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Tootling Along

Belgium is famous for its beautiful cities filled with medieval architecture, chocolate shops and breweries. While all of those are wonderful experiences, a day spent riding on the Coastal Tram is a great way to leave the bustling tourist areas behind and explore the coast of Flanders.

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The tram line is in its 128th year of service and at 69 km is the longest in the world. It runs between Knokke-Heist in northern Flanders and De Panne in the south, with 70 stops along the way. A day ticket costs €5 and includes unlimited travel and stops. Many of the stops are in the centre of towns or close to beaches and walking paths, and the trams run every 15 minutes so it’s easy to get off and explore for a while before travelling further.

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Along the way there are many treasures to be discovered. The Belgium Pier in Blankenberge was built in 1933 and stretches into the North Sea for 350 metres.

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Rows of beach huts stand deserted on the beach at Blankenberge in September, especially when the weather doesn’t favour swimming or sunbathing.

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The Grand Hotel Belle Vue, not far from the tram stop in the centre of De Haan, was a favourite with Albert Einstein when he lived there for a few months in 1933.

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In Oostende, take the time to visit the Sint Petrus-en-Pauluskerk; the Church of St Peter and St Paul. With its gothic façade it looks old, but it was only completed in 1908. The original stained glass was destroyed during WW2 and has since been replaced by modern works designed by Michiel Martens.

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Enjoy wandering along the harbour and seafront in Oostende and admire the many yachts moored there.

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To complete this day of leisurely travel on the Coastal Tram, find the nearest chocolate shop or beer garden. After all, you are in Belgium!

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The Best of the Eternal Traveller

March 2013 – Nothing To See

When we checked out of our unit on our final morning in Akaroa we asked the manager about the best route to take to State Highway 1. On the map it looked as if we would have to drive all the way back to Christchurch before we headed southwest towards Wanaka. He was very helpful and gave us detailed directions which were easy to follow. His parting comment was: “It’s not a very interesting drive though. There’s nothing much to see.”

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May 2013 – Rotorua For Free

Rotorua is famous for its bubbling hot springs, steaming geysers and Māori culture and it would be easy to spend a small fortune seeing them all. It’s possible though to experience all that Rotorua has to offer without spending a cent.

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August 2013 – A Loo With A View

When travelling, one of the niceties we all look forward to is easy access to rest rooms, as Mrs Carmichael recently mentioned in this post. Usually we’re grateful if they are clean and well-maintained. When they come with a great location, that’s a bonus. Here are some loos and their amazing views…

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Mt Wellington Lookout, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Mt Wellington Lookout, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

October 2013 – Tootling Along

Belgium is famous for its beautiful cities filled with medieval architecture, chocolate shops and breweries. While all of those are wonderful experiences, a day spent riding on the Coastal Tram is a great way to leave the bustling tourist areas behind and explore the coast of Flanders.

Read more…

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This entry was posted on April 25, 2014, in . 4 Comments

Einstein Was Here!

The small Belgian town of De Haan has long been a favourite destination for visitors. With its grand promenade along the North Sea and its Belle Époque architecture De Haan is the perfect place for holiday makers to relax.

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In 1933 it was also the perfect place for Albert Einstein and his wife Elsa to spend some time. While on their way home from the United States of America Einstein was told that his home and possessions had been confiscated by the German government and his name placed on an assassination list. They arrived in Antwerp on 28 March 1933 and  set up home at the Villa Savoyarde in De Haan.

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Einstein often visited the Grand Hotel Belle Vue where he would sit on the terrace enjoying tea and biscuits with friends.

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The Einsteins only stayed in De Haan for six months. They left in September 1933 en route for England before moving permanently to the United States. Albert Einstein never returned to De Haan but a tiny part of the story of his remarkable life will always remain there waiting to be discovered.