Blogster Nele De Winter from MamaExpert tells
Nele, geboren in 1975, late mama van een zoon (6) en een dochter (3). Blogt op MamaExpert op een geheel eigenzinnige manier. Ze schrijft voor kinderen en hun mama's; over het ouderschap, lifestyle en trips with(out) kids. Nele wil informeren en inspireren vanuit haar eigen ervaring, omdat het moederschap al zwaar genoeg is, om je tijd te verspillen aan onzinnige dingen. Ze schrijft ook trouwceremonies voor enthousiaste bruidsparen.
Nele De Winter ging in het weekend van 4 en 5 augustus 2018 samen met haar gezin naar Blankenberge. Hieronder kan je haar belevenissen en tips ontdekken:
Blankenberge: [trip down memory lane] 14 great things not to miss out on with children up to the age of six
My late granny had lost her heart to the Belgian Coast. But she wasn’t long finding it back again when she fell in love with an apartment on the promenade.
The apartment had three bedrooms and two bathrooms even but what I remember most is the enormous terrace where we breathed in the salt-laden sea air and fired balls of paper at the passing seagulls. The view was quite simply phenomenal: right next to the port, with the lighthouse, the pier and Blankenberge beach below. In fine weather, we could spot Wenduine – and in 1986 - the capsized Herald of Free Enterprise.
So, when Westtoer asked #teamMamaExpert, what her favourite beach-side resort was, we weren’t long coming up with an answer. Blankenberge, if you don’t mind, because that’s where our childhood memories were made. In this article, I’ll take you through the grainy photographs of my youth. Where to treat kids up to the age of six years to a great time?
Though our mater familias passed away some thirty years ago, the love for Blankenberge she passed on to us has never waned. No sooner parked in this coastal town than we went for a walk on the promenade. Blankenberge promenade was a hive of activity (it was high season after all). A hotchpotch of tanned bodies, flip-flops and fluorescent swimsuits, with the sweet scent of sunscreen permeating the air..
Our children didn’t know where to look first - at the Brussels waffles with cream, the inflatable flamingos, the buckets and spades in the tourist shops or the ice-lolly man, shouting from across the beach that he had them all, the ice creams and the Berliner doughnuts from my youth. FRISCOOOOOH!
If my memory serves me correctly, Blankenberge used to be much quieter.
As kids, we used to catch crabs, sell paper flowers, play jokari, and if we had been exceptionally good, granddad would treat us to pancakes in their favourite local tearoom. If we were out of luck, we had to walk all the way to Wenduine (in those day there was no ferry service).
On this occasion, we soon came to a deal with our gang: we the beach bar, they the playground which forms part of it these days. With our toes in the sand and a view of the water, a cocktail or two (olé, olé); only possible in Blankenberge.
We spent the entire afternoon at Salito Beach, but there are plenty more beach bars in Blankenberge.
Actually, it was my daughter who spotted them first! The Babies by David Cerny, crawling across the facade of the Casino. They form part of the Beaufort sculpture park, together with Saltimbanque by Folkert De Jong.
Admittedly, Sea Life, which only opened in 1995, does not form part of my childhood years. That being said, I did experience it in all its stages. From an old and run-down property with concrete swimming pools for seals to what it is now - more than 250 aquariums and a veritable shark tunnel.
Pity that the seal show was cancelled but class that we got a decent discount on the entry fee and refreshments to boot. Luckily, there was no shortage of other things to do; my children were really taken by the dwarf seahorses (Sea Life has a breeding programme for these little creatures) and by the educational part, where they were allowed to touch starfish and sea anemones. Also the stingray and the small-spotted catsharks scored highly.
Tips from MamaExpert readers
- Goolfy Blacklight Minigolf
- Swimming in the North-Sea bath
- Bowl Inn
- Fancy a cycle? Follow the nodes via here
- Hire funny bikes from de Lustige Velodroom
Other tips from my youth
- Go for a game of pitch & putt in the Leopoldpark, which has been going for as long as I can remember (4.5 euro per person per round). Vintage at its best!
- Hire a go-cart, for the entire family or just for the kids. There also is a Kinderautodroom [Children’s racetrack], where they can race across a genuine racetrack. It didn’t exist in my days (I think) but we had something similar, right across our apartment.
- Enjoy a stew with Blankenbergse kokkeneute (a Blankenberge beer) in restaurant ‘Seasons’ at the nostalgic Manitobaplein. We had a delicious meal there and found ourselves pampered by the nice staff. Children’s menu available. For the record, the Manitobaplein is situated right in the heart of the Blankenberge shopping district. The shops are open on Sundays.
- If you happen to call into Saint Anthony’s Church, do say ‘hi’ from me. This is where I wore out my pants, sitting on the hard church benches on those devout Sunday mornings. My grandparents were Catholics. I was not.
- Go spotting reptiles and amphibians at the Serpentarium: not overly big but really cool. A nice way to entertain the kids for an hour.
- The Belgium Pier is a 350-metre long footbridge that takes you to the monumental round building, which used to form part of the no longer existing Melipark. It now houses a cosy tavern and an exhibition space.
MamaExpert stayed at...
#teamMamaExpert stayed at Floreal Blankenberge, right above Sea Life. Decent low-budget hotel within walking distance of the sea and Blankenberge promenade. Clean en-suite rooms with shower and a separate toilet; serves breakfast. Bonus is the entertainment programme for youngsters. Not what you would describe as the ultimate in cosiness, but given the rates and location, ideal for longer stays.
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