The Christmas Market in Blankenberge
Walking back down the promenade the wind was pushing us along and after the second junction we turned off and went down to the street that ran parallel to the promenade. At least down there it was sheltered. We walked along past apartment buildings with on street parking, a couple of bars, a green grocers shop overflowing with produce and more hotels. Once we reached Casino Square we were back in a more familiar part of Blankenberge.
The drizzle/rain had stopped and we walked back down the pedestrian precinct towards the railway station.
Masks outside seemed to be mainly worn by the more older passers-by.
The entrance to the Christmas Fair had two security guards checking COVID-19 passes. Our French app provided an immediate ‘OK’ when scanned and we were into our first market.
It became clear very quickly that there wasn’t a large number of stalls or rides.
We walked to the covered ice-rink and then into the large marquee.
It was only 12.30 and there were lots of vacant tables inside the marquee. No cash was accepted at the bar so I had to go and buy tokens from a cashier station to buy mulled wine.
After all our walking in the morning it was good to be dry, warm and sitting down. The Terminus Bar was just outside, our favourite place to eat and drink in Blankenberge, so we limited our time in the marquee to just one mulled wine. As the marquee began to fill we had another walk around the stalls and left the market.
The Terminus Bar Brasserie
Only a short walk to the bar from the Christmas Market. We were lucky to get a table in a corner by the window. Our French Covid app came to our rescue once again. The waitress would only serve customer if her app when scanning a vaccine QR gave her the OK.
The four people on the next table were having a lot of trouble as the NHS QR codes on their phones were not being accepted. They were having to log in and request new codes and then try again as the waitress came back every five minutes to try a re-scan. They had started before we came into the bar and it took almost the whole time we were in the bar for them to all finally get the OK to be there.
We asked for fries and learnt that the kitchen didn’t have the proper extraction chimney to cook them BUT the sandwiches we had were as always excellent.
Back at the coach drop-off there were 3 coaches waiting to shuttle passengers back to the port. While we waited for the coach to fill I had a closer look at the church.
The coach dropped everyone off at the terminal building and there we queued up to have a security check.
Once through the checks we queued again for another shuttle to take us across the port to Iona. Back in our cabin I could see a row of Belgian Navy minesweepers in the dock parallel to Iona.
Then at 4.30 the quay was empty of coaches except for the occasional shuttle and the gangways were being taken away.
Once Iona left the port I could look back on the lights of Zeebrugge.
A small celebration
After dinner on a table for two, the new norm it seems, we walked around the ship and checked out the shops. A quick look in the Theatre convinced us that we’d continue to avoid such a crowded place on the ship. After a visit to the casino I joined in the celebration of the win and we went back to the Glasshouse in the Atrium to enjoy a bottle of champagne. As I have outlined in my review of Iona the Glasshouse doesn’t have much character and we were seated away in a soulless corner on not very comfortable chairs.
Then it was back to our room for an early night in preparation for our full day in Rotterdam.
Next day – Monday 13th December – Rotterdam