Pretty Ostend

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ostend (or Ostende or Oostende) is a seaside town in the north of Belgium, a north-facing resort.

All the guidebooks I read made a point of how grey and depressing Ostend can be, with concrete façades and bulky buildings along the seafront.

However with a bit of searching it is possible to find the remnants of a different, prettier Ostend.

Slow train in Belgium

Monday, November 25, 2013

On a public holiday, I took a very slow train between Bruges and Ghent.

The train slowly glided through a seemingly flat, featureless landscape. 

But as it went along, its slow pace and quiet carriages allowed me to enjoy the following sights and sounds. 

  • The only noise being the chug of the train, the heating turning on and off and faint digital device buzzes and blips.
  • The conductor moving through the carriages and saying "schcifft!" to every passenger.
  • A single bright green row of lettuces in a field of purple cabbages.
  • Cylindrical silage bales wrapped in black and white plastic like bullseye humbugs.
  • Huge flocks of white birds scattering as the train trundled past.
  • A convoy of trucks with the company name Lekkerland (Tasty land) emblazoned on them.

High Up in the Low Lands

Monday, November 18, 2013

I've recently paid a visit to three cities in Belgium (as well as a day-trip to the Netherlands).

My first instinct when arriving in a new town or city is to try to see it from above.

So in Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp and 's-Hertogenbosch, I ascended the combined 274 metres in two bell towers, one cathedral turned to an art centre and a museum to see these pretty towns laid out before me.

Bruges from the Belfry

Ghent from the Belfry

Antwerp from Museum Aan de Stroom

's-Hertogenbosch from the Hieronymus Bosch Art Centre