440.The Man in Blue – Vlissingen – Domburg – Middelburg

Before travelling to Vlissingen I had agreed with my cousin Marie that we would go for walks on the sandy beaches on the west side of Walcheren, the island on which Vlissingen is situated. The beaches and dunes are a great asset for walkers, horse riders and ‘beach bums’. They also protect the island against flooding.

I arrived in Vlissingen on the Saturday at about 1 pm and as the weather forecast for Sunday and Monday was not good we decided to have a quick lunch and then make for the nearest beach.

South of Walcheren the Westerschelde, the estuary of the river Schelde, joins the North Sea. The shipping lane used by vessels going to and from the Belgian port of Antwerp runs here near the beach. Across the Westerschelde you can see Zeeuws Vlaanderen, the part of Zeeland that is on the Flemish mainland.

We walked and talked. We walked along the beach, enjoyed the sunshine and the views across the Westerschelde. We talked, and talked and then talked even more. Due to my 14 years outside the Netherlands we had a lot to catch up on.

The three days with cousin Marie showed how important a family member can be.  Marie and I can talk so easily because we know each other’s background, we understand each other because we have known each other virtually from birth.

On the Sunday the weather was not as bad as predicted. It was windy (it often is in Zeeland) and cloudy but it did not rain. Together with Marie’s eldest daughter we went to Domburg, the oldest resort on the Walcheren coast, where various venues hosted a jazz festival.

It was good to meet Karen, who I had seen a couple of years ago but did not really get a chance to talk to. She fits in the musical tradition of her side of the family. I enjoyed listening to Karen playing violin and her mother accompanying her on the piano. In Domburg we listened to jazz, had chips, went for another walk on the beach and then left Karen at the restaurant where she works.

On the Monday morning I walked along the Westerschelde to Vlissingen station. It was very windy ! On the way I met a young black man who wanted to know who and what I was. We came to the conclusion that we both try the serve the One.

The bus driver who took me back to Vlissingen also asked me questions about my traditional outfit, and we had a nice conversation. During my three days on Walcheren nobody called me Osama Bin Laden and nobody gave me hostile looks.

In the afternoon I took the bus to Middelburg, the capital of Zeeland. I walked through the old city on to where we were having dinner. I met Marie’s husband and her younger daughter and after the meal I went with Marie to attend a session of the small orchestra that she and Karen are part of (To be continued).


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