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Monday, October 6, 2014

Belgium trip - the seaside

The seaside - sunshine, golden sands, boardwalks, the ocean. Belgium has all that, just not all of it in abundance during the early days of autumn. Seeing as the North Sea is only a short train ride away from Bruges, we decided to make a day trip out to the coast. Unfortunately, the day we went turned out to be the least ideal for a seaside excursion - parts of it, anyway. For the weather was constantly changing that Friday - going from cold to warm, from overcast to rainy to sunny, from jackets and sweaters to short-sleeved shirts and then back again.

We began by taking the train to Ostend. Once a thriving resort back in the days when it was a port serving ferry traffic to and from England, the town has clearly seen better days, hinted at by its grandiose train station facade. This was actually my second trip to Ostend, having been there as a baby while traveling with my parents (and sleeping in the bottom drawer of a chest of drawers as there was no crib in the room):

The town center opposite the station is lined with tea houses, the perfect place for the first beer of the morning day. It's Keyte time!:

Jeff stands in front of an auspiciously-named establishment:

My daughter took advantage of the opportunity to run around on the sand:

Promenade selfie. What I first took from a distance to be construction equipment turned out to be "art":

Port scenes:

Amber and Pamela enjoyed snacking on the fresh seafood, especially the sea snails:

Having decided there wasn't much to see in Ostend in the off-season, we hopped on the Kusttram, the nifty little tram service that runs from one end of Belgium's coast to the other:

Our first stop was De Haan, a much nicer seaside village that still retains its charm even when summer has gone. Albert Einstein once stayed here, as several signs throughout the town remind visitors:

It was time for lunch when we arrived in De Haan. The second beer of the day was a Strandjuttersbier Mong De Vos:

Amber worked off her large meal by playing next to the North Sea:

De Haan's seafront promenade:

Were I to retire in Belgium, De Haan would be a possible contender for spending my golden years getting tipsy on Belgian beer and obese on Belgian chocolates (and fries):

Back on the tram to our next destination, Blankenberge:

There wasn't much to do in Blankenberge other than walk the main street and check out the shops, especially the chocolatiers:

While Barbara, Jeff and Pamela relaxed in a cafe, I took my daughter to the Serpentarium. Amber was fascinated by the collection of lizards, snakes, scorpions and tarantulas. Here's hoping she doesn't lose interest in such critters as she gets older (and faces pressure to be more "feminine"):

Looking at all those Braadworsts and Belegde Broodjes made me homesick:

Eventually, we bade goodbye to Blankenberge...

and made our way back by train to Bruges:

Amber trods the cobblestone streets:

We would visit the 13th-century Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk church the following day:

The little St-Bonifaciusbrug bridge, with its idyllic views of the canal:

A late-evening meal and drink at the Craenenberg Café:


  1. enjoying this series, Jim. really great photos.

    1. Thanks! It really was a great trip.