Summer – Came and Went

By - September 1, 2008 (Updated: January 5, 2016)

DePanne-05.jpgLast weekend was summer. (Short, I know, but that’s Belgium for you.) We had two days of sun in a row, so Andrew and I decided to make the best of it.

We got up early Saturday morning. We had been told the builders would arrive at 8:30 to work on the railing. They were in the building at 8:30, but they didn’t appear at our flat. At 10:30 we decided to give up and go do our errands. When we went downstairs, there was no sign of anyone. I’ve lost all hopes of seeing the railing. Ever.

After our errands were finished we decided to test out the new Prius with a bit of a road trip. Andrew loves the new car. We named her Vertigo (Vert (green en Francais)-i-go, for all you punsters). I am in love with the fabulous GPS system – a map addicts dream. She has a very posh British accent so we’ve named her Bridget. Not very original I know.

Vertigo is a very smart car. And quiet – it’s amazing really, how you can coast through the streets with the windows down and not hear any sound from the car at all. The electric motor really has made a huge impact on our gas mileage. So far, we have no complaints.

DePanne-01.jpgWe decided to drive to the Belgian coast and enjoy the sun. I’ve slagged the Belgian coast before. When you’re used to the endless rocky shores of Atlantic Canada, and even the slightly more crowded dunes of the Netherlands, 69 kms of jam-packed coast just doesn’t seem like much of a getaway. But even though I still won’t be buying a holiday home at the Belgian seaside, we did have a pleasant day-trip.

One of the biggest downsides to going to the Belgian coast on a sunny day, is the insane traffic. We braved the crowds, to start at the top of the coast, near the Dutch boarder, all the way down to De Panne, at the French boarder. We stayed in the car, following the coast tram route (someday I’d like to take the actual tram, the longest in the world according to Wiki) until we reached De Panne where we parked and headed to the beach.

The architecture along the beach at De Panne, won’t be winning any awards soon. It’s your typical, European beachfront, concrete monstrosity. The beach wasn’t too crowded though and we found a bar with beach chairs, good wine and apple tart. We stayed until sunset and then Bridget led us home again.

In other news, a month from today my parents will be arriving in Belgium for their second Euro Trip. I have all of our hotels booked and I’m working on some activities. It’s a jam-packed month and I’m looking forward to hitting the road again. I’m especially excited about Malta, I am so hopeful for some sun to make up for this dreary summer.

Right now, I’m waiting impatiently for tomorrow’s adventure…

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Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
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1 comment

  1. Comment by expatraveler

    expatraveler September 3, 2008 at 17:15

    Beautiful photo, even if it was short. We had about 4 wks in total, so no complaints here and also I had the entire trip with my swiss friend with summer weather… What a dream for that! He was very lucky.
    Oh but your parents are visiting again. Wow – it seems like it was just yesterday. My parents forgot the term and have no idea what I look like anymore..
    Anyhow -I’m sure your coastal visit was a great treat, or at least some different scenery. I love the pics!

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