Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Knokke - A Day at the Beach

As I mentioned, we put the potty training on hold Friday and went out for a day at the beach! The weather has been absolutely wonderful in Belgium recently. And after 4 days stuck inside I could taste the freedom the wind and sea were sure to bring. I picked up Laura and we drove to the posh resort town of Knokke (pronounced k-NOCK-eh) on the North Sea. Of course - as fitting with the week's theme - the first thing we did was find a potty after our car ride! The potties at "Surfer's Paradise" made you notice them for sure!We bought sandwiches from Panos, parked our car next to the beach in the sand, and galloped off to eat sandy sandwiches on the beach with the seagulls and ocean breeze.Knokke's beach clouded over and the wind started whipping as soon as we settled in. But we donned our jackets and braved it. Connor couldn't even feel the cold, she was so delighted to be out and running around on the wide, wide beach. There were surfers and kites to watch everywhere. Connor at first called the kites "moons" - which made sense as they were crescent-shaped.When we thought we could take no more we tucked Connor into her stroller underneath our towels and went to stroll the boardwalk. We walked all the way up and back down in our jackets with bare feet!
Knokke is definitely a high class town. A place to see and be seen amongst the Gucci and Prada shops. There were tons of snappy sailboats in the Royal Marina.
I thought the color contrasts in this home with the thatched roof were pretty cool.
All along the boardwalk these pedal cars and rickshaw bicycles rolled around. The kids seemed to be having an absolute ball! We had to be quick to dodge out of their way.
Beach art in Knokke.
We promised Connor at the end of our stroll that she could play on one of the many playgrounds that lined the boardwalk. She especially loved driving the train! Choo Choo!
We headed back to the car full of both energy and exhaustion after a day at the beach. We loaded the car and off we went. Well not really! When I tried to drive out of our parallel parked spot our tires were half in the sand and half on cement and spun with futility; we were STUCK! I mean really stuck! Both right side tires dug themselves into the sand til the wheels were buried halfway - up to the axel. And the street cement was only a few centimeters from the underbelly of the car. UH OH! There we were - two sandy ladies with a tired two year old - stuck and stranded beside the ocean in Belgium. Eeek!

I tried to dig the tires out with my hands and rock the car. But there was a car parked in front of and behind me so it made it especially tricky since I couldn't really gun it either way without hitting one. I was willing us with all my might to find a way out. And then our knight in shining armor came by - except he was an unlikely knight - a 17ish year old kid smoking a cigarette and carrying a bucket, speaking just enough English to help. He coached me at the wheel, filled in behind the tires with sand as I lurched forward and used brute strength to basically pick the car up and onto the street! Smoking his cigarette the entire time!!! I was so relieved we weren't stuck. And so thankful to our Belgian hero.

I didn't take any photos of the car since the situation seemed so doomed in the moment, but here is one of my hands after digging in the sand. Filthy!I washed my hands and we topped off our eventful day in Knokke just right. Laura has this sweet job with a marketing firm that mystery shops Haagen-Dazs. She gets paid $7 plus free ice cream when she completes a secret shop questionnaire, usually monthly. And as a treat she arranged for us to secret shop in Knokke. We needed free ice cream after being stuck in the sand!Laura tried out the newest flavor and we critiqued the place. Granted we were the only ones in the store, so the treats came quickly - but no one was wearing their nametags, tsk tsk!

Overall it was a day with obstacles, but also a day with a fun friend, the ocean and ice cream - so it was a great one!

Click here to see full album photos of Knokke and potty training

No comments: