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Location - Western Europe; Capital - Brussels; Population - 11 million; Currency - Euro MORE BELGIUM

A weekend trip to the Sand Wonderland festival took me along the Belgian coast in July 2013.


euroBelgium is part of the Euro Zone










belgium413Beach clubs run side-by-side along the Belgian coast at Blankenberge


belgium408Beach huts seem to be all the rage in Belgium, pictured here with the pier as a backdrop - Blankenberge



belgium418 The town is a bit of a concrete monstrosity but the sand is very inviting on a sunny day - Blankenberge














belgium425I love the chilled feel of the Tao Bar with its massive beanbags and ambient music - Blankenberge















belgium431If you've been to Prague you'll likely have come across David Cerny's babies, and here they go crawling over Blankenberge's casino


belgium232The King (Elvis Presley that is) welcomes visitors to Sand Wonderland in Blankenberge


belgium236 Sitting next to his mate Elvis is US President Abraham Lincoln - Blankenberge















belgium255The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and Keith Richards - Blankenberge















belgium298Most sculptures are housed in a huge marquee with a privileged few outdoors. Over 40 artists from around the world contribute to an annually changing theme. The detail on most of them is superb - Blankenberge



belgium249Sand Wonderland runs from mid-June to mid-September every year in a rather rundown and messy park. In 2013 the theme was 'Artworks, Inventions, Historical Events, Personalities and Popular Scenes' - Blankenberge


belgium265Ringo, George, John and Paul, aka The Beatles - Blankenberge















belgium267Barack Obama looking a bit trapped, in front of the White House - Blankenberge















belgium272An Egyptian pharaoh, and King Kong holds on tightly to the Empire State Building - Blankenberge


belgium284I didn't recognise either Rihanna or Madonna - Blankenberge


belgium287A fantastic one of Jimi Hendrix - Blankenberge



















belgium317Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator - Blankenberge














belgium320Pope Francis - Blankenberge



belgium322Infamous American gangster Al Capone - Blankenberge



belgium333I much prefer the huge outdoor sculptures - Blankenberge















belgium340A scene from Hollywood blockbuster Avatar - Blankenberge















belgium353Frankenstein and his castle stand above, erm.. a werewolf? Blankenberge



belgium345Frankenstein and his castle look brilliant - Blankenberge



belgium360aI asked these artists who this was going to be but they didn't want to spoil the surprise - Blankenberge














belgium346Count Dracula with a female conquest - Blankenberge















belgium348Dracula's woman - Blankenberge



belgium364The Black Pearl, surrounded by the cast, was another very impressive model - Blankenberge


belgium371Pirates of the Caribbean characters Davy Jones and Hector Barbossa - Blankenberge



















belgium375Captain Jack Sparrow and the Black Pearl - Blankenberge















belgium377Waves bash against Noah's Ark - Blankenberge


belgium383Admire the sculpted lines - Blankenberge



belgium388The Chronicles of Narnia - Blankenberge


















belgium400Alfred Hitchcock glimpses at the birds and the pyscho house - Blankenberge















belgium382The sculptures are sprayed with water to retain their moisture - Blankenberge



belgium227Fireworks mark a Flanders holiday - Blankenberge


belgium441 Beach huts beaneath the Thermae Palace Hotel - Ostend














belgium447 The 1930s Mercator, in the old harbour, is now a museum piece - Ostend














belgium450Boats moored in the old harbour at Ostend


belgium460The early 20th century St Petrus & Pauluskerk - Ostend


belgium463Some very imaginative and colourful bars between the old harbour and the church - Ostend















belgium464Chef checks out the scene - Ostend















belgium468I passed through Bruges on my way to Damme


belgium468aThe towering Belfort (belfry) dominates the Markt - Bruges



belgium468bGabled buildings, mostly restaurants, line the north side of the Markt - Bruges














belgium471Take a bike ride along the canals on the way to Damme and you'll pass several windmills - Bruges















belgium472None of these windmills were in operation though maybe they get cranked up at some point in the year - Bruges



belgium475Damme is about 5km from Bruges on an arrow-straight tree-lined canal


belgium476Fishing along the canal near Damme















belgium482A paddle steamer also provides an enjoyable way to get to Damme















belgium491The stadhuis forms the centre of Damme


belgium489The central square is surrounded by bars and restaurants - Damme


belgium492The Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk - Damme















belgium498Cycling down a road lined with poplar trees at Damme


















belgium501Make your way just outside Damme and there seems to be canals everywhere


belgium479Unlike the ones in Bruges this windmill was in (full?) working order - Damme


belgium504A couple of kms north of Bruges is the moated Kasteel ten Berghe - Bruges














belgium515Lissewege is on the train line from Bruges to Zeebrugge


belgium510The main church at Lissewege



belgium517The village is only 4km from Zeebrugge and is known for its artistic bent and whitewashed buildings - Lissewege














belgium522It's worth a few hours if on the way to the coast from Bruges - Lissewege















belgium521Eeurgh! Art in the village of Lissewege


belgium527The industrial port city of Zeebrugge















belgium531The 21st century version of the windmill - Zeebrugge















belgium539Several powergliders swooped up and down, sliding across the beach at Zeebrugge



belgium536I've no idea if 'powerglider' is a proper term but these came with motorised fans on the back - Zeebrugge



belgium540After a few kms walk from Zeebrugge the pier at Blankenberge appears














belgium541Between Blankenberge and Ostend is the pretty seaside resort of de Haan


belgium542The beach stretches out to the North Sea at de Haan


belgium544Beaches all along the Belgian coast are very wide so there should be plenty of room on a sunny day - de Haan















belgium543The seafront at de Haan
















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LINKS - the Belgian tourist office - the coastal tram - visit Flanders - visit Ostend - Eurostar train from London to Paris, Brussels and more


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