July 3, 2012

Chess city break in Flanders!

If you would like to travel, but feel unequal to learning at least one international language for the purpose, then play chess;) The ideal substitute for English, Spanish etc. at last has been found!
For our family, last weekend was a perfect opportunity to employ the reliable speech of chess without danger of going astray, in...Oostende! 
Probably it would have taken us some time to reach this Flemish city if it wouldn't have been the universal language of chess. Even if Erwin was busy for a couple of hours with his simul, the reason for our city break, it doesn't mean we didn't enjoy every single bit of it! And you can see for yourself the upside of playing chess further on:


The very first moment I laid my eyes upon the beautiful train station of Antwerp,
I knew this weekend is going to be good! And so it was.

Direction: Oostende! Funny enough, I was reading a book which was taking place
right there, on the Belgian coast, so I was anxious to see it for myself.
Are we lucky or what, to have the chance to travel so much?! 

Wish I could remember this, when I start muttering while packing/unpacking my luggage:)

Here we are: Oostende! Unfortunately our city break was rather short, just 24 hours -
enough though to wish to come back. Many movies are being shot here, as proof that
this Flemish city is more than just sea!

But first we must elucidate: where exactly are we?!

Some phosphorus and Omega 3 for the upcoming simul?!
By the way, we had to try it out - fish market was right there, under our noses.
We didn't regret our seafood choices, absolutely fresh and delicious!

It worked! Erwin didn't lose a single game and let only four draws slip out of his pocket.

The main square in Oostende, where the simul could have taken place.
Finally the games were played indoors, since the weather is really unpredictable here,
just like in Holland. But we managed to enjoy the entire weekend without an umbrella;)

A little debriefing after the games over a beer or two or three...
Since Belgium is well known for its brewing tradition, the task of choosing proved to be quite agonising. Eventually, I went for a Kriek:) If you hate fruit beers, this remarkable cherry flavour just might change your mind! Or you can go for a more 'manly' option: the abbey or trappist beers or maybe the archetypals Leffe, Duvel and Hoegaarden...the list to expand your waistline is endless!
On our way back to the train station...but the weekend has not yet finished!

I've always heard that Brussels, Bruges and Antwerp are Belgium's big three. Indeed, Bruges is lovely, despite the fact that hordes of tourists would agree!
Out of the blue, we landed in the middle of a Sunday market, where people were selling
the stuff they didn't want anymore. It struck me how many things we buy without actually
needing them:) Good I was more interested in the medieval architecture at the time; otherwise, who knows...:)


Who needs a time machine when we have such beautiful cities to explore?!



From the outside, it seems a dream came true to live in such a historical building.
The atmoshpere, the character cannot be equalised by the modern constructions.
Wondering about the practical point though: drainage, isolation, pipes etc...




In the Market Square of Bruges




Venice?! 

And we move on towards our next stop: Antwerp!





I just love this Gothic and Flemish baroque architecture!

The City Hall


As a woman, I knew of course about the famous diamond industry of Antwerp;) And about the Belgian chocolate (btw: not recommended for the chocoholics!) What I still had to discover was the strong impact which the city has reserved for me:
I liked it even more than Bruges.


All good things have something in common: they don't last forever.
Time to go back home...

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