Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Belgium - Knokke-Heist

Whenever there is a holiday (schools closed) my sister and I move to our flat in Knokke-Heist. It's one of the finest resorts on the North Sea coast, and if you ever happen to visit Belgium it's certainly a place worth visiting.

My grandparents already used to visit this resort in the 1920's and 1930's. They were relatively well-off and could afford to rent a villa for the entire summer. They spent their time there with the kids and lots of family. No small wonder my mother grew up loving the place, and when she was married and had children of her own, she decided we'd spend our summer there as well.

In fact, Knokke-Heist consists of three villages: Knokke, Duinbergen and Heist. The most mundane is Knokke, and especially the quarter know as Knokke-Zoute. It's quite near a nature reserve, called Het Zwin. It is the border between Belgium and Holland, and is in fact a big plain of sand, which is flooded daily by the sea, making it an ideal hide-out for lots of birds.

You can walk or bike there, and continue until  Sluis and Cadzand in Holland. Very nice, just hearing the cries of birds and feeling the wind in your hair.

The beaches in Knokke and Heist (especially those in Heist) are sandy and very wide. Sometimes, at ebb, you have to walk a mile or more to reach the water! You can do whatever you like on this beach: sit in the sun, play games, go surfing or kite-surfing, do a gallop on horseback (but only before 10 am and after 7 pm for the security of others), play beach-volley or basketball, ...

The only thing about Knokke-Heist is that houses and flats are rather expensive right now. For a one-bedroom flat you'll easily pay 200,000 € (or more) and prices can go up to 3 million for a place in Knokke-Zoute...

We were able to buy our flat at an affordable price in the 1990's, but since then it has tripled in price already. We have a view over another nature reserve, the Baai van Heist (Bay of Heist), where more birds makes their nests. We also see this lighthouse from our terrace:

We love to be here, and we know it better than we do Dendermonde. When someone asks for directions here, we can always point them into the right direction. We also do our shopping here mainly, as there are great boutiques present - not to speak of the many star-endowed restaurants in the neighborhood. Our favorites there are Bartholomeus and La Guerra, both in Heist.

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