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Nr 54. One night in Belgium

After a great time in the Netherlands, we sailed off to the coast of Belgium. It’s a small and busy coast, with industrial harbors like Zeebrugge and Oostende, so the day before we left we planned to have 1 stop in Belgium before we would reach the coast of France. A good harbor for sailboats would be Nieuwpoort. It’s funny, because close by our home in Meerkerk, there’s also a city called Nieuwpoort in the Netherlands.

But this is the Belgium Nieuwpoort. I called their harbor if they could accommodate us, because especially with a catamaran (8 meters wide) and the start of the busy sailing season in April, it’s wise to call. We could stay 1 day, because after tomorrow the harbor would be closed for 10 days because of maintenance work, so no one can go in or out the harbor with their sailing boat anymore. ‘So after 1 day, you have to leave, or we will take you hostage for 10 days’ the harbormaster said on the phone with a big smile in his voice!

We left Cadzand, passed the beautiful area of Knokke and saw the big harbors of Zeebrugge and Oostende. Luckily it was not so busy with big containerships or ferries in front of the coast. So it was a nice sail with good wind to the harbor of Nieuwpoort. We arrived there in the afternoon and the harbormaster gave us good tips about a nice cyclepath along the beach of Nieuwpoort and a good fishrestaurants closeby the Fish auction. We had a great meal of mussels, just in time with the ‘r’ still in the name of the month (April). And what I like about Belgium, they pay attention to the decoration and colors while waitering.

The city of Nieuwpoort surprised us positively: wide, a lot of beaches, art, charming old inner city and many nice restaurants. The city is quite old, so there are also some interesting myths and legends for example about Jeanne Panne. Because people could not explain ‘divergent’ behavior of others in the Middle Ages, especially women, they were quickly judged to be witches when they had special or different qualities in skills or appearance. It’s sad and unfortunately still very topical, only nowadays the public shaming and blaming moved online. That doesn’t make it less painful and impactful than what happened to Jeanne Panne at the end of her life.

Nieuwpoort was inspiring to us! The next morning, at 8.00h, we saw all the working boats in the harbor starting up for their 10 day working period, so time for us to leave and say goodbye to the nice area of Nieuwpoort.

France, here we come!

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