When things are not the way you expected them to be, simply take a step back and have a break.
That’s exactly what we did. The 3 musketeers. On a random afternoon after lunch, pondering over what we spoke while eating, we realized that there is indeed a lot on plate and it will always be there. But, it was time for a break. A road trip. Our first road trip. And after a lot of options, permutation and combinations keeping in mind – duration of stay, time to travel, budget and places of interests there was a decision. To go to the closest beach. Now that would have been really easy, if we were not living in Germany. And no beach that is both warm and vacation-like is neither near nor cheap.
Hence, Belgium – Oostende.
Very honestly, I hadn’t heard about this place until that day of planning. And neither had I heard about Bruges. But of course, most of us know Brussels (the capital). Trying not to go to the most touristic places out of these, we decided to go to Oostende and Bruges. And maybe just a peek into Brussels for half a day.
Now the distance was about 650km and this being our first road trip, over night trip and in short just a girls-get-away long weekend, we were obviously absolutely elated! We booked the car, shopped for the road, packed our bags with swim-wear and party-wear and finally the day was there.
By this time, I have had a couple of road trips before but with my 2 of my best friends who share the same interest in music and food, this was and gonna be wonderful! We hit the road before the sun shone upon us, and by the time it did, we were already 150 km away from the city. Singing, talking and laughing with occasional breaks to stretch our legs, this was going great! The anticipation of reaching the beach and seeing all the water was getting on to us.
Our breaks reduced, but excitement continued at its peak. We crossed Luxemburg on the way and we could cross the country within an hour or so. We were surprised to see this because again, we were not familiar that it could be this tiny. Nonetheless, before we crossed borders of Germany, we called our respective homes and told we would be texting after reaching our hotel and more importantly, not to worry.
We hadn’t taken the route through Brussels, so we didn’t know what was in store for us. Keeping the surprise alive, we took to alternative route, headed towards Oostende. Now when you are away from all the pollution and can’t really see any skyscrapers for km ahead, we opened the windows and the smell of coastal area has its own charm to it!
Entering this beautiful little city reminded all of us of Chemnitz (due to the simplicity of the place) and we finally reached the hotel we had booked. Upto this point we only knew that we were close to the beach while booking the hotel. But after we got off and checked-in, we realized that we were in counting footsteps away from sand. And in next 15 minutes we were out, heading to soak our feet into beautifully heated sand.
I have always seen picnics on beach, making sandwiches, music playing in background and directly jumping into water, ONLY in movies. Yes, I have grown up (almost) near coast myself and been to beaches every year but never did I have this kinda experience before.
For the next few minutes I only soaked in the massive view in front of us… wind blowing… sounds of the waves… sun shining bright and least touristic beach I had ever been to.
Soon we were hungry and the wait to get into water was almost killing us. So, we made sandwiches, listening to music, enjoying every bit of the sand, had a few ‘party-shots’ and off we went into the waters. And BAM! It was COLDDDD! Not that we hadn’t been warned but this isn’t one of the most visited beaches in Europe for a reason. It’s the coast of North-Sea and we shouldn’t have expected but this. But even though this was freaking cold, the spirits remained high and next hour or so, we enjoyed thoroughly!
Followed by making things out of sand, eating, drinking, dancing (yes, we danced with people looking at us) and finally head to hotel because the city was waiting to be explored.
We went to city the next day, and there is no doubt that it ends before it starts but what we didn’t know (another thing) was that the yearly boat-festival that happens in Oostende was happening at the same time!
It’s called Oostende-voor-Anker and sailing ships from all across the globe (who ever wants to that is) registers and comes here to showcase their ship and their country. Historically important ships, original and replicas are all welcome and the best part – they offer a ride for an hour for a really reasonable price! This is a part-time income for these sailors once a year and an absolutely awesome experience to interact with people from various parts of the world.
There was a mini-fest going on in the city at the time, and we enjoyed every bit of it!
The live-music with some of the most unusual instruments. The wonderful sea-water fishes. And of course the Belgian beer at local pubs/tents.
While this was just the beginning, never had any of us been on a 100-year old ship/boat before. And decided to hop on one. Also because the sailor/captain of the ship offered us a special price since he thought we were students and also 3 of us. And off we climbed down on the ship.
Amongst the 27 other people who were on deck, it wasn’t that difficult to start talking and having a nice time with everyone. And then came the time to pull the sail up. And we were more than happy to help the captain and his crew. It looked super fun but little did we know that we had to pull it to the limits. And seeing the enthusiasm, some more people joined in.
After 15 minutes of pulling the sail and helping out, it was time to realize that we were in middle of waters and could see coast at a view, and wind blowing at super-fast speed. It was serene. All I could feel is my heart racing like never before and each second on it was unbelievable for me. I enjoyed and soaked in all that I could and after I was done with the philosophical part of the ride, then began the mini-party. With music and drinks and all my questions being answered by the captain, meeting people from various parts and also playing the dog on board, this was one of the best 1 hour of the trip!
After this wonderful day all we wanted to do was enjoy the sunset. After walking over 20 minutes to one corner of the beach, we reached the end of the beach and there were only rocks. Now I wouldn’t recommend anyone to do this, and I am not promoting any kind of dangerous activities, and I am pretty sure that my parents wouldn’t have allowed me either. But, nonetheless, we climbed over the rocks and took a spot each… Right below over 50 feet or more, was the sea.
Over the next hour and half, we were drinking and listening to music and enjoying every bit of that sunset. It was unbelievably and undoubtedly one of the best sun sets I have experienced.
I don’t know what it was. Whether it was the reflection of sun on buildings right behind us, or the calmness of wind, or sounds of waves, the beautiful orange mass of heat or it was simply being there with people whom I absolutely love. Whatever it was, or all of it together, ended the first 2 days of our trip perfectly.
And next day, next stop was Bruges.
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P.P.S. Keep smiling and stay strong! 🙂