The endless Les Hemmes

Friday the 13th. The day that started our long weekend of hippie beach life. Our car was packed full again, we had a special guest with us, from Waffle’s work. We had also some extra special goodies for the birthday of one of the buggiers. The car was feeling like a mammoth slumbering through the roads, especially after we added the trailer to the tail.

It is no wonder we arrived late that evening to our usual camping. Of course by that time, it was already packed to the maximum. Mainly with Germans and couple of Dutchies in between. No French soul to be seen. We blobbed out our two tents between two camper vans and started off a fire. We just bought a new hiking tent from Quechua, keeping in mind the coming trip to mountains. This would be the testing session for that purchase.

It was just a short sit around for that evening. We needed to prepare for a long weekend of kite action. We had new people to teach and north western wind to ride. Everybody was a bit excited, when slowly crawling in. For The Colleague, this was the first camping experience, the first hippie life experience and of course, first kite buggy experience. He would have a lot to take in. That would be interesting to see.

The night was colder than expected. The Colleague was frozen and very sleepy until late in the day. We collected some breakfast, strong coffee and started to look around for people we knew. Waffle had put out a word about the birthday party and quite some familiar faces had gathered around. The Birthday boy was there too. Gripping to his coffee cup, I don’t know whether the beers the previous night had anything to do with that. The poor guy had hurt his hand right before he left for Les Hemmes and was going to have to stand aside from buggying. You could see the frustration steaming out of his ears. He is rather addicted to kite sports.

The beach. It was wet when we finally got that far. On top of the wetness it was slimy and muddy and partially disgusting with large puddles still lingering about. The heavy wind from the sea had kept some of the retreating seawater on the beach and caused the mud to puddle. Matched nicely with my hangover.

We found a dry enough piece of sand to spread our kites onto. The Colleague was stuffed into the tandem, to get a first taste of the fun. Waffle came soon back screaming. He had taken too big of a sail to begin with. In the meanwhile I was lifting up my small little thing too. The 4 meter kite was plenty enough for me for that strong wind. I was happy, first take off and I was gone without a cough. Until the first water puddle. I was planning on turning back right before it, since it made me nervous. Well, you know how it goes. You focus on the thing you want to avoid and involuntarily drive directly towards it. That’s exactly what I did and right before driving into the water, I landed my kite into a deep pool instead. Instantly I kicked myself in the head. Why, oh why.

Well, no need to mention, that wet kites don’t really fly too much. I was stuck there, my buggy standing in water and me attached to the sloppy and wet kite. Waffle came like a hero saving me, first of course making sure that I recognized the fact that I had made quite a mistake. As if I didn’t see that already. Well, I had two options. To walk back to our beach camp dragging the buggy, or flying the kite up in the air until it was dry enough to have enough power to pull the buggy.

So I started a 20 minutes of exhausting static kiting. After that all went relatively fine, my head was working on slow motion and I managed to do quite some stupidities, but nobody died. The kite is coated in mud though.

By the evening some more people had joined the group and we had a large circle of us sitting around a massive campfire. Nobody was cold. If they claim otherwise, they are lying. At some point of the evening people started to feel positive about the idea of having some fireworks to entertain us. Waffle had brought some for the birthday. It ended up being a rather nice evening with some explosions and planet searching from the night sky.

Sunday brought a perfect beach. Dry, hard and smooth. The wind was letting people down though, it was low, and switching direction on top of that. We had met one of Waffles old friends at the Leuven Beer Festival, and invited him over to try some kiting. He had arrived, despite of a small phone stealing episode and was soon practicing too. Waffle and I were both feeling tired and lazy after the day and night before. Soon we packed our stuff and headed for a walk to the sand bank where the seals spend time. The Colleague and the old friend followed of course. We still had one night to go at the camping. That meant some extreme relaxation around the campfire. Slightly worrying whether we had enough beers left.

Monday over here was a public holiday so we were in no hurry to get back home. The wind was dead and I was still feeling too lazy for buggying. So we spent the morning going through other campings in the area. Our regular place has restricted the area for tents and it is getting crowded also the service has been getting worse lately, so we are on the hunt for better situations. Next time we’ll be staying closer to the beach, I hope.

Every time we leave from the beach the feelings are controversial. You are happy to get home, have your comfortable bed and a bath. But still you keep looking back at those evenings when everybody is huddled around the fire and joking around. The morning chill when you hunt down the first cup of coffee and so forth. Then there is the contrast to the things that happen at the beach. There you concentrate, fail, try and learn. And fail again only try some more.  It is a complete stress release to be away from your everyday things every once in a while.

And rest of the pictures.

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