Wednesday, June 21, 2017

My Belgian birthday! Part three

On our first morning, Bill headed into the very small town and picked up some croissants from one of the two local bakeries.  He also bought a loaf of very fresh farmhouse bread, which we didn't end up finishing.  It was huge!

As we enjoyed eggs from Marianne's chickens and milk from the farm next door, we discussed what our plans were for the day.  Although I hadn't expressly planned it, our location put us very close to the beach.  Since I grew up near the beach and miss the water, I decided we should head there for lunch and a stroll along the shore.  It turns out Koksidje, located on the North Sea, is maybe about a half hour's drive from Alveringem.  I was impressed by the beach.  The sand was really nice and the water was warm and inviting.  I wished I'd brought a bathing suit!




The tide was way out when we visited.


Bill checks out the long walk to the water.



I thought this was a crack pipe at first.  Gotta stop watching cop shows.


I took a picture of this house because it was cool looking.

We found a parking spot in a shopping area right next to the beach, took a short stroll around the neighborhood, and stopped for lunch at a restaurant called Rimini.  There was plenty of outdoor seating, but I preferred an inside table.  I like to spare my skin from too much sun if I can .


Bill looking severe.  I'm not sure why.


The menu was in French and Dutch, but our waiter spoke perfect English.


I took a picture of this so I wouldn't forget the name of the restaurant.


I decided to have shrimp croquettes.  It turns out croquettes are very popular in this part of Belgium.  I saw them offered everywhere.  These reminded me of crabcakes.  I have never been a fan of crabcakes, but I did enjoy the shrimp croquettes.  They were very flavorful and kind of moist.  I'm not sure if they were going for moist, but it wasn't a bad thing.


Naturally, we also had frites.  Frites are everywhere in Belgium!


Bill had a skewer of grilled shrimp seasoned with curry and served with tartar sauce.  He really enjoyed the shrimp, but I think I liked my moist croquettes more.


I saved room for dessert.  This was called the Grand Dame.  It was bourbon vanilla ice cream with warm chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and a waffle cookie.  How Belgian can you get?  I usually don't have ice cream for dessert, but I had a craving.  This hit the spot nicely.


Bill had chocolate mousse, which was also very satisfactory.

After we finished eating, we encountered the first of many unisex public restrooms in Belgium.  I actually found that kind of refreshing.  I mean, the stalls were totally private, so it was no big deal.  Of course, I made a mistake and accidentally used the men's stall.  I guess the urinal should have given me a clue.


Outside of the restaurant.

Bill was concerned about our two hour parking limit, but I was dying to walk on the sand and test the water.  I convinced him no parking authorities would come running out to ticket him if I took a few minutes to enjoy the beach.  He relented and I went down to the water, which had very gentle surf and was pleasantly warm.  I could have stayed there all day.  It was just lovely.  The sand was lovely, too... no pebbles or rocks.


On the way back to the car, we got mooned by a statue.


The Hokey Pokey perhaps?


One last shot of the sand.  I think we may have to come back and do this beach properly.

On the way back to the house, we stopped by the Carrefour.  It's a very nice place to shop with high quality groceries and home goods.  I liked it because it had a public restroom and nice lighting.  And if I had wanted to, I could have bought a bike.  Like their northern Dutch neighbors, Belgians in Flanders are very partial to biking.  Bikes are everywhere!  And I saw everything from tandem bikes to tricycles!



They even had an electric bike for sale.


You'd never guess this picture was taken next to the Carrefour.  It's a very pretty area.

Although it was only mid afternoon, it was hot out and Bill and I felt like hanging out with the dogs and drinking beer.  So that's what we did.  We went back to the house and watched American TV on Belgian cable, drank some excellent Belgian brews, and hung out with Zane and Arran.  Bill cooked dinner and we turned in early with big plans to visit Bruges on Sunday.

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