Monday, June 11, 2018

June Themed Link Ups - Summers of the Past

Joining in with The Blended Blog for the June Themed Link Ups - Summers of the Past.  My favorite has to be the summers we spent at the beach in Belgium.  My Dad had quite a high-stress job during the time he was stationed there so come Friday night, we hit the road and headed out of town.  No cell phones in those days - out of town meant out of touch and that's just the way he wanted it to be.  We had a caravan - a small one for about the first year and then my parents bought a larger one.  We spent our summers at this campsite - Lombardsijde - right on the beach on the Belgian coast.  The listing on this site is a little different from the way I remember it:

Campsite De Lombarde is a campsite in Lombardsijde, West Flanders, located by the sea and by a lake/recreational pond.The campsite has which are marked out, pitches with shade, pitches without shade and pitches with some shade. It is possible to rent hikers' cabins and bungalows. The campsite has a playground.

I don't recall there being a lake/recreational pond so it's something that was added since we were there.

This is our new caravan - the blue and silver tent-like extension is called an avant (from en avant de = in front of in French).  It connected to the caravan via a giant zipper trough on the front of the caravan.  One year, there was a terrible storm and it ripped the avant right off.  Thankfully, the campsite staff recovered it and everything that was inside (picnic table, beach chairs, etc.) and stored it until we got back up there.  My parents took it to some industrial seamstress and had it repaired.  It wasn't cloth, it was more like a heavy rubber/plastic-type construction.  The caravan had a small bedroom with bunk beds (for my sister Barbara and me), a bathroom with a sink and chemical toilet, kitchen, and living/dining room area that had a Murphy bed that came down over the dining table at night.

During our last few years, we had this prime spot right above the beach.  We could look out the windows and see the cross channel ferries heading to England and watch the phosphorescent waves at night (if you've never seen it, think fireflies at night in the water, but in this case, it's the algae that is glowing).

Dad, Barbara and me with Judy, our Shetland Sheepdog on the beach below our caravan

We spent every weekend from April to October at our caravan.  Barbara and I learned how to speak French from the other kids, playing on the beach, swimming in the English Channel, hanging out at each other's caravans if the weather wasn't beach-ready.  There were a lot of sand dunes and old German bunkers to explore.  It was a short walk along the beach to a promenade in the town of Westende where we would walk for Belgian waffles or ice cream or to pick anything we needed from the grocery store and we would drive to the larger town of Oostende to go to the market or to see a movie if the weather was really miserable.

One of my favorite memories was taken a Dutch oven/stock pot-size pan down to the main camp building (pictured in the bottom photo on the postcard above) around dinner time for piping hot frites (French fries) - they were amazing and just perfect to go with whatever we were having for dinner!


  1. What wonderful childhood memories.

  2. You have the best photos and stories! What fun memories.

  3. Oh, Belgian waffles and frites. Delicious! These are such special memories. I love the word "caravan" instead of rv or camper.