Weekend Snapshots || Another Day, Another Dog Walk

The title says it all really.

If you are asking me what I’m getting up to on the weekend, chances are, it will involve at least one dog walk. Usually a nice long jaunt on a Saturday and a well deserved rest on a Sunday. This weekend was no different. Or it would have been, had I also taken photos on the Sunday, but as it stands, it’s all dog walks and things that are green, with absolutely no proof that we left our house on Sunday, galavanted through town, spent the afternoon at a friends house – where Dog-Face behaved quite nicely, much to my pleasure – and then trudged all the way back home to the blissful sounds of Dog barking at strangers.

Lesson learnt: Dog-Face is a right cranky mare when she has had no sleep all day. Luckily the only evidence of that is my downtrodden mood after such a good day and a look of “oh please, no. Do not bark at this person as well” etched into my face.

Funny story: three days later, she’s good as gold and we are cancelling our trip to the sausage factory.

Let’s focus on the Saturday where we took a ride over to where Kris works and let Dog run wild through the fields of potatoes.


We spent about an hour or so plodding down the path without seeing another soul. We even lucked out with the weather, after being promised a mostly cloudy day, we ended up spending most of our time in the sun.

We never ended up going anywhere, we just walked in a straight line and hoped to find either a bit of shade or a log to sit on for a rest. We opted for shade and the dirt in the end due to a shortage of strategically placed logs.

And that’s how we do Dog Walk Saturdays, followed by Dog Sleeps All Day Sundays. Before I go, can I interest you in a game of Spot The Dog? 

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Throwback Travel || Cycling The Belgian Coast

This post has been sat in my drafts for about a year, which is just a testament to how fast time is moving. I was saving it for my A to Z of Belgium series, but since our Belgian travels have been stuck on holdI’m going to share it now. Plus, what better way to get back into the swing of blogging than by sharing one of my favourite trips from last year.

During our pre-bicycle days we, rather optimistically, decided we wanted to walk the Belgian coast. Those were dark times. Still, we were sure it would be possible, at about 70km from the town nearest the French border (De Panne) and the town nearest The Netherlands border (Knokke), walking seemed feasible over a long weekend. A very long weekend.

Well, we just didn’t get around to doing that. It might have had something to do with the thought of walking 70km or more and all the blisters that would result from that, but who knows.

Then the bikes entered our lives and we upgraded our plans from walking the coast to cycling it. Somehow going the same distance by bike seemed far less daunting. That and by the time we decided to do it, we were a little fitter and knew that we could cycle that kind of distance.

So on the last weekend in the summer of ’16, we packed up our panniers – new, fancy, travel ones, not those €10-lets-all-the-rain-in-and-pulls-randomly-to-the-side ones that we used for that shin destroying cycle to the Ardennes – and off to the beach we went.

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{Side-nerd: so I’m thinking that bird in the centre is a Great black-backed gull, what do you think?}

Originally we were going to follow the cycle-node network that we usually use, but we saw a sign for the “kustroute” and decided we’d follow that instead. Now, if there’s one thing Belgium does well, it’s cycle paths and cycle routes. Sometimes the signs are hidden in the bush, or on the other side of the road, or just not there, but most of the time, it’s pretty easy to pick your path and follow it. If I’m giving gold stars for something, that’s going to be it.

The recycling service on the other hand: no gold star for you. Or the town hall. Or Sunday bus services…

We started our trip in De Panne. We took the train from Leuven to De Panne with the bikes (easy-peasy and relatively cheap, €12.50 and €10.50 each with the bikes), from there we found the route and off we went. Our plan was a two-day trip, cycling most of the coast on the Saturday, camping somewhere for the night and then finishing the route and going to visit the newly-refurbished nature reserve, Het Zwin, on the Sunday.

We had a nice relaxing lunch on the beach. We bird-spotted. We almost ran over a few dogs/children/old people/other cyclists, you name it, it was on the cycle path and we had to ding it. But it was a really good ride. The majority of the route is flat since it’s the coast – that and Belgium is notoriously flat to being with – , it takes you past the sea, inland a little to the sand dunes and then through some coastal towns (a few that I’d like to return to see properly at some point) and it even takes you on two ferries.

We thought Google was joking about the whole “at this point, you must take a boat”. Apparently not. At Ostend and Zeebrugge, you get ferried across the port by a small passenger boat. And it’s free! What a win.

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We decided to call it a day at around 60km and picked a campsite just south of Blankenberge. A bargain €9.50 for the night, I was happy to pay that.

And my gosh did it rain that night! Torrential rain! And so much wind! Luckily our body weight held the tent down and we were so tired from cycling that we slept through most of the noise. The rain did let up in the morning, the wind? not so much. Have you ever tried to put a tent away in gale force winds? It’s not so easy, the dude across the field from us can attest after his took off from the ground whilst he still had hold of the corner.

We played it smart – and smug – by not taking the tent pegs out all at once and doing it bit by bit as we rolled it up (#smugcamping).

After packing up the tent, we continued on the coast route all the way up to Het Zwin on The Netherland’s border, to feast our eyes upon birds, birds and more birds. But that’s for another blog post!

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That first photo up there, the one with all the black birds, I’m sure that was an entire beach of cormorants! I was hoping once we got over the port we’d be able to see them better, but the cycle route took us behind all the buildings instead. Shame, I would have loved a closer photo of them all.

That’s it for this adventure! And damn, I want to do this trip again. Soon. What do you think? Can I interest you in excessively long cycle rides and a little bit of sun burn? It’s good fun! Trust me. 

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Weekend Snapshots || You Can’t Go Wrong With A Castle

It feels like an age since I went somewhere just for the sake of going somewhere. You know, to have that thing they refer to as “fun”. Trust be told, it has been an age. For months, every outing has been coupled with an errand or fifty, followed by a trip to more than one supermarket and a never-ending discussion about all things dog. It’s been a long few months.

Yeah, it hasn’t been the greatest of times but we’re still persevering and finally, finally, we got it together and decided on a tried and tested trip to the Kasteel Van Horst with camera and dog in tow.

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I feel completely out of practice with blogging, so I’m easing myself back into it with some a few photos from this weekend and a few pre-written posts that have been sitting around in my drafts since whenever it was that I fell off the internet. Some time around April, I think.

I’ve racked my brain for a bit more blogging substance, but I’ve got nothing. Nothing special, no funny anecdotes, just a good old day of nice weather, riding my bike, enjoying my camera again and a healthy reminder that getting out into nature is good for the soul.

It was just one of those quiet days perfect for pottering about.

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Although, we did happen to choose the one weekend of the year where a medieval role-playing event was going on, but other than that, there was a distinct lack of funny business.

It might not have been anything special, but it was just what we needed. Even if it did take us all summer to get around to it. What can I say, 2017 has not been my year. When was the last time you just got out there for the sake of getting out there? 

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