There is this small seaside town in Belgium, called Oostende. It actually reminded me of a British sea-side town, possibly because the weather was so miserable when we went there. It is a rather lovely place, with many sea-side restaurants and a long boulevard that stretches out next to the beach.
|An old Victorian building that stretches out along the beach. It is being renovated to its former glory - with a hotel, restaurant and a few shops. It will be beautiful to see it when the project is complete.|
What is there to see and do in Oostende?
Oostende doesn’t really offer a lot of grandiose architecture or spectacular museum. But the town is a very popular beach resort.
|Colourful beach sport|
There is a Casino as well as a horse track (the latter being eerily empty whilst we were there).
|Oostende Kursaal (Casino)|
There are several nice restaurants along the pier and boulevard, all serving traditional moules-frites (mussels and fries) and of course, Belgium beer. Close to the station, there are several food stalls selling fresh fish and fruits de la mer (mussels, crab, crayfish etc). We stopped to buy a nice lunch consisting of different types of fish. It made for a tasty, light lunch! Like I always say, you cannot go to the sea without eating seafood!
There is an interesting old ship, the Mercator, now a floating museum, docked in the harbor. The ship, named after a Flemish cartographer, Gerardus Mercator, was built in 1932 and used to be a training ship for the Belgian merchant fleet, a Belgium ambassador on World Fairs and she even competed in sailing events (and she won the 1960 Oslo-Oostende tall ships race). The ship isn’t as impressive as, say, the HMS Victory in Portsmouth (but then again, I don’t think many ships are!), but it is nice to go on board and catch a glimpse of how people would’ve lived on board during more “modern” times.
Then there is a beautiful old church, which, ironically, like most other churches in Belgium, is closed on a Sunday. The Sint-Petrus-en-Pauluskerk (Church of St Peter and St Paul) was built in 1899 and completed and consecrated in 1908. The original stained glass windows were destroyed during the two World Wars, but fortunately they were eventually replaced.
|Sint Petrus en Pauluskerk|
There is even an aquarium, which is probably as big as my bedroom in South Africa! It hosts fish, mollusks and crustaceans from the North Sea.
There are several museums and chapels in the town. I can see that it becomes really crowded during the summertime. Either way it makes for a great day trip during autumn! Just be armed with a warm cup of coffee and some warm waffles when the weather acts up!
Have you ever been to Oostende? Do you like popular sea-side towns?