It is Saturday 8th July. Like every other UK boat we (okay I) have become obsessed with the derv situation and we are still in hiding behind the toilet block in Oostende, our fuel tanks brimming with illicit red derv and customs men are scouring the marina or so it seems to me! I am convinced that everyone who walks past on the pontoon is going to dip my tanks and fine me hundreds Euro!
We decide to bug out for the day and go to Brugge, it is somewhere I have always felt would be interesting to go to. I have convinced myself that it is known as the “Venice the north” but I’m told that I made that up and anyway it should be applied to Ghent and not Brugge!
However for people interested in bricks, and who isn’t? It is a symphony, no opera in clay! It’s cathedral has the tallest brick tower in the Low Countries. There are two cathedral but to save any confusion this one is easily identifiable by its very tall Tower!
We walk over to the station from Grace. It is only a couple of minutes walk from where we are hiding! There are 3 trains per hour and the trip only takes 15 minutes. Actually getting on to the train was a bit of a struggle as we had to fight a tsunami of people with buckets and spades, windbreaks and picnics heading for the beach.
Once in Brugge, we just follow everyone else! They must be going to somewhere interesting…. we guess. The town is heaving with people. It is very picturesque but out of every alleyway pile streams of people, all following umbrella wielding guides. Again we get swept along with the flow, avoiding mad cyclists tearing through the crowds at breakneck speed or dodging horse driven city tours.
We go to try to see the only Da Vinci sculpture outside of Italy, but after being directed to three different places to buy tickets we give up and go to buy some chocolate which was rather more successful! I go into a rather snazzy Choco boutique, the assistant is very help and samples 4 chocolates for me. I then buy 6 and beat a hasty retreat out of the door. She is not impressed that I am not a big spender!
Now Oostende is a revelation if you love beaches and I do! We walk to the seafront and there is a beautifully wide promenade that stretches for miles and miles. It’s beach is wide with lovely fine sand. It is lined with white beach huts, shops selling buckets and spades, in fact everything you need for a fun day playing on the sand!
We walk for miles, treating ourselves to fresh crispy chips and mayonnaise….yum before staggering home to Grace for a cup of tea and bed…its only 2130 but we are worn out!