A Weekend Away in Callantsoog

We just returned from a weekend away at a camping park in the North of the Netherlands with my father in law’s siblings & many of their children.  As all the arrangements were made by N’s aunt so there wasn’t much for us to do in terms but bring some stuff and arrive and enjoy ourselves.  (I should have brought my small nespresso coffee maker.  The coffee at the shop was terrible and I ended up with a headache for two days so if we ever return here, I’ll be sure to bring it!.) . Also when I say “camping”, it was more like an apartment so no camping whatsoever for us!

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The area highlighted in white on the coast in Callantsoog.

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Camping De Nollen

The property we stayed at is called De Nollen.  It is a 4-star campsite with various types of accommodations.  Pitches for campers, tents, trekker huts  which sleep both 4 & 5 (note these are without toilets), larger house with a double box spring and bunk beds (and toilet in the back) and static caravans.  When booking, you have the opportunity to choose the exact parking space you want  – close to the playground, showers, shop or far away from it.  Some family members brought their campers, others tents, others stayed in trekker huts, etc.

Our family stayed in a static caravan #K10 to be exact.  It was perfect for our two nights away!  I forgot to take a photo of the bathroom – but it was a stand up shower and a toilet & sink.  In addition there were two bedrooms, a living room with tv small kitchen, dining area – both inside and outside.  It was perfect – much better than a tent !

We had two goofballs – which wrapped themselves up in their sleeping bags 🙂

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The camp site boasts tip top clean sanitary facilities, a small supermarket (which has very odd hours so I recommend you go the AH which is very close by and buy what you need), a large playground with a bouncy pillow and some small ones scattered around the park, craft and games room (inside), animation stage (outside), laundry room, reception with bike rental, snack bar “De Eetboy” with a play area,  a large lawn with beach volleyball and soccer field.

At check-in, there is the weekly program for the children’s entertainment (we didn’t use it but did see kids having run) and the Wi-Fi password.

Overall we had a great time here, but we did find it was missing a pool.  The camping site next door, Templehof had an indoor pool, so if we were to return to this area again, we’d probably opt to stay there only because at 9 & 11.5, they really LOVE to have a pool option on our trips!   I also checked – their pool is only for their guests so you cannot buy a day pass. 

Beautiful Callantsoog Beach

A beautiful beach is less than 2 km away.   The aunt arranged rented 21 bikes for our entire group – a short walk through the forest, to connect to the “Fietspad” (bike path).   So all families went off and did their own thing.  We did a bike ride for a bit and went to the beach.

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The beach itself is beautiful … it’s a great walking beach.  On our first night, Friday – June 21st, our small group of three families left the park and drover over to  the beach bar Woest for some drinks and some nibbles – and it was my 45th birthday!

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However, if you wanted to drive to the beach, that is no problem either. There are six large parking lots at various spots down in this part of the coast.  We found spots both on Friday night and Sunday before heading home and both times were GREAT weather so parking is not a problem.

At the beach, you will find beach pavilions where you can get ice cream, drinks, food and at some you can rent chairs, etc.   There is also a surf school and a section where you can learn to ride waves.  Note: Dogs are allowed on the beach.  Maebh loved watching them fetch the balls.  Soren in a past life was a Golden Retriever 🙂   On Sunday there were tons of jelly fish so it was impossible to swim.

On Saturday, after our bike ride, we ended up spending some time at the beach where the kids played in the water & sand.  We then ended up having drinks & lunch at De Stern Beach Pavillion.  It’s located on the same beautiful beach just up a bit further.

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Nearby Area Attractions

We only spent two nights there, so we stayed local and enjoyed the together time with the family and the beach but a few google searches and you can find things to do.

Overall it was a great weekend away and it was great to see family members which we don’t often get to see.  I hope we repeat it again next year – only I do hope we go to a different place with a pool but (truthfully it wouldn’t be the end of the world to return here) and those who couldn’t make it can come this time.

Vlieland for Sinterklaas Weekend

DUTCH WADDEN ISLANDS

The Dutch Wadden Islands are located in the the north of country in the North Sea. There are 5 inhabited Wadden Islands.  Texel, lies in the province North Holland and the other four are located in the province of Friesland. The Islands are popular tourist destinations, they offer a great place to relax and enjoy a beautiful and unique piece of nature. Each is different and this time we visited Vlieland.

VLIELAND

Historically the most isolated of the islands, and the least visited, Vlieland is a windswept and wild place, but this is part of its charm.

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Our friends were heading to Vlieland for two nights as part of their tradition of visiting one of the Wadden Islands during Sinterklaas weekend and suggested we join them.  We decided that as our kids had an extra day off of school, we decided to go up on Thursday a day and a half earlier than them, so we could have some extra family time exploring the island.  We are coming back in the summer for a week with family, so it was great to be able to visit before hand and in the winter.  While Nils hasn’t been there in 25 years, he has visited the island year after year in his youth (many times multiple time sin one year), it was a first for me and the kids.

GETING TO THE ISLAND

The Rederij Doeksen ferry left from Harlingen at 2:00 pm so we left our house just after 9:30 am to give enough time to drop off something to a friend on the way, account for traffic going through Amsterdam etc.   After a brief stop, it was smooth sailing up – no traffic, thankfully!

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DE AFSLUITDYKE

We drove the Afsluitdyke – which was pretty cool – considering it’s history over past 80 years and the upcoming improvements which will be done – all can be read if you click the link.

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We stopped briefly at the visitor centre/cafe/monument so M could use the bathroom and there the three of them could climb the tower  – NO WAY was I going up.    I took a few photos from below and while it’s not that high, I’ve no interest in heights.  And of course, we always get one of those souvenir flattened 5 p coins.

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We arrived at the ferry terminal with plenty of time to spare and printed out our tickets at the machine, so that was great.   Not sure if it was required, but we did it anyway.  Later we saw that you can scan your barcode from your phone, but it is faster with the tickets for sure going through the turnstile.

As for parking, we parked in the underground lot though you have options to park a bit further away and can save a bit more – but the difference between €35. and €48 for the three days Nils was not great enough of a savings for the walk to the parking lot with the bags and kids in the rain.   In the summer, I suspect the rates go up and for the week, we’ll park in the nearby lots.  Inside the ferry terminal there is a restaurant/bar along with a small shop which you can pick up items to bring on the boat like drinks, snacks, a book/magazine, etc.  though onboard you can buy things too.   Our friends told us about a snack bar nearby the terminal in Harlingen which had great quality food, but I didn’t get the name of it but they always stop there before going onboard.   Next time maybe.

Once onboard the boat, we immediately went to the family area but it was ONLY our family so the kids didn’t have to be too quiet (not like they are loud at 8 & 10) but I don’t want to have to keep saying sssshhhh to them if they are talking or laughing – just being kids, etc.  There was a cafe onboard, but we didn’t get anything except two portion fries onboard and ate them as I wanted a bit of a distraction from the motion and sitting by the window helped.  The sailing was actually quiet smooth – but to be safe, both M and I took motion sickness pills.   We went up on the deck on the way in and saw some baby seals and got blow away.

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On the way back I forgot to take them but we were both okay despite some big waves but thankfully none of us were sick.    I didn’t out outside at all! We had all three tabes at the front with the huge window – perfect seats for us!

VLIERIJK HOTEL – OUR ACCOMMODATION

As for our accommodations:  We stayed where our friends suggested in a two-bedroom apartment (ours was #409) at the Vlierijck hotel.

Here are some photos from our apartment #409 and the hotel:

The pool while small, was great for individual families to use and our kids swam each day.  If you want a bigger pool, you can visit the Sportcentrum Flidunen pool the camping.  But this was fine for our needs at the time.

Here is my review for Tripadvisor.

We just returned home from a 3 night break and it was great. The staff was friendly the hotel was a in a great location (5 minutes walk from the ferry so easy to rent bikes and pick up groceries in the morning for breakfast for evening for dinner.) We rented bikes and explored the island and ate out in the evenings and had breakfast in our room in the fully-equipped kitchen. They have small nespresso machine in the kitchen so you can bring suitable pods from home or buy them at the service desk or local Spar or Coop. Our apartment (#409) was recently updated so it was modern, clean and well-equipped. Two toilets, two showers, two bedrooms, large living room, kitchen with dining area, tv, outdoor seating area, lovely view of light house, etc. Our friends stayed in #304 and it was equally as great. You can’t go wrong with either of those two rooms!! Our kids swam in the pool every day . While it was small it was great for them and kept them entertained when we just wanted to relax a bit at the hotel. There is a small kids room with ping pong, a play area for smaller kids and a chalk board. A work out room for those interested with some equipment overlooking the pool. The hotel has a laundry area. We didn’t use it but it is very convenient in the event you were staying longer and your clothes are in need of a wash or a dry the option is there. We didn’t use the restaurant as they only had a 5 course meal but the reviews we read looked great and would give it a try if we were without the kids. We have already booked accommodations for this summer when we return, but for our next trip after that, we will surely be back and will stay here again.

We paid €355 for our 3-night stay on Booking.com which was the least expensive option I could find at the time and allowed us to book online and pay at the hotel later.  Be sure to check with the hotel directly as they offer deals too – but Booking.com often has the best deals to me. 

With Nils as our tour guide, as he spent over 15 years visiting the island multiple times per year, the first day we walked around the village a bit which was tiny but quaint.  He showed us the stores and cafes he visited as a kid – many still there.  Some changes but you could tell it was very nostalgic for him.We climbed up to the top of the Vuurtoren (lighthouse) hill which had a really nice view over the island.  Only ‘issue’ was that it was under maintenance so it was covered with scaffolding and closed.   Even though I’m not a fan of heights, because you can go inside,  so I do hope to do this on our return to the island.  The Belgian Military was supposed to be dropping live bombs on the deserted area of West Vlieland on Friday, we were hoping to see some but I suspect the weather cancelled their plans.

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This photo is on the wall at the hotel, so you can see what it is like with out the construction.  With some luck, it will be finished when we return in July.

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The next day we rented bikes from Zeeland Fietshuur and rode our bikes around the island – with our tour guide N showing us the pool, mini golf, tennis courts, football field. We rode first to the camping area – lovely but nothing for us.  Then we drove by the houses where his sisters and their families will stay this summer – one was very nice.  And just around the bend and up the hill is our hotel (or a walk down the beach).  Super close – and easy to visit daily at our or theirs, etc

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I found this flyer for activities for the kids – which our kids want to go every day! 🙂  Not sure if we will do it every day but they will certainly go a few days (if the weather is good and the kids want to do it).

There are so many things we didn’t do (nor did we want to do this time around) but we will do this summer.

The activity center is located on same beach, where we will stay this summer at the Seeduyn WestCord Hotel.  It looks great – ON the beach and has a pool.  It has a tiny two lane bowling alley – I doubt we’ll use it, but might be something fun with the family.  We saw is only a short bike ride from the town and a quick bike or walk to where two of N’s sisters and their families are staying.  Plus the Badhuys Strandpaviljoen – my favorite place to eat on the island – check out their menu.   We opted for a large family room which has a fridge and coffee maker, tea kettle but no kitchen.  It does, however, include breakfast.  As we are there for 6 nights – we don’t want to cook each night and as our kids will be 9 & 11 they do not nap so we don’t need the quietness of a home in the dunes.   In fact, now that we saw how you’d have buy groceries each day at the shop and bring them to your house each day via bike, we totally agree this hotel is the way to go for us.   We stayed near the grocery store and had a fully-equipped kitchen for 3 nights and we didn’t cook.  I did get cornflakes, milk, coffee, and bananas so the kids could eat and we could have coffee each morning, but I am just not interested in preparing meals each night on my short vacation.

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On Saturday our friends rented bikes and we set out on a day trip to explore the island.  The plan was that we’d ride out bikes INTO THE WIND for the 8 KM to the Posthuys where we’d have a drink and then cycle along the dunes and go from there.  Well we set off into the wind and it got harder and harder.  It was quite comical actually.  S, the mom and two boys were so a far ahead.  M was being pushed along by our friend who is a fitness buff and avid cyclist so was okay with this and N was in agony with his knee in the back.  Every now and then had to stop get off his bike, walk it, stretch and do his best from crying.   HE MUST RENT AN E-BIKE when we return this summer.  No question about it.   I myself was struggling a bit but managed.  We finally arrived at the Posthuys only to find out it was CLOSED!  Their website said it was open but nonetheless it was not.  So we got back on our bikes, drove into the wind (see the kids with their eyes shut with sand whipping in their faces) for a short distance then let the wind blow us from behind over and through the dunes.

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We arrived at the Badhuys, had a lovely lunch, loads of laughs and before we set off had a walk on the windy beach. I put my bike key in my pocket when we went outside, but it must have fell out when I took out my gloves/phone as it was not there when I went to get on my bike.  Had to leave my bike behind and tell the bike rental place that I lost the key on the beach and they had to go pick it up later.  Oh and as expected, we had to pay a €7.50 fee but at least I didn’t lose the bike.    In the video, you’ll see how windy it was – no way was I finding the key 🙂

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Even though it was chilly and windy, it was very peaceful.   So much of Vlieland was like a mix of Cape Cod – Welfleet, Truo and Provincetown, as well as, Nantucket & Martha’s Vineyard – so beautiful!   We had a terrific time and we are all so looking forward to returning this Summer!   In fact, when we were on the ferry, M was crying she didn’t want to leave Vlieland.Before we left the island, I bought myself some Cranberry Thee, come Cranberry Jam and some Zeekral zalt.

YBrAcUgeTPS%OJU2kZxKgw.jpgBefore we left, I spend a few minutes down by the town where there is a tiny pebble beach with some seaglass.  Most of it needs more time to “cook” but I did get a few pieces.

Can’t wait to see the sunset into the ocean! Growing up and always living by the ocean on the East Coast of US, UK and Ireland, we never get to witness sunsetting in the water.

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Once onboard the boat, we immediately went to the family area but it was ONLY our family so the kids didn’t have to be too quiet (not like they are loud at 8 & 10) but I don’t want to have to keep saying sssshhhh to them if they are talking or laughing – just being kids, etc.  There was a cafe onboard, but we didn’t get anything except two portion fries onboard and ate them as I wanted a bit of a distraction from the motion and sitting by the window helped.  The sailing was actually quiet smooth – but to be safe, both M and I took motion sickness pills.   We went up on the deck on the way in and saw some baby seals and got blow away.

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On the way back I forgot to take them but we were both okay despite some big waves but thankfully none of us were sick.    I didn’t out outside at all! We had all three tabes at the front with the huge window – perfect seats for us!

As for our accommodations:  We stayed where our friends suggested in a two-bedroom apartment (ours was #409) at the Vlierijck hotel.  Here is my review for Tripadvisor.

We just returned home from a 3 night break and it was great. The staff was friendly the hotel was a in a great location (5 minutes walk from the ferry so easy to rent bikes and pick up groceries in the morning for breakfast for evening for dinner.) We rented bikes and explored the island and ate out in the evenings and had breakfast in our room in the fully-equipped kitchen. They have small nespresso machine in the kitchen so you can bring suitable pods from home or buy them at the service desk or local Spar or Coop. Our apartment (#409) was recently updated so it was modern, clean and well-equipped. Two toilets, two showers, two bedrooms, large living room, kitchen with dining area, tv, outdoor seating area, lovely view of light house, etc. Our friends stayed in #304 and it was equally as great. You can’t go wrong with either of those two rooms!! Our kids swam in the pool every day . While it was small it was great for them and kept them entertained when we just wanted to relax a bit at the hotel. There is a small kids room with ping pong, a play area for smaller kids and a chalk board. A work out room for those interested with some equipment overlooking the pool. The hotel has a laundry area. We didn’t use it but it is very convenient in the event you were staying longer and your clothes are in need of a wash or a dry the option is there. We didn’t use the restaurant as they only had a 5 course meal but the reviews we read looked great and would give it a try if we were without the kids. We have already booked accommodations for this summer when we return, but for our next trip after that, we will surely be back and will stay here again.

We booked on booking.com but next time, I will check the hotel directly as they offer a 10% discount on their site – it might come out cheaper – will definitely check!

Here are some photos from our apartment (409) and the hotel:

The pool while small, was great for individual families to use and our kids swam each day.  If you want a bigger pool, you can visit the community center pool near the camping.

With N as our tour guide, the first day we walked around the village a bit which was tiny but quaint.  He showed us the stores and cafes he visited as a kid – many still there.  Some changes but you could tell it was very nostalgic for him.We climbed up to the top of the Vuurtoren (lighthouse) hill which had a really nice view over the island.  Only ‘issue’ was that it was under maintenance so it was covered with scaffolding and closed.   Even though I’m not a fan of heights, because you can go inside, I’m going to do this on our return trip.  The Belgian Military was supposed to be dropping live bombs on the deserted area of West Vlieland on Friday, we were hoping to see some but I suspect the weather cancelled their plans.

This photo is on the wall at the hotel, so you an see what it is like with out the construction.  With some luck, it will be finished when we return in July.fullsizeoutput_16d0.jpegThe next day we rented bikes from Zeeland Fietshuur and rode our bikes around the island – with our tour guide N showing us the pool, mini golf, tennis courts, football field. We rode first to the camping area – lovely but nothing for us.  Then we drove by the houses where his sisters and their families will stay this summer – very nice.   And just around the bend and up the hill is our hotel (or a walk down the beach).  Super close – and easy to visit daily at our or theirs, etc

I found this flyer for activities for the kids – which our kids want to go every day! 🙂  Not sure if we will do it every day but they will certainly go a few days.

There are so many things we didn’t do (nor did we want to do this time around) but we will do this summer.

The activity center is located on same beach, where we will stay this summer at the Seeduyn WestCord Hotel.  It looks great – ON the beach and has a pool.  It has a tiny two lane bowling alley – I doubt we’ll use it, but might be something fun with the family.  We saw is only a short bike ride from the town and a quick bike or walk to where two of N’s sisters and their families are staying.  Plus the Badhuys Strandpaviljoen – my favorite place on the island is there.   We opted for a large family room which has a fridge and coffee maker, tea kettle but no kitchen.  It does, however, include breakfast.  As we are there for 6 nights – we don’t want to cook each night and as our kids will be 9 & 11 they do not nap so we don’t need the quietness of a home in the dunes.   In fact, now that we saw how you’d have buy groceries each day at the shop and bring them to your house each day via bike, we totally agree this hotel is the way to go for us.   We stayed near the grocery store and had a fully-equipped kitchen for 3 nights and we didn’t cook.  I did get cornflakes, milk, coffee, and bananas so the kids could eat and we could have coffee each morning, but I am just not interested in preparing meals each night on my short vacation.

zVg8WA%eR3yH4Umol9pz4QOn Satuday our friends rented bikes and we set out on a day trip to explore the island.  The plan was that we’d ride out bikes INTO THE WIND for the 8 KM to the Posthuys where we’d have a drink and then cycle along the dunes and go from there.  Well we set off into the wind and it got harder and harder.  It was quite comical actually.  S, the mom and two boys were so a far ahead.  M was being pushed along by our friend who is a fitness buff and avid cyclist so was okay with this and N was in agony with his knee in the back.  Every now and then had to stop get off his bike, walk it, stretch and do his best from crying.   HE MUST RENT AN E-BIKE when we return this summer.  No question about it.   I myself was struggling a bit but managed.  We finally arrived at the Posthuys only to find out it was CLOSED!  Their website said it was open but nonetheless it was not.  So we got back on our bikes, drove into the wind (see the kids with their eyes shut with sand whipping in their faces) for a short distance then let the wind blow us from behind over and through the dunes.

We arrived at the Badhuys, had a lovely lunch, loads of laughs and before we set off had a walk on the windy beach. I put my bike key in my pocket when we went outside, but it must have fell out when I took out my gloves/phone as it was not there when I went to get on my bike.  Had to leave my bike behind and tell the bike rental place that I lost the key on the beach and they had to go pick it up later.  Oh and as expected, we had to pay a €7.50 fee but at least I didn’t loose the bike.    Here you’ll see how windy it was – no way was I finding the key 🙂

Even though it was chilly and windy, it was very peaceful.   So much of Vlieland was like a mix of Cape Cod – Welfleet, Truo and Provincetown, as well as, Nantucket & Martha’s Vineyard – so beautiful!   We had a terrific time and we are all so looking forward to returning this Summer!   In fact, when we were on the ferry, M was crying she didn’t want to leave Vlieland.Before we left the island, I bought myself some Cranberry Thee, come Cranberry Jam and some Zeekral zalt.

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Before we left, I spend a few minutes down by the town where there is a tiny pebble beach with some seaglass.   Most of it needs more time to “cook” but I did get a few pieces. Can’t wait to see the sunset into the ocean!  Growing up and always living by the ocean on the East Coast of US, UK and Ireland, we never get to witness sunsetting in the water.

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I am SOOO looking forward to returning for a week in the summer – I hope we have great weather!!

UDPATE:  See our post from the Summer – WE 🖤 VLIELAND!!

Belgian Coast: Pinksteren Weekend

We just got back from a long weekend in De Haan on the Belgian Coast with family to celebrate the birthday of N’s father and sister with six kids and eight adults! We’re missing two more adults & four kids but about 5,500 miles keeps them away – for now.

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The Belgian Coast counts 13 seaside resorts in 10 coastal towns. A diverse region with all kinds of of nature, culture, beachlife and recreational opportunities.

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Photo courtesy of belgiancoast.co.uk/en/inspiration/10-coastal-resorts

De Haan, Belgium: Where we stayed and my favorite.

De Haan is located on the coast in Northern Belgium about 2.5 hours or 225 km away from our house. It’s known for its long beach and restaurant-dotted promenade and to me the nicest and quaintest area of the Belgian coast. The streets of the Concessie district are lined with belle epoque buildings, such as the grand town hall, housed in a former luxury hotel. Its most famous resident was Albert Einstein, who lived in the villa “Savoyarde” for six months in 1933 after leaving Nazi Germany.

There was even a gin shop where I got myself a bottle – super hard to choose!!

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The entire family stayed in The Hotel Astel.

The hotel has 20 rooms and our family room #25 was perfect. It was equipped with luxury comfort bed, LED TV with satellite channels, free wifi, USB charging points, ambient lighting, spacious and modern bathroom with bath and shower. In fact, to make it an extra special vacation, we opted for a holiday where no one had to cook so not only did the hotel provide a breakfast buffet we had dinner there too. It was very easy for the youngest kids/baby to go up to bed and we stayed down. At 8 and 10 we are far beyond those baby years.

One day the four of us visited De Panne’s beach area where Soren rode a skelter on the boardwalk.

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No one was interested in riding this with me 🙂

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While he was going back and forth loads of times, Maebh, Nils & I played in the arcade. It was there where I won the jackpot – 1,000 tickets on the Wheel of Fortune game.

So after dropping ¢40 or we ended up with 9,425 tickets to spend on cheap, plastic, imported from China crap.

The kids had a bit of play time on the sand with the rocket which they got with tickets at an arcade in Dublin before we moved.

Nils and I enjoyed a pint in a local beach cafe. The glass was enormous – biggest beer I’ve ever had!  I don’t like myself in this photo, but while I’m normally taking all the photos – I’ll post this one to show the size of the beer.  HUGE!!

Took me an extra long time to finish it but it was very yummy!

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I had read that Blankenberge and my expectations were very low but I have to say it was pretty good. First we visited the SeaLife Centre with the group. Like all Sealife Centre, you meander through some areas with fish, see some seals, visit a touch tank and then you’re really done and end up in the gift shop. This place did have an outdoor area which was good and the kids climbed a bit but overall – I’d only recommend this place for little kids – who are impressed when they see a fish which they think looks like Nemo or Dory. But at 8 & 10, a few stingrays or shark going by a tank are not enough to keep them entertained for more than an hour.


If you are thinking about going to the SeaLife Centre – check out their website and the ‘Name Your Price‘ feature – where you can enter the date, # of tickets and amount willing to pay. We got our 11 tickets during our breakfast for ¢10.50 each vs. ¢18.50 at the door.

Overall this resort town does a great job with the beach cafes and kids play areas with huge bouncy castles along the Zeedijk. We ate at Havana Club and had a drink at a cozy, trendy place which was great – only didn’t serve food and some of us ere Hangry! 🙂

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Finally got to hold her youngest cousin!

Blankenberge, Knokke and De Panne and a all other towns [shown above] can be reached by taking the coastal tram – Kusttram. We tried to take it one day up to Blakenberge, but when we arrived at the ticket counter in De Haan and the women said they are in the middle of a strike and not sure if it will come and might just stop running. She suggested we take our cars instead. As my BIL & FIL was getting their cars, the tram arrived, full of people! Grrrr.

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Here are some more things you can do in the area when visiting the Belgian Coast.

1, Go to the beach and rent bikes or go-carts/skelters.
2. Rio Cinema. It’s a bit retro and tiny with ONE movie to choose from.
3. Golf at the Royal Ostend Golf Club.
4. Familiepark De Sierk – Playground with a circus theme for small kids 3-6 years old.
5. Visit Zeilschip Mercator in Ostende.
6. Walk Belgium Pier in Blankenberge.
7. Visit Serpentarium – the reptelienzoo!
8. Visit SeaLife Centre in Blankenberge. Tip: check out the ‘name your own price‘ feature on their website!
9. Themepark Plopsaland De Panne.
10. Walk through the Sandworm will art piece in the dunes.
11. Historical Atlantic Wall Museum where history and nature meet.

You can find more on this UK based website which has a LOT of information on where to eat, stay, etc. This post is not meant to do that rather share our time at the coast.

I really have nothing with De Panne – I think it’s a bit tired and rundown. Not many shops open on the beach – the beach cafes were drab. Unlike Blankenberg and Knokke – I’d personally skip De Panne on future trips to the Belgian coast. Then again, to be fair we didn’t go into the town or explore it more than the beach-front area.

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We drove by the Atlantic Wall Museum in Ostende which I really wanted to visit but I was the minority and the only person who wanted to visit so we didn’t. Being Dutch and having lived in The Netherlands for many years, they’ve had their fill of all things war. For me, it is history and I’d love to learn more about it and see first-hand exhibitions.

The last day together we visited Knokke, the resort town which is closest to The Netherlands, before heading back home. This town clearly has all the money – the guests and the shops were upmarket and the vibe at the beach club was great and the cars were top. We saw at least three Mazaradi SUVs!

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Parking is tricky – save yourself the aggravation find the Ijzerpark (underground) all other parking is one or two hours) or a long walk from the Casino.

Once the drizzle stopped, the kids rode skelter and an electric atv and then jumped in the sea a bit – too cold.

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–100% non electric for this guy!
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Cruising with cousins!
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Electric ATV for the lady.
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Brrr… too cold for me.

Overall, we had a great time together as a group. The coast was lovely and we’ll definitely be back in the future!

Weekend Away at Seabrook Inn NH

Our neighbor and her two children, along with her friend and daughter invited our family to join them up in NH at the Seabrook Inn.  Having never been, we decided to go ahead and join them.   Sleeping in a hotel room with a toddler and baby is a challenge, to say the least.   At 7 pm when they need to sleep, you have a husband who wants to watch tv and that will then wake up the kids, grrr!!

The place is old & dated but for kids they don’t care – the love the pool, frog slide, driving a cars, petting zoo, train & so much more!  It’s a 2-star hotel – so know that going in..  don’t expect to pay beer prices and get champagne!   Same with this hotel … you get what you pay for – so set your expectations!!



Weekend trip to Middlebury, Vermont

We just got back from a fall weekend trip up to Middlebury, VT.  Such a beautiful part of the country – we love Vermont and hope to return again in the future.

In fact, we could live there!  It’s also so left-leaning and progressive so politically it works.  Perhaps our son (and any future children) will attend college here and we can move to be closer! 🙂

 

We stayed in a B&B and loved it.   The owner was a retired screenwriter who came here from LA for a peaceful retirement.  Their home was beautiful, they had chickens, a donkey and a few other animals – something which I long for in my home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, Autumn in Vermont with a child requires photos in a pumpkin patch!