late afternoon. The motorway was remarkable for the number of lorries using it. The convoys stretched for miles, and by way of example here’s a small (boring) sample:

See how many lorries there are in the other carriageway, too.

The hotel was easy enough to see but proved remarkably difficult to access. The secret was to go through the small service area (“Pin & Ga Tankstation”, no less) and over a small stretch of unmade road. Once checked in and having looked around, the hotel was well up to expectation. I did venture into Moerdijk later but darkness had descended and there wasn’t much to see. I returned to the hotel and dined in its restaurant, which was serving a buffet. The Coq au Vin was excellent!

The Netherlands is divided into several provinces of which North and South Holland are but two, so it’s not correct to use “Holland” and “the Netherlands” interchangeably. The full list of provinces is Drenthe, Flevoland, Friesland, Gelderland, Groningen, Limburg, North Brabant, North Holland, South Holland, Overijssel, Utrecht and Zeeland. Being in Moerdijk I was in North Brabant. Tomorrow, in Dordrecht, I would be in South Holland.

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