On Friday it was a grey day but no rain was forecast, so like day trippers to the seaside, we went to Ostend. It's only 15 minutes by train, after the 15 minute wait for a bus, the 15 minute bus trip to the station from our rented house, and the 15 minute wait for the train. So an hour, then.
It was a good day, though windy and not warm, and included a great deal of walking. They are doing some sort of work on the beach, but the part that was accessible had very high quality sand. We examined one of the last Icelandic trawlers in a rather good exhibition. We had lunch in a fairly posh restaurant facing a town square that was essentially a car park, where Mr A's bouillabaisse was outstanding, in size as much as quality (my salad was not worthy of a photograph). The park was nice and had a bandstand, fancy little bridges and statues as well as flowers and trees, and compared very favourably to Jephson Gardens. We had a cup of coffee when I became too cold to think straight, then looked inside the 'English church' which had some modern stained glass, including a portrait of a modern Belgian leader wearing glasses. You don't often see specs in stained glass. We missed seeing the contents of the historical museum by four days, since it doesn't open until 15 June.
After six hours in the open air plus travel time, it is nice to come back to a house rather than a hotel room. We have rented a very small house, with an open plan downstairs sitting room and kitchen and vertiginous stairs with no banister to the first floor. We have a bathroom, toilet and bedroom, and there is even a further storey accessed via more near-vertical stairs, with two more beds that we obviously haven't needed. Outside, we have a paved area with a picnic table and seats, but it hasn't been quite warm enough to sit outside, and on most days it has rained quite hard at some point. There is also a garage that we haven't needed. It is very quiet except for when the churches all decide to mark the hour with melodious chiming, and that's actually quite pleasant.
On our last full day we went to the main square on the other side of town, where there is a Saturday market. Many of the food vendors from the Wednesday market were there (mmm, cheese) as well as clothes and stuff. We went on to the 'Beguinage' which is a bit like a nunnery but not quite, and was very peaceful, and then we tried and failed to find the Minnewater park. I'm pretty sure my map-reading was to blame.
The sun finally came out properly, and it was quite as warm as the day we arrived. Mr A just tried to sit outside at our picnic table, but has now come in because it is too hot. It has been a lovely break, but we are ready to come home.