Dunkirk – Operation Dynamo

South to France – Dunkirk

Skies are blue-ish. Wind has eased-ish. Time to take advantage of the conditions and hit the road south. The channel from The Netherlands to The Netherlands (Vlissingen to Bresken) has a major shipping port in-between. I mean, I’m fairly sure at any one time you can see around 20 ships cruising up and down the coastline. Reminds me of Redcliffe in Queensland, although Redcliffe doesn’t have seals swimming past. The ferry was massive and the half-hour crossing is quite inexpensive at around 6 Euro. Worth every cent for a boat ride, I like boats. 🙂

Belgium stop over

The Belgium coastline stretches for 66.5Km. We covered this in two days with a stopover in Oostende. Many of the smaller coastal cottage towns, are situated one sand dune back from glistening sand expanses and crammed with very expensive Noosa-esque houses. I’ve not seen such a plethora of Porsche’s prior to this progression.

Hotel Louisa was one of the lucky buildings that dodged any ill-effects from the wars. A magnificent stained glass ceiling window, stood undamaged, in all its glory. Further down the road, a cottage built in 1868 is snugly hiding behind the sand dunes. Windows facing east, away from the prevailing winds and with a view of the hinterland. Ironically, buildings are now designed with the view to the west over the beach and ocean. Interesting how the desires and requirements evolve over a few hundred years.

Dykes to save a town/country

Dykes in The Netherlands are a necessary state of play. Much of the land is reclaimed and often actually under the ocean level itself. Add to this scenario severe wind conditions that create tidal surges and massive waves and you really need some form of solid protection. The Dykes also allow for the placement of a wonderful cycle path to be plonked on top. Yes, this does mean you need to expect crazy winds – well we do – and amazing views.


Keep going for a bit and you will find yourself in France, in a crazy small amount of time. Coffee was nice and hot, although breakfast proved itself difficult to find. Check out the rail trail in the shot below. The French really take the name seriously, sometimes still keeping the train tracks there – just in case. It was really cold and windy again. We were able to hide behind the sand dunes for much of today’s ride. At times, these are quite difficult conditions to ride in or simply be outdoors at all.


Belgium and Dunkirk equally display the remnants of wartimes. Bunkers litter the sand dunes, obvious earthworks (dune placement) for fortification, and buildings with bullet holes scarring the facades.

Dunkirk – Operation Dynamo

26th May to the 4th June, saw the extraction of 338000 English and French troupes from this beach. The incredible aspect of this extraction is that many of the troupes were extracted by mum and dad in their own civilian crafts, braving the conditions of the channel from England. Sailing boats, weekend runabouts, anything and everything was used. Brave people, one and all.

The city of Dunkirk is a wonderful mix of new and old, contemporary and Art-deco/gothic. This blend of building styles, often immediately adjacent to each other, develops an eclectic modern vision. The reality of the situation is that many of the older buildings were beyond repair from the bombing raids and were rebuilt in newer styles with materials at hand.

Day at the beach

Time to put on the bikini… thermals, woollen shirt, down jacket, beanie and gloves; we are off to the beach. Our pocket sized accommodation was awesome. On the 4th level, in a period age building where the cat would be in trouble if it was swung. We were right beside the beach, in the middle of the action and a stones throw from so many historical landmarks. This was a lovely spot to explore for a couple of days.


I couldn’t do a blog without discussing food. OMG look at these at the local bakery. The French do a bakery very very very well.

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