Grapes for Wine

Andrew and I love wine – Red, white, pink, bubbles or none. Like many North American expats in Europe, a whole new tasty world was revealed, when we discovered how affordable good wines are in Belgium.

While it’s easy to pick up a decent tipple at the local grocery store, sometimes it’s nice to pop the cork on a bottle of something extra special. There are a few wine shops in Brussels where we’ve received great service and bought some very, very nice wines. I thought I’d share my favourites with you.

Read more
Martin's Patershof Hotel in a former Church

Martin’s Patershof Hotel in a former Church

This year for Valentine’s Day, Andrew surprised me with a romantic getaway. It wasn’t to a spa. Nor was it to a cosy cottage in the countryside. For Valentine’s Day this year, we went to Mechelen and stayed overnight in a church.

You’re probably thinking, sleeping in a church doesn’t sound very romantic it all. That was my first thought when Andrew sprung his surprise on me. The church in question is, these days, known as the Martin’s Patershof Hotel. And I assure you, it was a very romantic getaway indeed.

Read more
The Cistercian Church at Abbey Villers

The Cistercian Church at Abbey Villers

Andrew and I are always on the look-out for beautiful day-trips from Brussels. For Andrew, highlights must include winding roads and ruins to explore. For me, the criteria are picturesque scenes to photograph and a garden to stroll through. At Villers Abbey (abbaye de Villers in French), in Villers-la-Ville, we found everything we were both looking for.

Read more
Europe's Largest Rose Garden, Coloma Garden in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, Belgium

This time of year, when Belgium’s only colours are shades of grey, I can’t help but dream of the bright spring and summer days. I spend the winter months catching up on last year’s travels and planning for a burst of garden photography in spring.

Read more
Palace Royal, Brussels, Belgium

The current Palace Royal, Brussels, and entrance to the Coudenberg

Beneath one of its busiest squares, Brussels has a secret. As tourists dodge traffic and trams on Place Royal, darting between the Magritte Museum and the Bozar, most of them are unaware that right beneath their feet is a hidden palace – Coudenberg, the former palace of Brussels.

Once upon a time, in the middle ages, a grand palace overlooked the city of Brussels, from Coudenberg hill. These days, a new palace (and a handful of museums) sits in its place. However, the remains of Coudenberg Palace and Rue Isabelle, an ancient thoroughfare , still exist – underground.

Read more
Dod Fashion

I’ve never been one of those girls who lives to shop, but I must confess, the sight of an amazing bargain makes my eyes light up like the Las Vegas Strip. So when I discovered a bargain-hunter’s mecca, not 4 blocks from my house, I got a little bit giddy. If you like brand name fashion and don’t like spending a lot of money, you’re going to love Dod.

You’d be forgiven for passing right by the original Dod store on chaussée de Louvain. It looks a bit run-down and cluttered like the other shops near-by, selling low-quality goods. But if you watch the doors for a moment, you’ll see a steady stream of smiling women emerging, loaded down by bulging carrier bags filled with their bargain finds.

Read more

Chilling at the spa – image by duchessa

It’s been blistering hot in Brussels for the past week or so. Although I love to see the sun, after melting in my 30+ degree living-room, I was ready to cool off. Fighting for a square inch of sand on the Belgian coast didn’t appeal and we’ve decided not to renew our gym membership, so the pool was out. Wondering where I could escape the heat on Saturday, I realised we hadn’t been to a Belgian spa in over a year.

Read more

A beautiful pink box of Wittamer Chocolates

Every good chocoholic knows Belgian chocolate is the best in the world. But while tourists flock to the shops selling chocolate Manneken Pis statues around Grand Place, locals and in-the-know travelers head to Brussels’ chocolate Mecca – Grand Sablon.

Grand Sablon (Grote Zavel in Dutch) is a small square (a triangle actually) with the beautiful Notre Dame de Sablon church at its head. Lining the streets are cafes, bars, restaurants and shops – most notably the best selection of chocolate shops in Brussels.

Here’s my rundown of the chocolate shops of Sablon.

Read more
Go top