14 May ’04, Friday. This morning we packed up the van and had to make one last trip into Brugge. We wanted to see the 4 very old windmills that run along the banks of the circling canal of Brugge. One of them is still grinding grain on a regular basis. These mills were some of the prettiest we have seen. After a walk along the canal and a short walk in towards town we got back into “Bumble Bee” and headed off for lunch and a new destination along the shores of the North Sea. Our trip of about 30km or about 25-30 minutes took us into Oostende. We were really caught of guard by the size of Oostende as we arrived. Much bigger and had more taller and modern buildings than we’ve seen since we left Cairo, Egypt. They had a large “Free” parking lot very close-in to the center of town so we jumped at this opportunity with out hesitation. Walking the “Boardwalk” around toward the waterfront was very nice. If anything, they had so much new construction going on that it did get in the way of our enjoying the city to it’s fullest. We got lucky in finding a internet café right off. A very nice couple from England had started it and it seems to be a very good business for them. One of the main highlights of our visit to Oostende was our visit to their Cathedral.
It was spectacular to say the least. Only one problem, we didn’t find any information about it and we forgot to look for the name as well….sorry. The stained glass windows were by far the most impressive we have had a chance to see. One thing of interest about them, was the design the artist used was a very modern approach with both the pattern and the figures. Obviously we liked them a lot. Back to our van and with a new destination in mind we headed North up the coast about 8km or so. We didn’t have any place in mind so when we saw a camping sign we pulled in and set ourselves right up. We are just across the street from the sand dunes that lead down to the North Sea. The motor had barely shut down and we were off across the dunes and up the beach bare-footed. The North Sea wasn’t as cold on our feet as we had thought it might be. We walked for quite awhile up the beach and wouldn’t you know it, we found a nice little Belgium pub right in front of us. This gave us a chance to try a couple of beers that are new to us. I had a Duvel and Louise had a Hoegarten. The bartender told me the Duvel was a little heavier on the alcohol content (8.5%) and I will attest to that fact as well…wow!! There was a good reason we walked all the way down the beach….we had to walk all the way back as well and I needed it after only one. After getting back we had planned a barbecue of chicken breast for our dinner. Well nuts, we have run out of gas for the barbecue already. Something is wrong. We really should have a lot more gas left than that. The weather seems to have gotten a little better so we’ve decided to stay here for at least one more day so that we can really enjoy the sea a little bit longer.