"Where Am I?" Adinkerke by johngayton
Adinkerke Travel Guide: 19 reviews and 47 photos
Many years ago I always used to go over to Calais, in France, for my tobacco runs. Then the French decided to squeeze the taxation on it and so I switched to Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
Amsterdam suited me and I usually made it a combination of a mini-break as well as the shopping trip. However the Dutch have started to go the same direction as the French and prices have crept up incrementally over the last couple of years. The recent stregnth of the Euro has further increased my costs and so I decided to look at other alternatives (giving up not being a realistic one in my invertebrate case!).
Doing a bit of research I found that one of the cheapest places in Europe for my particular brand of tobacco is Adinkerke, here in Belgium, just over the border from France. The tobacconists here specialise in "tobacco tourism" and so not only is it cheap but there is always a plentiful supply.
Adinkerke it was to be then!
Researching my journey I found that the easiest way for me, as a non-driver, to get to Adinkerke from North Devon is by train, travelling via London and Brussels by Eurostar (one of my favourite methods of travel). The only slight hiccup was that Adinkerke doesn't have its own railway station, the nearest being that of De Panne, about a kilometer away.
But what's a kilometer? For me a ten minute walk, that's all. And so I duly arranged my trip with an overnight stay on the return leg in Brussels as a treat.
My trip involved a bus into Barnstaple, train from Barnstaple to Exeter, another train from Exeter to London, short tube journey to St Pancras, Eurostar to Brussels and then the final two-hour local train journey from Brussels. All-in-all about 15 hours travelling, the first 12 of which were just to escape the UK! Fortunately I like travelling!
When I arrived at De Panne railway station, after a minor digression at Gent, it was a pleasant sunny September afternoon. I pretty much knew where I should be heading but with plenty of time decided to have a wander around De Panne itself.
This is when I discovered that De Panne railway station isn't in De Panne either, that's another kilometer journey in the opposite direction to Adinkerke.
So here I was in no-man's land, niether Adinkerke nor De Panne.
After what turned to be 18 hours of buses and trains I needed to stretch my legs anyway and see what the immediate environs had to offer. No-man's land is a neat suburban street linking the two towns with a couple of bars, a bowling alley (called the "Bowling Stones"), a kids theme park (hence the roundabout), the local War Cemetery and what looked like an interesting woodland walk. Also of interest was the local transport into De Panne - a tram which runs round the Belgian coast and certainly looks worth taking a trip on.
As it was I never did get into Adinkerke proper, nor De Panne, but rather found quite an amazingly characterful Bar/Tabac/Junk Shop just across the road from the railway station. Here I got my tobacco, enjoyed a few beers (with a cigarette in hand) and had a very pleasant convivial afternoon with the friendly owners, regulars and a couple of other "tobacco tourists".
In fact the Tobacco Terminus, to give the Bar/Tabac its proper name, was so characterful I'm even going to give it its own little travelogue!
Looking forward to my next visit!
UPDATE MARCH 2011 - On this visit I managed to make the time for a wander around Adinkerke proper. It's a pleasant and friendly little town and OK there are lots of tobacconists but its canal-straddling location is scenic, locals say Hi to you in the street and the town itself is well-looked after with some interesting artworks scattered around. Check out my latest tips which include a couple of interesting shops which aren't tobacconists!
- Pros:Cheap Tobacco!
- Cons:None That I Noticed!
- In a nutshell:Oddbod of a place but somehow intrigueing!
These are the sort of little things I notice on my travels. Not because I'm some sort of "Eco-Warrior" but for the... more travel advice
This was an almost ideal little find for me on my March 2011 visit, and it provided me with a little chuckle. Tobacco... more travel advice
johngayton's Related Pages
Adinkerke Travel Guide
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