An, from Nononsonsmoms, recounts:
Wanted: Nature, adventure and peace at our Belgian Coast
My name is An, a No-Nonsense-Mom of Sons, hence, Nononsonsmoms
I’ve recently become a stay-at-home mom for my two sons of 10 and 8 with ADHD. That ADHD is also the reason why you won’t find us in a museum that easily. We love the great outdoors, running in the woods, across mountains or by the seaside. Don’t think twice about giving us an early-morning call if there’s any adventure to be had!
Our travels are always dominated by the outdoors: adventure and unspoilt nature are our leitmotiv.
We love a slow pace of life, with time to stop and enjoy our surroundings in this overly fast world: slow down & take the scenic route.
As for myself, I love working with fabric and thread and the camera. I absolutely adore capturing the simple things in life.
Peace, nature and adventure, not something you’d readily associate with our Belgian Coast. And yet, you couldn’t be more mistaken! What’s more, you really don’t have to go out of your way to find it. We worked out on the water, had space to fly a kite, walked for miles in the peaceful dunes and built sandcastles on a quiet beach without high-rise in sight.
Where can you find all that? In Bredene
More specifically, the stretch of beach between Bredene and Ostend is a breath of fresh air for folk, who, just like we, love nature and adventure without having to negotiate the crowds. Needless to say, we were overjoyed when Westtoer suggested we’d explore that part of our coast.
A novice at sailing…
Although we love nature and adventure, we never tried our hand at water sports. I never stood on a surfboard, or even saw a sailing boat close-up. High time to get out of our comfort zone and don a wetsuit for a change! Not quite as simple as it looks. It’s a bit like wrestling but undoubtedly our lack of experience was to blame.
To make a long story short, we were going catamaran sailing and had made an arrangement with water sports club Ostend Sailing. Fancy trying your hand at water sports yourself? Simply email the water sports club or check out their offer on their website.
Our family was split up: mummy with child and daddy with child. We each got an experienced sailing instructor to show us the ropes. Marie-Julie took me under her wings; Koen took care of my husband.
Weather-wise, we really hit the jackpot: sunshine and a pleasant breeze. Not too high and not too low. Ideal for beginners on their very first sailing trip!
There were a few tricky words to be learned, but after a bit of toing and froing between the buoys we were getting the idea of concepts like jibbing and tacking. Because honestly, it’s only thanks to Bart Kaëll (singer) I had ever heard of tacking.
The kids busied themselves tightening and loosening the front sail and hanging off the trapeze above the water in between. That is necessary if the catamaran is to stay in contact with the water in high winds. And although there was no real need for it given the weather on the day, they had a royal time. While darling son was hanging above the water, I stood at the helm.
Having worked up a hunger after all that exercise we set sail for the nearby sailing club in Bredene. Twins Club is a stunning beach club where you can practise all kinds of water sports and have a bite to eat and something to drink. Our rolls tasted divine after all that graft. Because, make no mistake about it, sailing is hard work. Not that I was caught for breath or anything but I did feel it in my legs the next day.
As we weren’t quite sure whether the kids would enjoy sailing, we had only booked a half a day lesson. But because everyone regretted that it was nearly over, we decided to make a day of it. At the end of the weekend, sailing was unanimously voted the top activity of our seaside weekend.
Camping Veld & Duin
We spent the night in an apartment at camping Veld & Duin. As my parents are keen campers, I had been at the campsite before; it also offers apartments and rental accommodation. Our apartment was really spacious and had a wonderful south-facing terrace with a stunning view.
It won’t come as much of a surprise that we slept like babies after an extremely active day in the healthy sea air.
After a delicious breakfast delivered by Expo & Kafie, we decided to walk through the dunes and across the beach, all the way to Ostend.
By ferry to Ostend
The walk from Bredene to Ostend is an absolute must. Via the dunes and a paved path you can walk all the way to Ostend. The promenade (one without buildings, for clarity’s sake) starts at Twins Club and we decided to stay on the promenade. If you do, you end up at the port of Ostend where walkers and cyclists can take the free ferry.
The crossing takes you right into the centre of Ostend, a completely different world, with a friendly and convivial atmosphere. We walked through the centre to the Marie José plein (square) where we hopped on the tram that took us back to Bredene.
Depending on where you start in Bredene, the walk is about 5 km long. But because of the variation along the way, we never even noticed the distance. The walk is also suitable for buggies (though there are some steps to be negotiated).
We lunched at Lautrec. They serve traditional dishes, prepared with fresh produce, and home-made French fries. There was no children’s menu but there was no problem getting a child’s size spaghetti. The waiter also suggested chicken with apple sauce which our other son ordered. I don’ think I have ever seen children being served such a mouth-watering plate of chicken and apple sauce.
There weren’t many vegetarian dishes on the menu but, because the chef was aware of my dietary wishes, he decided to make me a surprise. No word of a lie, I have been a vegetarian for close on one year now, but this was the most stunningly presented and delicious dish I have ever eaten. Quite a few chefs could take a leaf out of his book. Unadulterated culinary bliss! Take it from me, tell the chef about your dietary requirements, if any, in advance.
I love water sports, you love water sports, we love water sports
If you would like to have a go at water and/or beach sports yourself sometime, you can find all the information here and here.
And now, there’s us, stuck at home, not only dying to go on our next skiing trip or mountain trek, but also dying to hit the water again. So… which water sport should we give a shot next?