Monday, December 24, 2007

Brussels Christmas Market

We visited the Christmas market in Brussels yesterday and suggest you don't miss it. There is a large Christmas tree and live nativity scene on the Grand Place with real sheep. The Town hall is lit up in the dark accompanied by music.

The Christmas market is around the Bourse so buy some traditional items and enjoy some Gluhwein or hot chocolate while you walk round. When you have finished, I recommend a drink and maybe something to eat in my favourite bar, Falstaff, in rue Henri Maus, next to the Bourse.

British Vision Art Exhibition in Gent

We visited the British Vision exhibition in Gent for 3 hours and can recommend a viewing. It runs until 13 January.

British Vision’ is an overview of two centuries of British art, representing every major artist, including William Hogarth, Thomas Gainsborough, George Stubbs, William Blake, John Constable, Joseph Mallord William Turner, David Hockney, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, Stanley Spencer, Graham Sutherland, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and photographer Bill Brandt.
John Constable's Flatford Mill

The exhibition brings together over three hundred works of art from public and private collections throughout Britain, in addition to loans from major collections in Europe and the United States of America.

The selection contains oil paintings, watercolours, prints, drawings, sculpture, books and photographs. These works illustrate two important features typical of British art from the mid-18th to the mid-20th century: a real talent for observing daily reality and landscape on the one hand, and a fascination with the visionary on the other hand.

Museum of Fine Arts, F.Scribedreef 1 - Citadelpark, 9000 Ghent - Belgium
Tuesday until Sunday: from 10am until 6pm. On Wednesday until 9pm. Closed on Monday,
December 25th and January 1st. t+32 (0)9 240 07 00

Entrance is 9€ for adults, free for children under 12 and the 3 € audio guide (E-NL-F-D) is recommended. Travel by rail on a shopping biljet for 7€ in December and January, children go free. See for details.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Chimay Beer and Cheese

I have just enjoyed a Chimay Rood bier, 7% strong, and Chimay cheese sandwich with some sweet mango chutney.

Chimay is one of the authentic Trappist beers from Belgium which means that the beer was brewed within the walls of an existing trappist monastery under the control of the trappist community. A major part of the sales revenue is used by the monks to support charitable works.

To enjoy a Chimay beer, you need the chalice-shaped glass to fully experience the aromas and the flavour.

Chimay Rood gives a silky taste on the tongue and a slight touch of bitterness towards the end. It should be drunk between 10º and 12º C.

Carrefour are selling a gift pack with one bottle each of Chimay Rood, Blauw and Tripel plus a glass.

Michael Jackson book - Great Beers of Belgium

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Crossover Crosswalk paint Hasselt Zebra Crossings

A Hasselt resident who arranged for 19 zebra crossings in Hasselt to be painted in fun designs was ordered by the judge on Tuesday to restore them to their original state as they break traffic rules ("inbreuk op het wegverkeerreglement").

Whilst many local people found the designs of art project Crossover Crosswalk original and fun, the judge found that children were looking at the designs rather than concentrating on the traffic.

For each day that the zebra crossings are not restored to their original black and white, a fine of 100,000 € is due. The projectleader, a lawyer, also has to pay legal costs of 123.95 €.

Read here about the English woman who tried to bring Christmas cheer to her road crossings

Friday, December 14, 2007

Lunch Garden meal deal

Steak and chips is the favourite meal in Belgium.

Lunch Garden are offering a great meal deal:
- Steak et frites
- saladbar
- chocolate mousse

all for €9.95 instead of €12.95.

You can't get much more Belgian than that meal. Smaakelijk eten. Bon appetit.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Brussels Airlines sale - Thursday 13 December

Fly for the price of a bottle of Champagne!
Book now and offer your friends and family a trip to 5 destinations in Europe from €29,99 one-way, all-in.

Where to travel? Nice, Geneva, Vienna, Prague and Berlin
When to travel? From 22/12/2007 until 20/03/2008
When to book? On Thursday 13 December 2007, from 6pm until midnight on
Privilege: earn miles on every flight you book!

Warsaw, Krakow, Munich, Hamburg, Budapest from €49,99

Book today with

Use EuroTravel, the one-stop site for travel to and within Europe.

Monday, December 10, 2007

God Bless Belgium - YouTube

Half a year has gone by since the 10 June national elections and still Belgium has no national government. The French speakers cannot agree to terms set by the Flemish majority and despite many rounds of talks, we are still at impasse.

Many have raised the question of splitting Belgium into two countries: Flanders and Wallonia.

This commercial was aired to raise the spirit of the proud Belgians to keep the country whole.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Center Parcs - €150 Discount

As today marks the arrival of the holy man from Spain, Saint Nicholas (De Sint), he has brought a fantastic present for everyone: a discount of at least € 150 on a fun weekend or midweek stay in any Center Parcs!

This special Saint Nicholas discount is only valid on bookings made by Saturday 15 December, for arrivals up to 10 March 2008. Only a certain number of cottages are available in the offer, so when they are full - they are full.

What about a great stay over the Christmas or New Year period? The two Belgian parks are located in Limburg and have every facility you could need.

De Sint and his Zwarte Pieten wish you lots of fun in A State of Happiness!

Center Parcs Saint Nicholas discount Use booking code CP2461.

My sons had lots of fun at a Center Parcs in Holland in August 2006 and keep asking when can we go back.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Vrouwensportdag Limburg, 13 November 2007

On 13 November 2007, over 700 Limburg women of all ages, shapes and sizes joined the 15th annual Vrouwensportdag in De Souverein sports centre, Lommel.

For only 4€ our gemeente Heusden-Zolder organized a coach, soup and coffee and we could choose from eight different programmes, each consisting of three sports.

Sports included: nordic walking, nature walk, laughter walk, yoga, pilates, aerobics, step, African Djembe dance, NIA, percussion, Latin Aerobics, spinning, aquagym, country dancing, folk dancing and bowling,

I chose Nordic walking which I always enjoy. Unfortunately, the initiation course was cancelled in my gemeente for the second year running so I am still looking for a beginners course to build on the odd lesson I have had in other places.

After nordic walking came spinning. I should have known not to enrol for this. Spinning is fast exercise on a stationary bicycle, sometimes sitting, sometimes standing, sometimes leaning on the handlebars and as if it was not difficult enough, varying the resistance so you are in effect going uphill. It was too much for me and I really do not know how the older ladies kept going, except for the fact that "Belgians are born on bicycles". I could barely walk for two days afterwards and going downstairs was painful in my calves.

The best part for me was discovering NIA brought to us by Gitte. She describes NIA as the balance of T'ai Chi, the strength of eastern martial arts such as Tae Kwon Do, expression, creativity and spontaneity of dance and the relaxation of yoga.

"Het evenwicht van T'ai Chi + de kracht van Oosterse krijgssporten + de expressie, creativiteit en spontaniteit van dans + EN de rust van yoga."

It was wonderful, combining all my favourite activities in one class which was at times powerful, graceful, free flowing, harmonious and always fun.

Gitte is the only teacher of Nia in Belgium and you can reach her on her Nia website. The site has beautiful poetry and illustrations.

If you are a Limburg woman, look out for the 16th Vrouwensportdag in November 2008.

Antonia Stuart-James is an English Hypnotherapist in Belgium helping people to make positive change.