May 30, 2015


Groot Vlaenderen

Pre- and after dinner bar in Bruges

May 27, 2015

Global market

It's Wednesday or Market day. This week, featuring Spanish and French produce....and the  locals to enjoy it. 

May 25, 2015

Relay of Life at Stone Manor

The ladies of Relay for Life welcomed shoppers at Stone Manor in Everberg, located between Brussels and Leuven, holding a fund raising for the fight against cancer.
Stone Manor is a great place for groceries and British products, a deli, a fresh baked goods sector, gift cards, toys, Sunday papers, an inviting tea room, etc.
Even if you are not in the market for British products, it is well worth a visit - the countryside is stunning! 

May 21, 2015

Garage or museum?

At a few steps from Brussels' Kaaitheater from the previous post, is located another landmark, the Citroen garage.  
Will it or will it not become a new museum for contemporary art?
According to Arts Flanders, the new museum will open in 2017.
According to others, there is no room for such extravaganza in these times of budgetary restrictions.
Lots of suggestions for this marvellous large space have been circulating but has a decision been taken ???

May 19, 2015

From Porto to Brussels' Kaaitheater

Talking about Belgium to people abroad and in particular to these ladies in Porto last weekend,  I am often pleasantly surprised because so many rave about Brussels' cultural scene. 
The Kaaitheater for instance, built around 1930 in a style somewhere between art Deco and Modernism, located near Sainctelette,  presents theatre, dance, performance art and concerts

May 18, 2015

A Belgian tram in Porto?

 I just returned from a short holiday to Porto, where I was told that this tram was 'Made in Belgium'. I have my doubts and was not been able to check the validity of the statement. Maybe one of you knows?
As far as recommendations go, however, I do not hesitate for a second: Jimao Tapas e Vinhos is a jewel of a restaurant! If you are planning a visit to Porto, I warmly recommend you reserve a table. It is unique and exquisite! 

Jimão Tapas e Vinhos

May 13, 2015

Wednesday: Brussels Chatlelain market time

If you are attracted to the myriad smells, colours and sounds of city life, if you enjoy hearing all sorts of languages and accents, if you need fresh vegetables or any other kind of typical or exotic food or drink, the place to be in Brussels on Wednesdays is the weekly market at Place du Châtelain. I particularly enjoy observing what is going on at the wine stalls, the bars, the terraces and the stand of the Amnesty Intenational representatives and tasting the delicious plantain offered to me by the lady from Burkina Faso.

May 11, 2015

Top Things-To-Do-In-Brussels by WOW Travel

             text and pictures by Peter at WoW Travel.

I am grateful to Peter from WOW travel for sharing his enthusiasm and article about Brussels with TiB. 
Thank  you,  Peter! 

"When people think of Brussels, they think mainly three things: the headquarters of the European Union, waffles and chocolates. However, Brussels has lots to offer and many hidden secrets to be discovered. Did you know that they are home to the oldest shopping centers in Europe? Did you know that they have changed of main language several times? Originally, Brussels was entirely Dutch-speaking but they changed to French in the 18th century. Who does not love french fries? Well, Belgians claim to have invented them and in fact there is a french fries kiosk in almost every corner. What about Beer? Belgians consume in average 150 liters of beer per person per year!
This city went from being a 10th-century fortress town to a city with 1.2 million inhabitants and capital of Europe. WOW Travel visited this European metropolis and put together its The Top 12 Things To Do In Brussels to help you save time and enjoy more. Brussels is amazing,  but do not take our word for it, go visit it now.
Manneken Pis – This popular statue can be easily found at the junction of Rue de l’Étuve/Stoofstraat and Rue du Chêne/Eikstraat. If you see a group of tourist taking lots of selfies somewhere near that intersection then follow the crowd. The French speaking Belgians call it ” le petit julien” but it is nothing more than a naked tiny boy urinating into a fountain’s basin. It is a 61 cm tall bronze statue made in 1619 by Brussels sculptor Hieronimus Duquesnoy the Elder. The statue is dressed in costume several times each week and many of them can be viewed in a permanent exhibition inside the City Museum......"

Manneken Pis, Brussels - by Enrique Fernández - quique_fs:Flickr

Read more here:

The article concludes as follows:
  • There are more than 800 brands of beer on sale in Brussels.
  • Praline chocolates were invented by Jean Neuhaus in Brussels in 1912. Today, Belgium is the world’s number one exporter of chocolate, with 220,000 tonnes of chocolate produced per year
  • Brussels is home to the largest Freemason temple in Europe – The Great Temple at 79, Rue de Laeken.
  • Visit the flea market at Place du jeu de Balle – It is bizarre but fun for a good stroll.
  • For cheap and tasty local food visit Clemenceau – One of the noisiest and most hectic food markets in the city Another cool market.
  • Spend one night at Ixelles neighborhood – It is a stylish area with students and lot of bars.
  • Enjoy a great view of the city from the top of the Musical Instruments Museum (MIM) is one of the most beautiful art nouveau buildings in Brussels.
  • Favorite Museums:
    • The Jewish Museum of Belgium has 750 objects of judaica, 1,250 works of art and an archive of 20,000 photographs, 5,000 posters and other artifacts. It also has six thematic libraries containing a total of 25,000 works and editions, including works inYiddish and Hebrew, works of Jewish artists, and genealogies. Judaism has a long history in Belgium, from the 1st century CE until today.
  • Favorite Bars:
    • Moeder Lambic Fontainas – offers 40 beers on tap and a rotating list of ‘guest’ beer from around Belgium and the world.
    • Oeno TK – A true Brussels institution, with a varied selection of wines and sparkling wines.
    • Bier Circus – One of the most beautiful and noble place for Belgian beers lovers. The cellar is full of raw, more or less rare, but more or less old, from large and small breweries.
  • Favorite Restaurants:
    • Le Pigeon Noir – Warm and welcoming village bistro located in the upscale residential neighborhood of Uccle
    • Chez Leon – Clean, efficient, well-prepared and reasonably priced Belgian specialities, including a number of moules et frites preparations. If you have never had moules frites before, this is the place.
    • La Quincaillerie – Serves one of the best fish in the city,  located in a former old ironmonger’s shop.
    • In’t Spinnekopke – Cozy bar-restaurant in an 18th-century building with wood paneling, Flemish cuisine & Belgian beers.
    • ComoComo – Trendy, modern Mediterranean bar-restaurant with great food, nice atmosphere.
    • Umamido – a Japanese noodle bar focused on ramen noodles" see article here

May 10, 2015

A very happy Mothers Day!

I hope that all the mothers will be or have been spoiled with breakfast in bed this morning. My sons took a different approach and brought this plant to me, when I was barely awake. Super guys they are! 

May 05, 2015

Palace and Japanese tower in Brussels

                                thank you, Eva, for the pictures.
On the way to the Royal Greenhouses, you get a glimpse of the Japanese Tower, a pagoda, inspired by a construction at the Paris Exposition of 1900. King Leopold II saw it and asked its architect Alexandre Marcel to build him a similar one in Laeken.

May 03, 2015

Royal Greenhouses

According to a century old tradition, the  Royal Greenhouses in Laeken  are open to the public in spring and this Sunday afternoon TiB's personal reporter talked a Japanese tourist into taking his picture for the blog.
"During the 19th century, progress in construction techniques, especially the use of metal and glass as construction materials, made a new type of building possible: the greenhouse. 
In 1873, architect Alphonse Balat designed for King Leopold II a complex of greenhouses which complement the castle of Laeken, built in the classical style. The complex has the appearance of a glass city set in an undulating landscape.
The monumental pavilions, glass cupolas, wide arcades that cross the site like covered streets, are much more than an anecdote on the architectural applications of iron and glass or on little greenhouses of exotic plants. What the Royal Greenhouses express concerns architecture and, specifically, a major construction programme: the "Ideal Glass Palace".
....they are a reminder that they inspired the new Belgian architecture of the day, and their influence spread, with Art Nouveau, throughout the world;
The present-day plant collection at the Greenhouses in Laeken is valuable from three viewpoints. First of all, some of the plants belonging to Leopold II's original collections still exist. Furthermore, the current collections still respect the spirit that prevailed when the original collections were planted. Finally, the Royal Greenhouses still contain an enormous number of rare and valuable plants."

May 01, 2015

Happy holiday

Whether you celebrate Labor day or not, most of us here in Belgium have the day off from work. Enjoy!
More here: