A tale of fish and trams on a North Sea coastal journey

You couldn’t exactly call it an argument nor could you define it as a lively debate of differing opinions let alone a heated exchange of opposing ideas and views.  Nothing of the sort, yet our little tiff was more like a friendly squabble between Travel Bud and I, both not seeing eye to eye with the day’s scheduled travel plans, which, as all globe-trotters know, can change on a whim.  After all, it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind and all that I was hankering to do that early October day was hang out in Oostende, wander the shops and languish the afternoon away in a charming seaside bistro, imbibe in a vino or two and admire my latest acquisitions.  Oh, and of course quill the next best seller. 

On the other hand, Mr. Oz’s vision of a perfect day was to explore the Belgian coastline via De Kusttram, a 68 km long tram line that transports one from the French border in the southwest to the edge of the north eastern border in the Netherlands.  The roughly two and a half hour journey spans sixteen towns and seventy stops, offering one the opportunity to hop on and off at leisure and meander the day away.  All for the bargain price of 2 Euros each way!

Quite an ambitious undertaking on the best of days, yet not the wisest of decisions if you’ve already squandered the morning away and have only the afternoon in which to discover the charm of these denizen of North Sea villages.  A feat of monumental proportions and quite the impossible task which was simply not do-able all within a four to five hour time frame.  Oh, and did I mention that we had also planned to spend a few hours in neighbouring Bruges?  Delusional or what?  A record-breaking whirlwind tour of the Belgian coastline in three seconds flat – or not! 

Let the squabbling – or was that negotiating – begin!

And did I happen to also mention that it was fast approaching lunch and with our tummies grumbling, the aroma of freshly grilled fish most difficult to resist, with rows upon rows of enticing sea food delights an invitation to savour the flavour of the delicacies that the sandy beached marina port of Oostende had on offer. 

And where exactly did we end up frittering the afternoon away? 

Stay tuned for more on the adventures of cuckoo ol’ Auntie Nora and sidekick Oz in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Next blog post in three weeks!!  - Wednesday, January 20th, 2016!!

Come journey along with me as I meander along the North Sea coast in search of memories as I inadvertently stumble upon mis-adventures of the Pink Sneaker inspired kind!

As the New Year approaches, I would like to give a heart-felt thanks to all of my faithful readers who have traipsed along the path with me on my globetrotting adventures for the past three years.  A dash of humility sprinkled with a bit of humour makes for entertaining reading and hopefully some laugh out loud smiles and chuckles.

Looking forward to sharing many more travel tales for years to come.

When tired of schlepping just park yourself in Le Royal in Antwerpen Centraal

Schlepping, lugging, traipsing and indulging are just part and parcel of my globe-trotting adventures, so it should come as no surprize that a majority of my overseas sojourn consists of languishing the hours away in – where else? – The railway station. 

Hauling over-stuffed trunks crammed to the brim with baubles and treasures, as well as battling it out with stairs versus luggage, required fortitude and stamina, not to mention Herculean prowess of the muscle inspiring kind.  My celebratory reward not limited edition designer satchels as neither a Birkin, Chanel, Furla or Louis loomed anywhere on the horizon - so my only choice was to make do with soothing libations of the merlot and shiraz mind numbing kind.

Are we there yet?  

Taking a break

So, there I stood, parched and dishevelled, in Antwerpen Centraal – a middle aged ol’ Auntie in dire need of liquid replenishment – either champagne or bubbly will nicely do the trick, calm my nerves and obliterate any residual memories of yet another gruelling day spent duelling with baggage gone bad.  Stumbling and tripping my way up five – yes – count ‘em – five – escalators – from the subterranean track levels below - a task of monumental proportions and no walk in the park, required the aid of a small army of butlers and maids to cart and lug my bags up hundreds of stairs – but alas, no such luck, for hired help was neither on my payroll nor part of my jet-setting entourage.

Spent and fatigued, seriously contemplating kicking my luggage to the curb, I contemplated my options:  abandon said trunks and be done with it; have a fire sale and auction off each and every one of my treasures or take a break, give up and skedaddle over to the nearest bistro for a lovely cuppa tea – on second thought, make that a vino or two or three.

And that is how we frittered the afternoon away in Le Royal CafĂ©, taste testing Belgian brew and sampling gastronomic “rail-way station” cuisine, all the while indulging in our favourite “people watching” pastime, commiserating (or was that chuckling) with all of the other struggling pack-packers who also clearly over-packed!

Needless to say we arrived at our Ghent hotel just a tad late.  Heck, just blame it on those ever so efficient trains.  Or not!

Next post – in three weeks – Wednesday, December 30th!!  Stay tuned for more on the adventures of cuckoo ol’ Auntie Nora in Belgium.

Come schlepp along with me on my European escapades as I sprint for trains, trip down stairs and kick my luggage to the curb.  Just another day in the life of Pink Sneakers on the Go...