Blankenberge, Belgium 4/17/22

We dock near Bruges (Zeebrugge) around noon on Easter Sunday. While most of our fellow cruisers are going on some excursion to Bruges, we are taking the free shuttle into Blankenberge. TODAY IS THE DAY WE MEET UP WITH MARK Z! Mark is Sarah’s best friend and she is beyond excited. I think getting to spend the afternoon with Mark was really why she wanted to come on this cruise.

After some dithering about whether we need to go through the Customs and Immigration building, we board the bus.

Apparently not many people want to visit Blankenberge (a few more wander on before we leave.)

The idea is to meet Mark who has come to Blankenberge on the train in front of the Blankenberge sign. Of course I fret about whether we will be able to find the sign and what if there are more signs than one. I should not have worried since the sign for Blankenberger is composed of freestanding letters about eight feet tall. And in front of the B there is Mark. There are many hugs and some pictures before they and we head off in different directions.

Mark and Sarah

Mary, Mark, and Sarah in Blankenberge

John and I walk down to the North Sea. It is a beautiful day and the Belgians are out in force. While I am wearing a turtleneck, jacket, and scarf, the Belgians are in shorts and swimsuits! Apparently low 60s are sunbathing weather.

Mary at the North Sea with sunbathing Belgians

Our next stop will be for lunch. After perusing a few restaurants on the beach we choose an Italian restaurant, Portobello. We order Jupiter beers and have some olives and bruschette. It is nice to be away from the bustle of eating on the boat. We follow our appetizers with delicious spaghetti vongole (Mary) and zuppe di cozze (John).

Olives and beer
John in traditional beer pose with bruschette
Spaghetti alle vongole with weird carrot strips
Zuppe di cozze for John

The shuttle bus only runs once an hour and we decide to catch the 3:00 PM. Sarah takes the last bus back at 4:00. Before boarding the bus we take a look at the St. Anthony Abbot church. There are a couple of Jan Maes paintings and an excellent statue of St. Anthony with his devil pig.

St. Anthony Abbot Church, 1358

Jan Maes painting of the Ascension of Mary with St. Anthony Abbot
John and St. Anthony Abbot who has his bell and pig

When we arrive back in our room there is a giant chocolate rabbit, a smaller chocolate rabbit, and a nest of chocolate eggs! The giant rabbit is bigger than my head! Even if I liked chocolate there is no way we would be able to take it home. We eat the chocolate eggs and leave a note for Ricky and Erik to share the chocolates with the crew.

Giant chocolate bunny
Bigger than my head!

It has been a wonderful day in Blankenberge. Sarah has an immensely happy/sad day that she will remember always.

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