New Years Day - yesterday - was not nice at all, so we stayed at home, but today dawned sunny with scudding clouds, so we took full advantage of this break in the stormy weather and hot footed it to the Zeeuws Vlaanderen coast. There is a spot about ten kilometres west of the town of Breskens, where we can park by a café and get to the beach from behind the car park, so we headed for this. The idea was to have our walk and then go for coffee and gebak, a typically Dutch treat consisting of strong black coffee with warm apple pie and dollops of whipped cream. When we arrived, though, the café was shut. There was a notice on the door announcing that it would be closed on the first two days of the year. Never mind, we thought, we'll go somewhere else afterwards. And so we headed up the huge sea dike to the dunes on the other side and then down onto the beach.
It was stunning. The light was perfect: brilliant sunshine contrasting with dramatic dark clouds drifting up from the south. I took my trusty and very old Leica with me - it comes to the beach every year and never disappoints me - and took some photos for the blog. The wind was strong and chilly, which it has been for days, but there were dozens of people out walking, many with their dogs. There were also horse riders and cyclists in the dunes. Altogether, a lovely mix of people just out enjoying the sun and taking some good solid exercise. I think these photos show what I mean better than I can in words without going into writing mode and waxing lyrical.
|The dune path at the top of the great sea dike|
|A great coastal cycling route for the whole family|
|Koos being stalked by a collie in herding mode|
|Shadow play on the sand creating brilliant contrasts|
|Whole families out for a walk|
|Cold, but if the sun's shining, who cares?|
|Koos stalking good photo material|
After our walk, we drove back a different route trying to find our Dutch treat. However, it seemed that Zeeuws Vlaanderen takes two days off for New Year, and everywhere was closed - well almost everywhere. We eventually found a small café in the town of IJzendijke which provided us with our much sought after coffee and apple pie. Since it was the only place open in the whole town, I was surprised that we were the only couple in there, but then I suppose everyone else was still on the beach. I am still getting used to the different customs in every part of this small country, but I've learnt that Zeeuws Vlaanderen is really Belgium in disguise (although never tell the Zeeuws people that) and their customs are much more catholic than those of the more calvinist northern provinces. So... only one day to get over their New Year's hangovers? Nah, they think, we'll take two…and so they do.
|And the regulation New Year's pic of me on the beach with Sindy|