A day in Antwerp with the City Card

After moving to Antwerp six months ago, and coming here for many years, I really wanted to discover some of the city's hidden gems, its lesser known places most people don't get to see. And to do so, I got myself a City Card! It gives you free entry in 17 museums and 4 historical churches, as well as free use of public transport. The perfect bargain to discover Antwerp's cultural patrimony that goes far beyond the Rubens House and the Cathedral of Our Lady. Follow me!

A weekend in Brussels • The city center

One of my greatest joys is being a tourist in my own country. And this city guide is a fine example of that since I'm taking you to the city center of the Belgian capital! Brussels has many different facets and I'm happy to introduce to you some of the best it has to offer. Expect some of my favorite shopping venues, the most famous sights of the city and an exceptional place to stay in the middle of it all. Because being a tourist is actually the best way to approach any place, since it means doing so with a curious mind and innocent eyes!

A weekend in Blankenberge

With my fascination for mermaids and beaches, I feel very much drawn to the seaside. And when you're talking about the Belgian coast, Blankenberge quickly comes to mind, as it is our second biggest seaside resort. The city has a beautiful heritage from its Belle Époque glory (which I'm very sensitive to) but that's not the only thing it has to offer. There really is something for everyone in Blankenberge, whether it is culture, shopping, gastronomy or beach bars! Since the city is rather small, there is no pressure and you can easily go from one point to another by foot. And with its 'Happy to sea you' spirit, the city is known to be warm and welcoming!

A day in Antwerp • Berchem & Zurenborg

As many of you know, I recently moved to Antwerp, Berchem more precisely. Naturally I developed a curiosity for my new neighborhood and the one directly adjacent to it, Zurenborg. And boy, they did not disappoint! This part of Antwerp is considered by some to be the most beautiful of Antwerp for one particular reason: its Belle Époque grandeur! The neighborhood's quiet streets are packed with gorgeous architecture which make it the perfect decor for an afternoon stroll.

Brunch & Culture • La Cité Miroir

Remember when I told you about the sumptuous Art Deco swimming pool in Roubaix that was turned into a museum? I pleasantly discovered Liège is home to a similar cultural project! I'm a big fan of historic places that are given a new purpose, especially when it is done with great respect for the building's original state and beauty. As such, let me guide you through 'La Cité Miroir', a place that will surely satisfy your hunger for inspiration, in the same way 'Le Petit Pressoir' will satisfy your hunger for veggie food.

Brunch & Culture • Fotomuseum Antwerp

I've been taking photographs for many years now. When I was younger, I used to be obsessed with them because they allow you to freeze the moment, to delude time and capture an image that is per definition fleeting. Nowadays photography has become one of my mediums of expression. For all these reasons, it is only natural I became curious about the Museum of Photography in Antwerp. Combined with a picture-perfect meal, a visit to the FOMU is my kind of 'Brunch & Culture' day!

Winter in Ostend

I've been going to Ostend in summer for several years now, but this year I got to rediscover the city as a winter destination. As temperatures drop, the city at the seaside transforms into a pre-Christmas haven, complete with ice skating rink and hundreds of light decorations. And since Ostend is also all about shopping, a trip in December is the perfect occasion to find all your Christmas presents while enjoying the winter magic. So grab your coat and your gloves and follow me!

A day in Tournai

With 'Gerrit and the City' I want to take you beyond the obvious, inspire you to go places other than the ones you already know. Charming Tournai fits right into that frame. With a history of more than 2,000 years, it is one of the oldest cities of Belgium. Despite its relatively small size, it has an exceptional patrimony, as testified by its two buildings that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Next to that, the city has seen the emergence of new, hip places in recent years, meaning you can get a taste of both past and present when going there!

A weekend in Ghent

Ghent can be found in the top of my list of favorite cities and the reason why is fairly obvious: it has everything! Not only is it one of the most beautiful Flemish cities thanks to its rich history and architectural patrimony, at the same time it is incredibly modern and dynamic. There is no other place in Belgium where contemporary design, art, fashion, gastronomy and music blend so perfectly with the past. Add a human scale and a veggie predilection to that and you get why I'm hooked on this city.

A weekend in Sint-Truiden

I guess Limburg is best known for its green sceneries and warm people. But there's so much more to this region! Take Sint-Truiden for instance. Although the city is small, it holds many surprises for its visitors: beautiful biking trails, fruit cultures, lively markets and many monuments. Enough to fill an entire weekend with pleasure and discoveries. And of course, I treat you on a little fashion and a lot of fabulous food along the way.

A weekend in Meetjesland

By now you all know I'm a real city person. But, every now and then it is a real delight to go back to nature to unwind, far from the city hustle. I recently discovered a region called 'Meetjesland' in the North of Ghent which is just right for that. Beautiful fields and large forests make it the most relaxing getaway. And since this land is surprisingly flat, it is perfect to be explored by bike!

A day in Knokke

For the equivalent of Saint-Tropez at the Belgian coast, you have to be in Knokke, our most luxurious seaside resort famous for its rich villas and high-end boutiques. In the summertime, the city really comes to life through fashion, art and design, making it one of the best places to go to (like so many people from Antwerp do). Grab a rental bike and follow me for a fabulous day of sea, style and sun!

A day in Antwerp • Along the Scheldt

One of the things I hope to achieve with my blog is to inspire people to go beyond the mainstream places and discover alternative parts of town. For instance Antwerp is about so much more than shopping on the Meir! Wandering from South to Central Antwerp alongside the river Scheldt, you'll discover some of the most beautiful relics of the city's past. Doing a little vintage shopping 'en passant' is therefore only fitting.

A weekend in 'Japanese' Hasselt

Kimono's, geisha's, zen gardens... No one can deny Japan has something fascinating. Luckily you don't need to fly 9.000 km to get a taste of the Land of the Rising Sun. The beautiful city of Hasselt not only offers culture, gastronomy and fashion, it also has many assets with a Japanese touch and 2017 is the most perfect year to experience all of it. To celebrate the 25th birthday of the Japanese Garden in Hasselt, they organize the Yokoso Festival (Japanese for 'welcome') with lots of special events. High time to plan a 48h city trip to the Belgian Capital of Taste!

A day in Waterloo

Did you know there are over 100 places in the world called Waterloo? And they all got their name from the Belgian location where Napoleon was defeated in 1815. The memorial dedicated to the historical battle that would change Europe's destiny is reason enough to visit this city in the Walloon Brabant, but there's more to it. Its commercial center is really pleasant and home to a few great spots that I gladly share with you. Follow me!

Royal Greenhouses of Laeken

I guess it's very clear by now I have a thing for tropical plants and architecture. So what if I told you there is a place where these two loves come together in the most splendid way? The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken form a magnificent complex of glass and steel and house some true botanical gems. This Belgian landmark is only open for 3 weeks a year for people who aren't royals so take out those agendas and write this down.

Hallerbos

Every year in April, the magic of spring turns the Hallerbos into an enchanted place. Countless wild bluebell hyacinths bloom to form a purple blue carpet that reaches as far as the eye can see. The sight of it is breathtaking and as such it is considered as one of the most beautiful natural phenomenons of Europe. This fairy tale scenery only lasts for a few weeks so hurry over there!

A day in Mons

The Hainaut province can use a little P.R. to enhance its image, so I guess it was a great bargain Mons was picked as European capital of culture in 2015! The truth is this small city definitely has some cultural assets and plenty of history. Its traffic-free center is the perfect backdrop for a chill day doing some shopping, some eating and a little sightseeing. You might bump into a few marginal people on the street, but you'll discover that the 'Montois' are really nice people!

Plantentuin Meise

As nature comes back to life, so does my obsession with flowers. It is usually around this time of the year that I go back to the 'Plantentuin Meise' located just outside of Brussels. With its 18 000 plant species, Belgium's botanical garden is one of world class. It lies on the Bouchout Domain that is 94 hectares big so you can easily spend an entire day walking the trails, soaking up the floral fragrances and relaxing next to the water. The perfect plan on a sunny Sunday if you ask me!

A day in Brussels • Dansaert

A Brussels' neighborhood that I love but where I don't spend enough time (which is probably for the best for my finances) is Dansaert! The most Flemish part of Brussels' is all about fashion of the unique, alternative kind. This area is the epicenter of the Brussels' fashion scene and it's packed with unconventional shops and Belgian designs. Plus there are plenty of cool spots to hang out with a drink. This way fashionistas!