Friday, April 03, 2015

"There is little to be seen in Ostend. We wandered through long rows of plain yellow houses, trying to read the French and low Dutch signs" B Taylor #QotD

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"On the low Belgian coast we could see trees and steeples, resembling a mirage over the level surface of the sea; at length, about ten o'clock, the square tower of Ostend came in sight. The boat passed into a long muddy basin, in which many unwieldy, red-sailed Dutch craft were lying, and stopped beside a high pier. Here amid the confusion of three languages, an officer came on board and took charge of our passports and luggage. As we could not get the former for two or three hours, we did not hurry the passing of the latter, and went on shore quite unincumbered, for a stroll about the city, disregarding the cries of the hackney-coachmen on the pier, "Hotel d'Angleterre," "Hotel des Bains!" and another who called out in English, "I recommend you to the Royal Hotel, sir!"
There is little to be seen in Ostend. We wandered through long rows of plain yellow houses, trying to read the French and low Dutch signs, and at last came out on the wall near the sea. A soldier motioned us back as we attempted to ascend it, and muttering some unintelligible words, pointed to a narrow street near. Following this out of curiosity, we crossed the moat and found ourselves on the great bathing beach. To get out of the hands of the servants who immediately surrounded us, we jumped into one of the little wagons and were driven out into the surf."   p. 47

Views a-foot: or, Europe seen with knapsack and staff (1846) by Bayard Taylor

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Bayard Taylor (1825-1878) was an American poet, literary critic, translator, and travel author. He published a couple of books on Egypt which is where I'd first heard of him when writing my book on Egyptian travel accounts, Nile Notes of a Howadji (1992).




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