Blogster Lies De Smet from Liesellove reports
If you are passionate about life you do things you wouldn’t do otherwise. That just about sums the motto I live by. Who am I? My name is Lies, mother of three and always up for a new challenge. I have been blogging on ‘liesellove.be’ for five years now. I simply wanted to share my passions and that’s how my blog grew into what it is today, a spot where I can pour out my heart, where I write about motherhood. But also travel reports, DIY ideas and tips of all kinds find their way onto my blog. When I first started sharing my travel reports more than 10 years ago, I never thought that blogging would become a new hobby for me. To begin with, it was all about my passion for travel, a disease I still haven’t managed to get out of my system. This year, we’ll be taking the whole family to Australia. Aside from that, we keep criss-crossing the country. In search of many great adventures ….
A Girl's Weekend in Oostende
A few weekends ago we had planned a family break in Oostende. But the best-laid plans … Typical if you’ve something nice coming up. The week before that weekend Céleste came down with chickenpox and Baptiste with a serious respiratory infection. At the last minute, it turned out that dad would have to work anyway. Stay at home was my initial reaction. But the sea is always a good idea and especially when glorious autumn weather is forecast.
So I called in a few favours and, in the end, still ended up driving to Oostende on Saturday morning with Axelle and Estelle instead of the entire family to meet up with my dear friend Evy. A girls’ weekend instead of a family weekend away. Because that can be just as nice.
Because the autumn weather we had been promised felt more like spring we were really able to make the most of it. We strolled around my native city, something I always enjoy. Because the weather was so nice, Evy and I decided to pop into a bakery to get some lunch and to have a picnic outside so that the little ones could run around and play to their hearts’ content. And we enjoyed every minute of it, as in Enjoy with a capital E.
As I come to Oostende quite regularly I have a good idea where to go and what kiddies love. So we took the free ferry on Visserskaai to Fort Napoleon. That part of Oostende is just perfect for a walk. The beach, the dunes, the peace and quiet … In recent years I’ve made it my business to never skip this part of Oostende. That should tell you how much I love it! And young children are always game for a boat trip.
After a brisk walk we returned by ferry. We had promised the kiddies that we would go looking for De Spiekpietjes (Saint Nicholas’ little helpers who tell the Good Saint whether you’ve been naughty or nice). Because the expo was on the other side of Oostende, the kids really had to put in an effort but they too enjoyed the walk along the seafront. For the first time ever, De Spiekpietjes expo was not being hosted at the Fort. Mind you, its new location was an inspired choice. A great bar, a hit with children and parents alike. Once again a great Spiekpietjes experience and as icing on the cake a trail where children had to go and find the Spiekpietjes.
What Evy and I probably loved best was that the kids could be left off on the course on their own. And they did, over and over and over again. Did I already mention over and over again? And we could sit back and enjoy our drink. Do you have a couple of hours to visit the expo before Saint Nicholas arrives? Don’t think twice and make a day of it.
After our visit to De Spiekpietjes we had to find somewhere to fill our tummies. Let’s face it, the sea air makes you ravenous. We decided to head for Het Botteltje. A beer pub/restaurant that is always pleasantly busy. Evy and I had pork cheeks and we would highly recommend them. What’s more, Het Botteltje is child-friendly. No scowls because your children are too noisy for instance. The only way you can truly relax as a parent. I thoroughly enjoyed the kriek (cherry beer) as I did my dessert.
After our evening meal I continued our girls’ weekend with Axelle and Estelle. Dad did try to make it to Oostende that night but, in the end, it didn’t work out. So we had the family room in Leopold Hotel all to ourselves. Axelle wanted to get into the bunk bed first but when she saw my giant bed, her eyes shone. So at 21:00, I nestled myself with my two children in that wonderful bed. Axelle never even knew that Estelle had been awake half the night. And the memory of the rough night was dulled by the delicious breakfast.
I had major expectations because when I checked in on Saturday and showed the hotel in my Instagram stories, a lot of people commented that they had stayed there already too and that the breakfast is out of this world. And they were not exaggerating… pure indulgence. The works! Axelle couldn’t have been happier. During breakfast it suddenly struck me that doing something with your children on your own can be really enjoyable. For all concerned. Definitely an exercise worth repeating.
After our hearty breakfast, Axelle and I went into the city. With another great day ahead of us we decided to check out the The Crystal Ship art. In Oostende, you’ll find street art all over the city. The tourist office even has a little map to help you find your way around. Because the works of art are spread all over town and we were doing everything on foot, we didn’t cover the entire route. Axelle was really impressed by all that beauty. We even called into the fish auction house for some shrimp.
We rounded off the day by treating ourselves to scrumptious shrimp croquettes at Hotel du Parc. Axelle clearly enjoyed it and, in spite of the fact that I was beyond exhausted, so did I. Thinking of weekend away in Oostende? Then check out Westtoer and/or The Belgian Coast for more inspiration. Because there is always something new to discover at the Belgian Coast!
See you around in Oostende!
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