Day at the Beach

Summer at the beach! Today was a public holiday here, so we went to Ostend, a beach town on the Belgian coast.

The North Sea was pretty cold, but we had a great time lying around on the sand, eating cheese sandwiches and digging holes. Because of the holiday, there were tons of people around enjoying the nice weather.

Ostend had plenty of wind, and there was no shortage of kite flyers on the beach.

Hundreds of flags flew on the masts of boats docked in one of Ostend's harbors. There was a maritime festival there this weekend, so there were lots of nautical-themed exhibits and events. We even got to tour a Belgian Navy ship. I'm sure their navy is in top shape, but the ship didn't seem to be too much more than a small yacht.

Pirates! Or not. There were actually a lot of these old ships sailing around because of the maritime festival. Looking out into the water and seeing huge old sailboats made it feel like another world.

There is quite a bit of commercial fishing that goes on around Ostend, but apparently some personal fishing, too. The guy who owned this pole had about a dozen others set up with lines cast. I didn't see him catch anything on any of the poles. Speaking of fish, we tried to get some seafood from a vendor, but were tricked into buying fake fish. Not happy. This is the last I will speak of the occurrence. On the bright side, we later bought some real, cooked seafood that was spicy and delicious. It appeared to have been some sort of mollusk, but we don't speak Dutch, so we couldn't really tell. (Ostend is in northern Belgium, which I've mentioned is Dutch-speaking Flanders).

It couldn't have been a maritime festival without a pirate band. I guess.

And then these guys were wearing uniforms unlike the real Belgian Navy, so I don't know who they were. Again, Dutch is an issue. Either way, they had guns, stood in formation and did little else.

We also took a hike over to what looked to be a Napoleonic fort, but turned out to be a water tower. Not everything can be exciting I guess.