|Beach. Windy. Not wheelchair-accessible.|
|Bouillabaisse a la Mer du nord|
Just a few weeks ago, a friend and I had a discussion about the Lucky Luke comics. First of all: they're French/Belgian, being drawn by the same guy(s) who did Asterix & Obelix. Second of all: In the new Lucky Luke comics delivered and read in Canada, Luke chews on a blade of grass, or a straw, or whatever, but not on a cigarette like he used to. Cycling along the promenade, I am stopped dead in my track but this sight. Luke, the stupid dog, and the non-stupid Dalton brother and Luke is SMOKING !
|He still smokes in these parts ;-)|
|Oh Belgians, what have you done to your coast?|
|my version of The Scream|
Time to go to bed in my hotel.
At first I suspect my hotel (vacation rentals actually) is designed for the elderly wheelchair-bound guest, since there is not a single stair in sight. Add to that emergency push buttons, wheel-chair-accessible showers and balconies (!) and they know who their target audience is. I just typed the vakanties met de puntjes op zorg into Google Translate:
Holidays with the dots on health care
That explains why the elevator doors sound a chirpy Opgepast before they close.
Hmm. I learned something new. And NO, I was not trying to make fun of elderly vacationers in wheelchairs, but the real importance of this hotel was hammered home when I saw several young guys in their 20s wheel their chairs into the hotel lobby this afternoon. Thinking back over the hotels I have stayed in during this and last year's trips, I can not remember many hotels where anyone in a wheel chair would have had an easy time getting into their room. And even if the hotel layout did allow that, I can't remember a single bathroom where a wheelchaired person would have gotten onto the loo or into the shower without major muscle effort.However, as wheelchair-accessible as it may be, there is NO telephone in the room. Good thing there is Skype! Also missing is hot water at 5:30 am; they don't turn the boilers on until 5:45 am. Breakfast is at 8 am so I have time to cycle to the beach:
And if anyone should agree with the author that this coast is disfigured by more than enough ugly high-rises already, closely inspect the below picture: They're building more ;-(
|Where the buildings of Saint Malo reflected harmoniously in the sand, these just look sad|
|run, run away|
And I am successful! While the last travelling water kettle had to stay in Saint Malo last summer, this one will be a true TRAVEL KETTLE, since it can be switched from 220 V to 110 V. Nice touch.
On the way back from the kettle store (EURO SHOP, a Home Depot-like contraption for household goods) I decide to head back to the hotel via the dunes.
|A trailer park (for summer holidays)|
After I have have tested my kettle in the hotel (it works ;-) , I go for a short exporatory bike ride to Westend (in the opposite direction from Ostend ;-). More of the high-rises along the water and some old Belgium inland.
At 7:30 pm I've had enough of work. I need a diversion. A bike ride? Why not! Why not ride the 10 km to Ostende to buy some cigarettes. And then the 10 km back. I won't walk miles for Camel, but I'll cycle miles for Gauloises -)
I already had the idea yesterday, when walking on the freshly unearthed tide flats I noticed that they were hard as concrete. All I needed today was to see someone else do it and find some stairs down from the dyke.
I make it to Ostend by 8:30ish, find a cigarette store, and head back into the setting sun.
A good day ;-)