Friday, January 01, 2016

Our annual visit to the beach

We only ever go to the beach at New Year. It's the only time I really like it. Although I hate the cold, there's something special about getting wrapped up in scarves, woolly hats and gloves and tramping across the sands with a biting wind in your face. I also like it that whole families do what we do and take their dogs too. It's one of the few times everyone can share the beach - animal and human, grown ups and kids - and all have fun. Even people with horses seem to love a New Year's ride along the shore, and everyone shares the space without any tension or upset. For once, no one minds the sand in their faces and hair, and there are no smoothly oiled limbs to step over, or in my case, trip over.

Today was no exception and we went to the same beach we go to almost every year. It's between Breskens and Catzand on the north west coast of what should be Belgium but is actually a small sliver of Holland called Zeeuws Vlaanderen.

It may interest you to know that the Dutch and Flemish fought a short but violent conflict over its southern border with the Netherlands for four days in 1830 during the Belgian revolution when Belgium gained its independence from Holland. The Flemish wanted to include Zeeuws Vlaanderen as part of their country, but in the end, the Netherlands retained control of the province meaning they could tax shipping going to Antwerp as it had to pass through Dutch territory. Canny businessmen these Dutch have always been!



Anyhow, we love it there because it's generally considered too far for most Dutch people to go except on holiday in the summer and the Belgians tend not to like the area simply because it's Dutch - unless they are cyclists, in which case, they love it because the roads are so much safer for racers than they are over the border (Holland has all those cycle paths!).  But I'll stop rabbiting now and post some of my photos, which I think give a good idea of how cold and hazy it was, but also how beautiful.

Hoping you've also had a great start to the year!





















11 comments:

  1. H'm I cannot see any seaweed or any debris ?

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    1. A very good observation, Mel! I've never thought of that but you're right. There never is! I don't know why...must be to do with the geography of the coast and its waters.

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  2. It reminds me of Camber Sands, here in Sussex.

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    1. A name ! Know, Stephanie, but I've never been there. Happy New Year!

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  3. These pictures are lovely, Val - I can see why you love it.

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    1. It's lovely in all weathers, Jo, but I love the beach in winter!

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  4. Yes, it is very beautiful, while also cold and bleak. So dramatic, I'd love it too. Unusual to see a horse on the beach!

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    1. It was very cold but most enjoyable, Patricia :) We quite often see horse on the beaches here!

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  5. Wonderfully bracing! What a great way to blow out the cobwebs and breathe in some fresh air. Great photos as always, Val. xxx

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  6. Hi Val - wonderful - a good bracing walk to blow any lingering cobwebs away ... oh I see Veronica has said much the same - ah well! Interesting about the history .. and Zeeuws Vlaanderen .. and then the canny Dutch! Happy New Year .. and cheers Hilary

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