You may have noticed that things have changed here on CheeseWeb, and no I’m not just talking about the new look (although I hope you like it as much as I do.) Over the past 5 years (!?!), CheeseWeb has been on-line, it has evolved and changed dramatically. It’s hard to believe that this all just started as an extended vacation letter to family and friends back home.
When we arrived in Belgium, it was where I vented my fears and frustrations at being a new expat. It was also where I shared my successes and new discoveries. Now that we’ve been in Belgium for over 4 years, and in the centre of Brussels for over a year, I see that CheeseWeb is evolving again.
My goals for CheeseWeb version 3.0 are actually inspired by a random German tourist. My sister-in law and I were strolling through the Galleries St Hubert, probably trying to avoid the February rain, when we overheard a plump, hairy German man exclaim, “There is nothing to do in this stupid city.” We laughed, because we were actually thinking exactly the same thing.
Her visit was several months before we moved into Brussels, and at the time, my knowledge of the city was still pretty limited. I was frustrated because I knew there had to be some interesting places to take Kate and her friends, but I just didn’t know them.
My biggest complaint about Belgium (ok, second biggest after the driving situation) is information for things like travel and tourism are scattered at best. Even though Belgium is a tiny place geographically, the tourism departments are split along the language border. That means that Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels all have separate tourism offices, websites and publications.
The second issue is language (which is always THE issue in Belgium). Even though a tourism office is targeting, you know, tourists… the information available is often only in Dutch and/or French. And yes, I know they are the official languages of the country (where is the German info then?) but if the information is targeted at tourists, shouldn’t it be in a language the majority of them understand?
So my mission with CheeseWeb 3.0 is simple (ha!) I want to compile a resource, in English, of interesting sites, restaurants, shops and things to do that is not divided by language or political borders.
That’s where you come in. First of all, I need to know what you are interested in reading about: historic sites, parks, shops, restaurants, all of the above or something else entirely. Then I need you to recommend your favourite places, because, let’s be honest, I’m still discovering this country every day and I can’t do it alone. Do you have a favourite bakery? A shop that stocks something unique? Maybe a quiet park where you like to read on a sunny day? Let me know in the comments.
In addition to tourism, I’d like to build up more resources for expats. Despite our high concentration in Belgium, the availability of information in English is still pretty lacking. Andrew and I got through it all mostly by trial and error (mostly error), which is not something I would recommend. If I can save a few people some of the stress and headaches we dealt with, my mission will be a success.
So does this mean that CheeseWeb will no longer be about me and my hobbies and interests – heck no! You’ve seen the categories. You aren’t rid of my opinions that easily. I’ll still be blogging about photography, travel, food and whatever takes my fancy. That’s the cool thing about being a blogger.
With your assistance, I hope CheeseWeb will help some of the next generation of expats and travellers in Belgium find help, advice and something to do, just a little bit quicker than I did.