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  • jochengielen

Short: 2 days Belgian coast

In December 2023, I had to give an IATA DGR training at the Ostend Airport in Belgium, I was booked for 2 nights in Blankenberge and managed to go quickly to Zeebrugge to see 2 ships docked at the cruise terminal as well.

The Ambition was docked bow out closest to the road and viewpoint in Zeebrugge and the MSC Euribia, also bow out was docked in front of her. Another ship opposite the port was loading or unloading cars, the Yasmine of the Belgian Cobelfret roro-fleet of car-carriers. Another spectacular but often underrated view here is the drawbridge that links the east and west sides of the main canal, opening whenever a ship needs to go trough the lock.

My hotel was the Mercure hotel right next to the Blankenberge train station, I usually try to book any hotel by the Accor group as I have now been a long time member and usually get some free upgrades and welcome drinks. This hotel is modern, stylish and offers high quality breakfast and a good selection at the bar. The rooms are of a high standard and service seems to be as expected from a Mercure hotel. The Accor website lists a parking area at this hotel, however ... this is misleading as the parking in a public carpark right next to the station and is not actually run by the hotel, nor does the hotel have discount fees on it ... so parking your car will cost about 20 to 25 euro per day, after 8 pm you can park your car for free in the surrounding streets however. The Mercure offers a pool on the roof but this can not be covered so in December it was closed, another downside is that the Mercure hotel doesn't have its own restaurant, so if you need a quick lunch or dinner, you will have to find a restaurant nearby ... but there are plenty of them just outside the hotel itself. The Ibis Budget hotel is located just next to the Mercure hotel.

Just around the hotel is the actual center of Blankenberge with the square and the church, and you can follow any of the roads the lead down to the beach.

I didn't do much else on this trip because first of all I had work to do, teaching at our Securitas department at Ostend Airport (OST) and the timing meant that it was dark very early as well, I went out to the Airport in the morning right after breakfast and by the time I got back, it was already dark.

The airport was also getting ready for the last holiday flights by TUI and after that it would close for renovations for about 3 months.

The reality of having dinner near the beach in December is utter darkness as you can see here.

The church opposite the hotel was giving me a rare chance of making some decent evening shots without having to go out on a long walk.


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