December 31, 2015

Best wishes for 2016!

The Belgian coast has always been my favorite place of escape from every day life.
On the last day of this unique year, I want to conclude with an image of the magnificent North Sea and wish all of you happiness, peace and the very best for 2016.

December 30, 2015

Baracca, new restaurant in Leuven

 "Baracca," a two month old restaurant in Leuven, offers a relaxed but stimulating and interesting dining experience with fresh, natural flavoured food that can be shared if you so wish. It is  inspired by the savoury simplicity of Italian cuisine. First time visitors receive a warm welcome and an enthusiastic explanation of what's cooking from appealing Pasquale Amoruso (Kiko) and lovely Anastasia Mironenko (Ana). The atmosphere when I was there was warm, engaging and pleasantly chaotic, and the food was delicious -- so much so that we ordered seconds of our favourites.
"Baracca wants to relive the authentic spirit and conviviality of homecoming by serving homemade woodoven pizzas that are best enjoyed in good company."
A few years ago I wrote about Franco, chef at Pepenero, a restaurant in Leuven at two steps from Baracca: 
After a chat with Kiko and Ana, I learned that Franco is Kiko's  dad. The world is small but there is something there that is in the genes ...
I hope they will keep up the excellent job and wish them great success. I will certainly be back there soon to share the experience with family and friends.

Muntstraat 29
3000 Leuven
phone 016/902560 

December 29, 2015

Soup and ice skating

Which do you prefer: trying out your ice skating skills at Winter Wonders on Place de la Monnaie, home of the Opera, or sipping a cup of soup at the nearby stalls? Until January 3.

December 28, 2015

't Werfje in Zeebrugge

Boy, were we disappointed to find '' 't Werfje" closed. In this tiny unpretentious  café seafood on the Terrace is a real treat when weather permits. Their shrimp croquettes and fish soup are "world" famous at the Belgian coast.
Hopefully the renovation project manages to keep the unique atmosphere and spirit intact.
See you there from April next year onwards.

December 26, 2015

Where is everyone?

 It is the day after Christmas and all through the streets not a creature is stirring.......
free adaptation from 'Twas the night before Christmas" also known as  "A visit from St Nicholas" written in 1822 
by Clement Clarke Moore

December 25, 2015

Also this is Christmas

                  Church Sainte Croix, Ixelles, Place Flagey

December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas

                          May your Christmas be warm and peaceful.

December 22, 2015

Geoffrey of Bouillon and Coudenberg

 Royal Square with the Statue Geoffrey of Bouillon in front of the church Saint Jacques sur Coudenberg.
 Geoffrey was a medieval Frankish knight and one of the leaders of the First Crusade from 1096 until his death in 1100.

December 21, 2015

A wedding and a selfie

A wedding at the Ixelles town hall.
But whose wedding? 

December 20, 2015

Amélie Nothomb

Yesterday evening I had the pleasure to see and hear the fascinating Belgian author Amélie Nothomb at Flagey in an interview by Jacques De Decker and Adrienne Nizet. 
It was a very entertaining and stimulating discussion.

December 07, 2015

December 05, 2015

Put your shoes at the chimney tonight, it is time.

"I knew that when we reached home after Midnight Mass I should find my shoes in the chimney-corner, filled with presents, just as when I was a little child . . . Papa, too, liked to watch my enjoyment and hear my cries of delight at each fresh surprise that came from the magic shoes, and his pleasure added to mine.”  ~ St. Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul.

December 03, 2015

December 01, 2015


Getting back to business /  'normal', or almost ...?

November 25, 2015

Winners of the prize for Belgian heritage abroad

 "The historical complex of Österbybruk (Sweden): The chosen location is a "Vallonbruk", a social and economic building complex surrounding a forge. Österbybruk is one of the most beautiful examples of the remains of the presence and input of Walloon immigrants in Sweden in the 17th century. More than 1.200 families emigrated in that era to Sweden, where the expertise of our master blacksmiths was highly sought after. They helped to launch the Swedish iron and metal industry. The number of their descendants is estimated today between 500.000 and 1 million people.

Stained-glass window in the Saint Catherine of Alexandria church in Bethlehem (Palestinian territories): The stained-glass window was donated by Belgium in 1926 and completely restored in 2004 by atelier Mestdagh in Ghent. The Belgian gift is highly representative of the historical and religious ties between Belgium and the Holy Land throughout the centuries and attests to the remarkable talents of our glass artists. The stained-glass window can be viewed worldwide during the yearly midnight mass in Bethlehem on 24 December and can be permanently visited by all tourists and visitors of the church.

The Sacred Heart Cathedral in Lahore (Pakistan): The roots of the Sacred Heart Cathedral lie in the historical presence of the Belgian Capuchins in Pakistan. Monseigneur Godefroid Pelckmans (bishop of Lahore, 1893-1904) commissioned the Antwerp architect Dubbeleere to build a cathedral using Belgian support and materials. Construction of the cathedral was completed in 1907. In 2007 the cathedral’s hundredth birthday was celebrated. The Pakistani Government released a special stamp with the image of the cathedral and Pope Benedictus XVI sent a congratulatory telegram. In the following year, 2008, the cathedral was damaged by a heavy bomb attack on a government building nearby. The stained-glass windows were particularly damaged by the impact of the explosion. In the meantime they have been restored in Belgium.

The Prize for Belgian heritage abroad (....) does not only award the most outstanding local conservation initiatives, but is also meant to be an indirect incentive for better long-term conservation. 
From the proposals sent in by Belgian embassies all over the world, the jury of experts chose 3 winners:2015 is the first year that the prize is being awarded. There is no monetary compensation attached to the prize. The winners are the local governments or private institutions responsible for the protection of the particular heritage site. Every winner will also be honoured by the local Belgian Embassy. The criteria for choosing the winners included: size and visibility of the heritage site, the historical, art-historic, economic and cultural significance of the heritage site, its importance for the bilateral relations and the possibilities of the winner to promote the prize locally in order to create public interest".

Source: Belgian Public Federal Service of Foreign Affairs

November 22, 2015


I will let these flags at the University of Brussels speak for themselves.

November 11, 2015

November 11

Remembering what happened almost 100 years ago - the end of the Great War

November 09, 2015

Lonesome, Silent and Colorful

This man's un-Belgian look has me still wondering where he is from and what he was doing here wandering the streets of Brussels by himself.  While he was happy to have his photo taken, he was even happier to get rid of me without speaking - he practically ran away.