Inge Moerenhout, from Bubble Trouble, recounts:
Hoisting the sails in Nieuwpoort
Inge Moerenhout has been working as a TV host, free-lance journalist and news anchor for years and is no unknown quantity in the Belgian media landscape. You may even remember her from her golden music album with girl band Opium. The last number of years she has mainly been focussing on blogging and travel for her personal blog Bubble trouble and her travel platform Travel Tree.
Inge loves the finer things in life and fills you in on the latest trends in fashion, luxury and travel. She is a stylish lady who knows what she wants and has a great sense of humour to boot.
Pamper yourself in Nieuwpoort!
Anyone who wants to discover the Belgian Coast in an original manner and, especially in style, should definitely head for Nieuwpoort. The city has so much more to offer than a lazy holiday on the beach. Nieuwpoort oozes a maritime atmosphere. Little wonder, because Europe’s largest marina is based here. A real magnet for people with proper sea legs and a major appetite for adventure. Sailors, surfers, divers and characters instantly feel at home here. Do you happen to be the only one in your family who hates water or sport? Don’t fret! This stunning seaside resort also has a posh side. It’s a shopper’s paradise, a mecca for epicureans and a haven for people who are keen on culture.
Hotel Cosmopolite: an institution
If we go off with the kids, it’s always nice to be able to stay in a family room. Privacy and togetherness under one roof. Hotel Cosmopolite is an institution in Nieuwpoort and is perfectly situated in the centre of Nieuwpoort-Bad. The hotel gives on to the stunning shopping street and, some 80 metres down from the hotel you can get your feet into the sand and water. Not all the rooms have a view of the sea but anyone who knows me a little will know that that’s really important to me. So always double-check when you’re booking a room.
The hotel has been beautifully refurbished and lounge bar ‘Caprice’ beckons you to indulge in a second aperitif. Breakfast is nothing short of sumptuous and anyone who loves a glass of bubbles will be truly pleased. Romantic souls can enjoy their bubbles in the private sauna where guests of the hotel get a 10% discount.
The shopping street is worth checking out. It isn’t very long but has quite a few terraces and the atmosphere is just great.
Fine-dining in Nieuwpoort-Stad
Nieuwpoort-Stad, a little more inland, is known for its historical sights but the convivial square with its old church and cosy terraces, stands out immediately. When the wind is howling across the beach, it’s far more comfortable here. More importantly, Nieuwpoort-Stad has a number of trendy and wonderful restaurants.
M Bistro is situated in a side street of the Grote Markt (main square) and is run by Chef Mattias. Mattias learned his trade from chefs like Stefaan Ghys, Axel Colona-Cesari, Tim Boury and Alain Wittevrongel. Each one of them with their own cuisine, their signature style, their different techniques, but, especially, oodles of passion. He shares that passion with his patrons in a unique way which you notice in each tiny detail.
At M Bistro they grow their own herbs and also a number of vegetables. From the sunlit terrace, you can see the walled potager. A glorious spot for an aperitif in the sun, sheltered from the strong sea breeze.
The dishes are fresh, surprising, delicious and accessible. Ideal to teach youngsters to enjoy our finer cuisine. Alec was so thrilled with his piece of beef that he could easily have eaten the entire cow while Jade was analysing the dessert to try it out at home. A great meal out, that’s a fact.
Tip: This season, M Bistro has been selected for Jong Keukengeweld (‘the youngsters cooking for youngsters’ festival), organised by Toerisme Vlaanderen (the Flemish Tourist Board). Under 30? Love discovering new restaurants? Then book your 3-course menu via the banner below.
A novice at sailing …
If you’re staying in Nieuwpoort you simply have to check out the many water sport facilities the seaside resort has to offer. We love sailing, so the decision was easily made.
If you have never sailed before but want to check out what your sea legs are like you should book a day’s sailing for beginners at the Vlaamse Vaarschool. Of course, weather will dictate whether you’ll go out on the water or not. If there’s little wind it soon becomes boring and if the wind is too high it can be dangerous. Another date is easily arranged of course.
While we were there though the weather couldn’t have been more perfect! After a short introduction for the children, the captain soon put us down to work. A sailor must know how to pull up his sleeves, that’s for sure. Tying knots isn’t all that easy either but Jade and Alec soon got the hang of it. My husband was allowed to sail the boat out of the marina, no mean feat with all that traffic. Everyone got to sail the boat and our day’s sailing was over before we knew it. One word of advice, bring a packed lunch and wrap all your sandwiches individually because when the captain becomes a little reckless or there is a strong swell your lunch could end up in the water or get completely soaked. Right Captain Jade? Great fun of course, especially for those who happened to be in the cabin at the time and stayed bone dry.
They do give you sailing gear but you’ll need to bring a waterproof jacket for the smallies. Also mind you footwear, light soles are mandatory so that the lovely wooden deck doesn’t get damaged.
Tip: In the event of doubt, take a tablet against motion sickness because the North Sea doesn’t usually treat its guests all that gently and it would be a shame not to be able to enjoy the adventure.
I am convinced that everyone should try out sailing once in their life, you never know, you may even find yourself a new pastime!