Saturday, January 17, 2009

Great Video of Belgium

Here is a really good video of Belgium:

It was made by a British travel writer who used to live in Belgium and says he loves the country. It mainly shows Brussels and the 5* Hotel Amigo where he stayed but there are also glimpses of other parts of Belgium and the "bourgondier" lifestyle that we enjoy.

If you are travelling to Brussels from London, I recommend the high speed train Eurostar:

Visit Living in Belgium for information on what's on, where to go, photos and useful tips for making life in Belgium more interesting.

Demolition of the Vroenhoven Bridge on Video

The Vroenhoven Bridge over the Albert Canal near Riemst in Limburg was demolished on Friday 16 January. It had been damaged in WWII.

"De ontploffing van de brug over het Albertkanaal in Vroenhoven bij Riemst heeft vrijdagavond naar schatting drie- à vierduizend toeschouwers op de been gebracht. De brug uit 1935 werd met 700 kilogram dynamiet tot ontploffing gebracht."

The demolition took place on Friday 16 January with 3,000-4,000 onlookers. It was built in 1935 and took 700kg dynamite.

"In de plaats van de oude boogbrug komt een nieuwe hypermoderne constructie met een commercieel centrum en een café. Het hele project kost 29 miljoen euro. De nieuwe constructie moet het in de toekomst mogelijk maken dat twee schepen tegelijk onder de brug door kunnen."

A new modern bridge with commercial centre and a café will take its place. The project cost 29 million €. The new bridge will allow two ships to pass under the bridge next to each other.


87th European Motor Show Brussels

The 87th European Motor Show Brussels runs from 16 to 25 January 2009 with two main components:

"Light Commercial Vehicles" targeting at the same time the professional visitor and the public in search of vehicles of maximum 7.5T for the industrial or commercial transport of goods and/or passengers;

"Recreational Vehicles and Motorcycles" exhibiting mainly motorcycles and recreational vehicles such as all-road, breaks, MPV’s and convertibles. In 2009 moreover, other motorcar types will be exhibited (sedan, hatchback and coupes). The purpose of their presence is to show product novelties rather display the complete product range of the brand.

The motor show aims at creating a climate propitious to sales for the 300,000 to 320,000 expected visitors over a 10 days period.

People need transport - Transport: the beating heart of our society
In order to maintain a "low cost" environment for the exhibitors and with the intent to differ this show from the Auto & Moto Show in even years, the organisers encourage initiatives by the exhibitors to reduce their participation cost.

The organisers will develop a communication strategy that will specifically address the different target groups of visitors.

A trade show for "Heavy Commercial Vehicles" is staged simultaneously over a 4-day period in two separate exhibition halls (17-20 January 2009). The visitors of this trade show will have free access to the public exhibition. The exhibitors of light commercial vehicles will thus benefit from the interest of this show's trade visitors.

Venue: Brussels Expo (Heysel), Place de Belgique, B-1020 Brussels

17 -> 25/01/2009,
Every day: 10:00-18:30 Weekends:10:00-18:30, Nocturne (19/01): 10:00-22:00

VIP evening: (16/01/2009)16:00-24:00

Admission: Adults: €10, Children < 12 year: €6,25 Children < 6 year: free
VIP day: €31,50


Visit Living in Belgium for information on what's on, where to go, photos and useful tips for making life in Belgium more interesting.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Claim for Unfair Bank Charges in the UK

If you are a Brit or took out any financial product in Britain, you have probably heard about people claiming for unfair bank charges, credit card charges mis-sold policies and unfair mortgage fees. These have been the subject of much media debate due to a High Court case which recently went in the Consumers’ favour. It is estimated that consumers are owed circa £12 billion in such charges going back six years with an average claim of £2000. Anyone can apply and when you visit the site, you can apply for refunds on various products. It is all on a "No Win, No Fee" basis.

Visit Claims Financial here.

You simply submit your contact details so that Claims Financial can send you a claim form. You tell them how many claims you intend to make ie how many bank accounts, how many credit cards, mortgage exit penalty or arrears fees and if claiming on any mis-sold polies. They will then send you the relevant form(s) to complete.

A few months from now you could be receiving a most welcome cheque for each claim. Seems worth a little paperwork to me.

Visit Living in Belgium for useful information, photos and ideas.

Mijnterril Walk above Limburg Coalmines

We joined the badminton club for a walk up a "mijnterril" in Koersel, Beringen, Limburg. These mijnterril hills were formed from the earth removed from the coal mines which were a thriving industry in Limburg until the early 1990s when the mines were closed. The Genk mine has been turned into a Euroscoop cinema with bars and restaurants. The Heusden-Zolder mine is in dis-use but the adjacent building is used for advice on sustainable energy along with some other organizations.

Here is some of the group at the start of the walk before we started climbing:

One of the gentle slopes walking up:

As we walked up, some scouts had fun sledging down:

Only scouts go out in sub-zero temperatures wearing shorts and socks around their ankles!

There is a fantastic view from the top over the local houses and towards another mijnterril:

Here are my boys at the top...:

...and the mine behind them:

Of course, we had to drink a borrel or two of Jenever, the local speciality from Hasselt. There was a choice of several flavours:

Here is my Appel Jenever keeping cool:

Finally, a beautiful sunset on the way home:

Visit Living in Belgium for information on what's on, where to go, photos and useful tips for making life in Belgium more interesting.

Christmas Scenes in Hasselt

Hasselt was very busy with shoppers on Saturday visiting the sales even though it was so cold ie -17ºC at 8.30am. There was a good atmosphere and the town was still pretty from the Christmas decorations.

One of three nativity scenes made from wood:

A bright carousel to cheer us on dark winter days:

The carousel and Christmas tree on the Grote Markt:

View from L'Orangerie towards the Stadhuis:

Visit Living in Belgium for information on what's on, where to go, photos and useful tips for making life in Belgium more interesting.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Enjoy a Wonderful Break for the Whole Family With 50% Discount

What could be better than a few days at Center Parcs, the home of indoor swimming adventures, activities, restaurants, bars and comfortable cottages with every amenity? Some have wellness and spa centres. We loved our stay at Center Parcs which also had a petting zoo, go-karts for hire and plenty to delight the children.

At the centre of each Center Parcs is an enormous indoor swimming pools complex with various large and small pools including waterfalls, whirlpools, paddling pools, wave machine - something for everyone, young to old.

There are various levels of accommodation from 2 to 8 people according to budget.
VIP Services include:
- daily breakfast and made-up beds on arrival
- Home Cinema with DVD-player
- private sauna
- widescreen TV
- washing machine.

Right now, Center Parcs has some tempting offers:

- €125 discount also applies to Krokusvakantie (February half-term school break)

- 5% off Easter holiday

- up to 35% discount for early bookers

- 5% online booking discount

- 15% discount if anyone in the party is older than 55 of there is a young family.

There is also up to 50% for stays before 6 April as long as you book before 28 February. Use promocode JM786.

Erperheide or De Vossemeren in Belgium: book with 35% discount
One of the Belgian Center Parcs has an underwater aquarium. You wear a snorkel mask and swim past the huge fish tanks along both sides. The children loved it.

Visit European Travel blog and EuroTravel the one-stop site for travel to and within Europe.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Snow in Limburg 7 January 2009

The temperature at 9am was -13ºC but reached -4ºC by late afternoon.

I took these photos in Bolderberg, Limburg.

Snow-covered chairs outside the Hotel Savarin, Bolderberg:

't Bolderke is warm and cosy inside:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Snow in Limburg 6 January 2009

The temperature at 8.30 this morning was -12ºC as you can see from my car's dashboard:

Snowflakes on the car window this morning:

Our road looks like a ski-ing piste!

My son made a giant snowball:

Snow in Bolderberg, Limburg 5 January 2009

We woke up to fresh snow in Bolderberg, Limburg.

The lakes were completely frozen and people had been skating and sledging on them over the weekend.

The Hotel Savarin in Bolderberg:

People waiting at the bus stop:

The school in Bolderberg:

The nativity scene outside the church in Bolderberg had snow on Jesus' manger!

Snow and Frozen Lakes in Limburg 3/4 January 2009

The lakes froze over in Bolderberg, Heusden-Zolder, Limburg for the first time in many years so people were able to enjoy walking, skating and sledging on the ice.

The animals and birds in Domein Bovy also felt the cold: