I asked Jo to come and live with me in Switzerland at the end of 2005 and after some to-ing, fro-ing and planning, we planned her move for May 2006. In order to ease the logistics of transporting Jo and all of her things from Scotland to Switzerland, her parents drove her down to my parents’ home in Hampshire, while I drove a large estate car over from Switzerland to meet her there. I chose a route to take in places I’d never seen before, amongst them Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Brussels, before heading for one of the shortest cross-Channel ferry routes between Dunkirk and Dover.
I placed all my trust in the satellite navigation system in the car and it did me perfectly; getting me from home to the U.K. and back again without a hitch. I arrived in Brussels after a nine hour journey, which took in four international border crossings and a protracted stop at a motorway service station in Luxembourg to avoid a severe hail storm. Leaving the car and my luggage at the hotel, I walked into the centre of the old city and found a restaurant, enjoyed a white beer and dinner before returning to the hotel and watching the Eurovision Song Contest on television.
The next day, I headed to my parents’ house by way of the Channel – spending part of the two hour trip watching the surprisingly watchable film Alien Autopsy. Jo arrived the next day with her parents and we all went out to a local pub for dinner before spending the night at my parents’. Taking the opportunity to spend time with family, we visited my aunt and her partner in Norfolk, taking a tour around some local villages and enjoying a break from driving, before heading back to Hampshire, to Jo’s extended family in Kent and onward into France. Our stopping point for the midway break back to Spiez was in Reims, a city we’ve now stayed in a few times due to its location midway between the U.K. and home.
Many of the shots I took en route were with my cameraphone, posted via email to my Flickr account to keep people abreast of where I was and what route I was taking. I’ve recently re-visited the following gallery of images for a personal album I’m going to have printed, inspired by the fact that we will be re-tracing part of this route in June.