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Kinky in Koksijde 2: leprechauns and shrimp croquettes

The main reason for visiting Koksijde was – honesty is the best policy – of course that I could stay in the country’s only nude hotel and swing my Willy around in public as if there was no tomorrow. Surely I could write some hilarious anecdotes on that I thought – and as a matter of fact you can read all of them here. Needless to say I was overwhelmed with joy when I arrived and found out there was much more to see than other people’s woolly crotches. I quickly put my little friend back where he belonged and ventured into town, where I hoped wild adventures awaited me.

“The main reason for visiting Koksijde was of course that I could stay in the country’s only nude hotel and swing my Willy around in public as if there was no tomorrow. Needless to say I was overwhelmed with joy when I arrived and found out there was much more to see than other people’s woolly crotches.”

Koksijde-Oostduinkerke is quite nice architecturally. There are beautiful old mansions all over the place and Onze-Lieve-Vrouw ter Duinenkerk is one of very few modern churches actually designed with a little fantasy and aesthetic thought in mind. Culturally there are plenty of things to discover as well. The Paul Delvaux Museum houses a treasure trove of one of Belgium’s most peculiar artist’s best works, and a couple of smaller museums are just as unique in their own way. You can probably already see where I’m going with this: here are four more tips to make your visit to the Belgian coast even more interesting. No swimsuit pics this time.

 

1. Venture into the Gnome King’s realm

Somewhere in Koksijde – in a tiny white house in a side street of the otherwise unremarkable Houtsaegerlaan – lives the King of Gnomes. In his front yard, endless hordes of silent garden gnomes stand guard, and whoever is brave enough to peek through one of the windows, will find dozens more guarding the palace interior.

“Get this poor man some help before he climbs the bell tower with a gun slung over his shoulder.”

So who is this miniature monarch and what is his goal? Does he need a hobby or is collecting countless leprechauns the only thing that keeps him going in this cruel world? Is he himself a gnome, and is he the only survivor of a race that was turned to stone by a Gargamelesque wizard? Maybe he is the wizard. Maybe every petrified midget contains the soul of a missing child? Do the gnomes come to life every full moon, just to cut the grass with their little gnome scissors? Does he give every one of them points in certain categories, just to take another one of his favourites to bed every night? Is it simply a man doing it for attention, lying in wait for a chance to relentlessly moon everyone daring to take a look inside? We can only guess, but my fantasy is running wild. Get this poor man some help before he climbs the bell tower with a gun slung over his shoulder.

 

2. Discover how hoarding becomes art

Occasionally came home drunk late at night somewhere in the past few years? Chances are you zapped passed an episode of Buried Alive. This is a show where every week another fat fuck American is put on a pedestal, to tell us how he crammed his house so full of such an amount of useless garbage, he now has to take his shits in the yard. People like this are called hoarders, and they do what they do for a variety of reasons: as preparation for the incoming apocalypse, as a hobby gone too far, or simply out of soul crushing loneliness. Who knows? Koksijde had one of them as well. ’t Krekelhof is a small museum housing an extensive collection of old stuff in all shapes and sizes: from antique tools and coffee grinders to walls full of car certificates and hundreds upon hundreds of clocks. All collected by one single person, who sadly died a couple of years ago. Recently, the museum was taken over by the Fisher King people, who opened a tattoo shop and a gallery on the ground floor. Once a month they organise a living room concert, often inviting surprisingly well-known names. Interesting place for a visit. www.museumkrekelhof.be, www.thefisherking.net

 

3. Enjoy a lovely room of death

Luc and Leentje are two other avid collectors. They met each other in college in the eighties, when they were both studying biology. Strangely they chose to take over the family bakery after graduation. To not lose the link with their education, they started collecting an incredible load of animal bones, which were subsequently stored in all kinds of attics and basements. After 21 years of baking bread they called it quits and decided to make their old pile o’ bones into their life’s work. They converted their house into a showroom and opened Museos: a natural history museum with an impressive collection.

“The eight year old geek in me who wanted to become a field biologist would go completely mental in here.”

Hundreds of skeletons can be seen here, from sperm whale skulls to complete elephants, as well as countless mutated freaks in formaldehyde. On the top floor is a table where you can play with lion skulls, elephant teeth and antlers. You can even assemble a complete spinal column. Getting to touch and handle some of the specimen changes the whole museum experience. The eight year old geek in me who wanted to become a field biologist would go completely mental in here. www.museos.be

 

4. Stuff your face with shrimp croquettes

It would be quite ridiculous indeed to go all the way to the seaside to see the shrimp fishers on horseback at work, without eating some of the fruits of their labour in the form of tasty shrimp croquettes afterwards. In Estaminet De Peerdevisscher in Oostduinkerke you can get them straight from the source, because the place is owned by a family of fishermen. Even more pleasant is that they sell their own beer (with the same name) on tap. The dark variety is delicious and has a slight caramel aftertaste. Opposite the tavern you’ll find Navigo: the National Fisheries Museum. Here you can buy the same beer in bottles to take home with you. You can also meet some live codfish in the basement – the ceiling is see-through towards the ground floor by the way: hope for short skirt weather. In a traditional fisherman’s home next door a whole collection of creepy looking dolls is awaiting you, and last but not least you can enjoy plenty of photographs of old sailors, all made by Belgium’s best portrait photographer Stephan Vanfleteren. Another nice museum to add to the list. www.navigomuseum.be

Thus ends my second article on Koksijde. Do you have existential questions on one of the four topics above? Did I still miss some things you deem noteworthy? Are you the illustrious King of Gnomes and do you want to cut me into little pieces under the cover of darkness tonight? Don’t hesitate to tell me in the comments below.

As you all know by now, I stayed in Sea Nat while in Koksijde: the only B&B for naturists in the whole county. I made a lot of silly jokes on the topic in the past two articles, but I actually really enjoyed my two day stay. Sea Nat is about more than just getting naked, and they welcome a wide variety of guests: from regular naturists to burnout victims and people who are learning to accept their own bodies again after an illness or accident. Everyone is welcome and no one is judged. www.seanat.be

While making these reports, I got a lot of help from Toerisme Koksijde-Oostduinkerke. Click here for all the info you need on the destination: www.visitkoksijde.be.

 

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