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Travel Beau

for the discerning traveller Spring 2019

Flanders-

Flat out in Flanders

Sail of the

Century

Island-hopping in Croatia

Cuba-

No party blockades here


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Welcome

rum of course so not to be in a permanent state of

Welcome to Beau Travel Autumn 2018

intoxication.

edition, I can’t believe I’ve just said that

how the year has flown past, next I’ll be saying how young Doctors and policemen look nowadays, oh

Simon Walton reflects that although the spotlight in

nowadays in the same sentence, time to book the

the sacrifices will never be forgotten, and visitors

2018 marking the centenary is coming to an end,

god I’m getting old (using time flying and

will always be welcome at this historic part of

Botox).

Flanders.

Nigel Whitaker discovers the perfect island nation, and why it’s the perfect pearl necklace of a

He also delves into the wide and varied activities

Dubrovnik “as the pearl of the Adriatic”.

include Hasselt famous for flavoured gin,

and sites across the whole of Flanders, these

Country, it’s no surprise Lord Byron described

Bierkasteel the most modern brewery in Europe and Brugge for Choco-Story a history demonstration

In addition to the outstanding beauty, he finds out

and tasting of chocolate (there seems to be a

the wine isn’t bad either and uses it to wash down

theme emerging here, no reservations about being

mounds of local produce, almonds, cherries,

in a permanent state of intoxicated gluttony here)

sheep’s cheese and crusty bread, delicious, he then

but seriously there are some heavyweight museums

goes clubbing, really!

and galleries here, housing the works from some of the greatest artists that have ever lived, including

Michael Cranmer visits Cuba courtesy of the Cuban

Peter Paul Rubens.

government, he explains that it was a little

Julie

controlled, however even with that, he still found Cuba one of the most fascinating countries he’s ever visited. Alongside his discoveries, he was

mindful not to overdo it on the local liquor Cuban 3


Contents Features

Wish you were here p6 Far far foriegn fields

Cuba p14

Cubans love to party, Mojitos, Daiquiri or Cuba Libre anyone? Michael Cranmer explains why president Trump didn’t spoil the party.

Dream destination Croatia p34

Island hopping and heritage seeking in the all-singing, all-dancing new party destination. Culture or clubbing, your choice.

Spotlight on... Flanders p44

Gin, beer, chocolate and diamonds, what more could anyone want? Julie Callaghan: Editor-in-Chief Tel: 0121 445 6961 julie@beautravelmagazine.com Contributors: Simon Walton Tim Maguire, Michael Cranmer: Contributing Editor Tel: 07855 307 556 Sales Director: Hugh Cairns Sales: Emma Middleton, Belinda Ashley, Martin Greenwood Tel: 0121 445 6961 Design: Alexina Whittaker, Paul Hemsley Production: Laura Collins Beau Business Media Group Ltd Publishing House, Windrush, Ash Lane, Birmingham, B48 7TS Tel: 0121 445 6961 All Imags are: shutterstock.com Images copyright shutterstock.com and Beau Travel magazine is a digital publication with a controlled circulation freely available to qualifying applicants. Care is taken to ensure that the information contained within the magazine is accurate. However, the publisher cannot accept liability for errors or omissions, no matter how they arise. Readers are advised to get facts and statements confirmed by suppliers when making enquiries. The opinions of the author are not necessarily those as the publisher. All rights are reserved. No reproduction of any part of this magazine may be carried out without the consent of the publisher being obtained in the first instance.

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Wish you were here... Sydney Harbour Bridge At Dusk

The Aussies love their giant 'coathanger'., this grandiose construction spans the harbour at one of its narrowest points. The best way to experience the bridge is on foot, stairs climb up the bridge from both shores, leading to a footpath running the length of the eastern side. You can ascend the great arc on the wildly popular Bridge Climb, even we would feel like bursting into song, and we can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but neither could Jason Donovan either.


Wish you were here... would want to be beamed back from this. The sun briefly appears the through the hurrying clouds, and the grassland’s restrained greens and browns radiate. This vista reminds us of Star Trek, Glimpses of sunlight offer the landscape and sky a complexity you know, when they used to beam down a landing party onto that amplifies the impression of vast emptiness. a new planet, of course we all American outlaws Butch Cassidy knew that at least one of the and the Sundance Kid fled to unknown cast members was about to meet their maker, well to here, believing the world could never catch up with them, and be honest it couldn’t happen in a why wouldn’t they? more magnificent setting, who The Three Towers at Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile. View from Mirador de Las Torres.


Wish you were here...

Lake Tahoe This looks cold, I’m not sure if I would even test it with one toe in the water, but what a fantastic view, glistening with shades of blue and green too numerous to know where to begin, Lake Tahoe is the USA’s second-deepest lake. Driving around the lake’s mesmerising 72-mile scenic shoreline will

give you an opportunity to see all the different aspects in all its glory.The north shore is quiet and exclusive, the west shore, rugged and a little dated, the east shore, undeveloped, whilst the south shore, somewhat tawdry, with ageing motels and flashy casinos.


Wish you were here...


The imposing Monastery in Petra, Jordan This is unlike any monastic construction we have ever seen, it could have been carved almost yesterday, never mind over two thousand years ago, the carving looks so crisp, it blends so beautifully with the setting, but yet, from a little

distance as, if the wind started to blow, it would disappear into the surrounding sand.Fortunately, it looks as though this awe-inspiring historic monument will still be here in another two thousand years so that future generations can stare in wonder.


. Cuba Viva la Revoluciรณn!

Far far foriegn fields

by Michael Cranmer

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Beau Travel Magazine

Cuba is certainly one of the most fascinating countries I’ve ever visited. Still unswervingly communist after 50 years; stunning Caribbean beaches; lovely lashings of architecture unsullied by restoration; a health service to make our dear NHS hang its head in shame; such joyful racial integration as would cause Farageists apoplexy‌ the list goes on. 13


Far far foriegn fields

“

“

At school I clearly remember wondering if we were all going to die in a mushroom cloud.


Beau Travel Magazine

I first became aware of Cuba at the age of 15 years and 9 months. Dad’s Daily Express headline read ‘CUBA BLOCKADE’ and the world held its breath. At school I clearly remember wondering if we were all going to die in a mushroom cloud. It next entered my life a couple of years later when that iconic poster of Che Guevara jostled for bed-sit wall space with a psychedelic Jimi Hendrix, and a Bridget Riley monochrome mindbender (she was one of my tutors). The Che was de rigueur in those days even though in my politically-emptyart-student-head I had little or no idea who he was. But now I had no excuse for such ignorance. I was invited to visit as a guest of the Ministry of Tourism. A closer look at the itinerary told me several things - the trip would be tightly controlled; we would be taken to places which the government wanted to promote, like masstourism resorts and newly-refurbished towns, and there would be much speechifying to the gathered throng of hundreds of journalists and film crews from across the globe…which did not include the U.S.A.. The two countries are 103 miles apart. On a clear day you might see the coast of Florida (if the earth wasn’t curved. But you get my point) Almost all exports from the United States to Cuba have been embargoed since 1958. Obama was in the process of loosening this, when along came Trump. And guess what? He slung it out. Back to square one. But I fear I’m becoming too technical and bogged down in politics. What we want is fun, frolics, and festivity, with a few further facts when necessary.


Far far foriegn fields


Beau Travel Magazine


Far far foriegn fields

The average monthly wage is about £19 compared to the UK’s £2,30 crucial. (My guide, Gustavo, is a Professor of English whose salary is He earns more as a guide in tips) Give generously.


00. Tourist tips are s £262.

Beau Travel Magazine

Our first venue was Santa Clara, three hours from Havana, via the Cuban equivalent of the M6, the Autopista Nacional. Arrow-straight, built in the 70’s, it’s the spinal cord of the island. No central crash barrier, more potholes than a snooker table, and traffic…what traffic? I counted three minutes between cars as our coach chugged along at 50 mph. I jotted down impressions in my notebook: rainy season, clouds like the opening sequence of The Simpsons; bougainvillea; dry stone walls looking for all the world like a quiet road in Cornwall; mangrove swamps; sugar cane; scrawny bullocks dragging a primitive wooden plough through fertile soil; two men broadcasting seeds in a field; storks; and then the cars. Intermittently a 60 year old relic of Detroit would loom into view, a Chevrolet, a Fairlane, a Cadillac, brightly coloured metal ghosts caught like butterflies in a collector’s display case. Santa Clara is the emotional heart of postrevolution Cuba, where the final decisive battle between the rebels, led in separate columns by Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos, attacked the city. Che destroyed the tactically-vital railway using a bulldozer after which the corrupt CIA/Mafia-backed Batista regime government troops fled. Within twelve hours Batista had quit Cuba. The rest, as they say…etc., etc.. The ‘dozer and train are preserved, with, nearby, a huge mausoleum to Che and sixteen of his fellow combatants killed in 1967 during the Bolivia campaign. This deeply moving shrine is cared for by the residents of Santa Clara and is a place of pilgrimage for old and young. He is held in nearreligious esteem. Each day before lessons schoolchildren salute and pledge “We will live like Che”. So, after our valuable history lesson, time to relax. This meant a journey to the north central coast and the island of Cayo Santa Maria, linked by a new 21


Far far foriegn fields


Beau Travel Magazine


Beau Travel Magazine

Far far foriegn fields 30 mile causeway to mother mainland and guarded by security gates. Why? Since 2001 the government, in the guise of the Gaviota Travel and Tourism group, has developed seventeen hotels with around ten thousand beds. That’s a lorra, lorra beds, as Cilla would have said. The hard currency that the guests bring is desperately needed and nothing must get in its way. So everything is tightly controlled to ensure that the money flows in, but isn’t smuggled out by Cuban workers. Staff, not allowed to live on the Cayo, are bussed in and out daily. Stringent searches are carried out for goods and uneaten food (of which there is a mountain) and tips, which are taxed by the government. A short economics lesson. (Stick with me. It’s fascinating) Cuba’s is a socialist society in which excellent health care is free, education is free (literacy 100%) transport is subsidised, housing subsidised, basic food (rice, beans, sugar, milk for under sevens, eggs, potatoes and bananas) free via rationing. Sounds good, but living for fifty years in such a regime also has downsides. The average monthly wage is about £19 compared to the UK’s £2,300. Tourist tips are crucial. (My guide, Gustavo, is a Professor of English whose salary is £262. He earns more as a guide in tips) Give generously. After checking in at my Hotel, the Dhawa, I was given a wristband, and locked my redundant cash and credit card in the safe…for the duration. With

temperatures in the high twenties the logical place to head for was the bar, and then pool; or the pool and then bar; or both. There’s a bar actually in the pool. Default local drinks are Mojitos, Daiquiris, Cuba Libres, and Piña Coladas, the common theme being? You’ve guessed it...Cuban rum. The nearby beach was truly spectacular; blindingly white sand edged with palms framing the aquamarine arc of the sea. But all-inclusive food and drink has its pitfalls. With bars and restaurants open all hours self-discipline must be exercised if one is to avoid a permanent state of intoxicated gluttony. After all, even a travel writer can have too much lobster and champagne. Us Journalist Junketeers moved on leaving happy holidaymakers, some more bronzed than a Bernard Matthews turkey, to their paradise. We moved on to Sagua La Grande where the rich colonial heritage has now been recognised by the government and designated as a National Monument. Restoration is nearly complete, focussed around the wide square, church, and the beautiful Art Nouveau Palacio Arenas hotel. The Cubans love any excuse to party and this is a perfect place to experience it. Cool arcades, trendy bars, and street food vendors, with salsa, flamenco, and rhumba wherever you wander. People had been given the day off to celebrate, which coincided… surprise, surprise… with the arrival of the World’s Press. 25


“


Far far foriegn fields


Beau Travel Magazine

Cuba’s past has many dark episodes, none darker than that of the slave trade. Various occupying nations, including Britain, imported African peoples as forced labour mostly in the production of sugar cane. The Museum of the Sugar Agroindustry in Caibarien includes a monument to those slaves. You arrive by steam train. Not the genteel whimsy of a British preserved line, with cream teas in the station café, and a jolly Fat Controller consulting his gold half-hunter watch for the arrival of the 12.33 down train. This one is a firebelching monster, as high as a house. No ‘elf n’safety here. Climb up; stand in the cab, nothing to stop you. Ours parted company with its wagons halfway into the journey. The driver ran back down the line, found a bit of bent wire (just joking) recoupled the trainload of international hacks to the loco, and off we puffed. What japes! I was restless to get away from the clutches of the government minders and relentless itinerary. I wanted to wander the streets of Havana. There’s only one way to see the city…from a convertible pink ‘57 Chevy, and only one place to start…the Riviera Hotel, onetime powerbase of the Mafia, headed by the notorious Meyer Lansky (‘Hyman Roth’, portrayed by Lee Strasberg, in The Godfather Part II) Here on the tenth floor, Lansky, the "Mob's Accountant", ran his $multi-million drugs, gambling and prostitution empire that crumbled overnight on 1 January 1959 when Castro led his rebels into the city and

set up anti-aircraft guns outside the hotel. The city provides seductive snapshots of times past: Medieval Spain. Spanish Colonial, Fifties American, Sixties Russian Brutalist. Much is crumbling. What we revere as ‘patina’ is probably someone’s home falling about their heads. But signs of restoration do show, like the incomparable Capitolio Nacional and a clutch of super-duper hotels. It’s a city to wander the backstreets of; to watch the sunset from the five mile long Malecón seafront. To marvel at the ingenuity of car owners keeping their beautiful pre-1959 clunkers running. To be a tourist and follow in Hemingway’s somewhat uncertain footsteps to La Bodeguita bar. He famously wrote “My mojito in La Bodeguita, my daiquiri in El Floridita.” Watch cigar smokers here and listen to whatever band is playing. Forget the Floridita. My mind wandered back to that bed-sit in Chelsea with the poster of Che on the wall. Fifty-one years on how does Cuba seem to me, still politically ignorant? What have Fidel, Che and their camaradas de armas achieved? A happy country where people live a hard, basic life, but with belief in ideals that have supported them through decades of difficulty. I may be naïve, but I consider that when Trump threw his toys out of the pram and hardened the economic blockade he did the Cuban people a great favour. For what you will not see in Cuba is McDonalds, 28


Far far foriegn fields


Beau Travel Magazine


Far far foriegn fields

Starbucks, Burger King and all those others that reduce towns and cities the world over to the lowest possible

Beau Travel Magazine

denominator of greed and Photography Michael Cranmer capitalism. Michael Cranmer was a guest of Cuba Tourist Board www.travel2cuba.co.uk 32


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Croatia Sittin’ on the dock of the bay… ...waiting for Nikola. His time-keeping wasn’t the best. Once absorbed in scouring the shore for shellfish on his aptly-named ‘Serena’ motor-dinghy he had no sense of time or urgency. He was even late for his daughter’s wedding, the locals had told me, so my expectations for him chugging up to the jetty at the appointed time were very low. I decided to relax in the bright early morning sunlight, turning my head to survey the calm Hvar seas, occasionally raising an eyelid to see eagles swooping across the bay.

by Nigel Whittaker


Short haul surprise...

Beau Travel Magazine

Nikola was to be my skipper for the day, to aid my exploration of the Pakleni islands, which are located off the south-west coast of the island of Hvar, Croatia. I was eager for him to arrive so we could get going, but, as they say, a watched pot never boils.

churches started to fade into the haze, I turned my head out to sea. Jerolim Island is looming fast. The scent of the pine trees drifts across the water and Nikola nods knowingly towards the nudist beach secreted within, and points the boat towards the neighbouring island of Marinkovac, The hot sirocco wind was motoring deftly between a gently blowing onshore, string of islands bringing with it a fine dust which are from Africa. This only encapsulated in a becomes apparent to me as crust of porous rock I run my tongue over my – a typical Croatian lips to feel its grittiness. landscape. Deciding this was, therefore, the time for liquid Nikola dropped refreshment, I begin to walk anchor at Marinkovac and towards to my hired car to leaving him alone to find my flask. Right on cue, consider life, the universe, Nikola appears so I grab and everything, I wander my shoulder bag and dash through woodland to its far down to meet him. shore in search of a beach, but only find a rock. At last, out on the water, I Croatia is an amazing area look back, savouring the of geological wonders – the warm breeze on my sunrocks on this island have kissed cheeks. Hvar Town been forced up into craggy looked idyllic. The wall of its points, encasing tiny pools Spanish Fortress swept between them. down the hillside towards the marina below. As the Luckily, the next island in outline of its the chain, Sveti Klement, rooftops houses a handful of beach and restaurants and a rare sandy bay which satisfies my search. I’m just considering dipping my feet into the crystal-clear water 36

when Nikola appears to tell me my table is ready for lunch. He once again slips away to his secret places, and I make my way to Toto’s, a lovely hillside terrace restaurant offering a grand total of two tables.

As is often the case with islands, the place has the feeling of a trip back in time. Many of Croatia’s islands are still familyowned and tend to offer individual hotels, shops and restaurants. The country still has a profusion of beautiful bays to develop and rundown hotels to be acquired or renovated. As we chug gently back to Hvar, I begin to understand how Nikola can be so mellow and placid in his outlook. A calmness falls over me and I experience complete satisfaction and harmony, watchin’ the tide roll away... 24


Short haul surprise...

Beau Travel Magazine

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Beau Travel Magazine My afternoon is spent walking along stony trails that take me into valleys of olive groves, below pine-forested mountains, with not a soul in sight. Stari Grad, Hvar's Old Town, exudes tranquillity found not only there, but throughout Croatia, from the most northerly island of Mutter to the Krkr National Park, further inland.

Cross, leading uphill to a pilgrim’s church with breathtaking sea views. Further on, I come across several more churches, built in the Middle Ages to protect against plagues and malaria. Strangely, the houses in Murter are carpeted with mangold, the leafy green chard that accompanies most grilled fish dishes in this part of the world.

Kornati is a national I explore Split’s Old park of rugged, barren Town’s sun-shaded islands two hours by back streets to find the sea from Murter’s market, which is shores – very well situated around the worth a trip, I hear, but Roman Diocletian's I instead I take a 10Palace. Once there, I mile circular walk from can’t resist the mounds Tisno, south of the of cherries, almonds, headland of Murtaric. sheep’s cheese and The paths which are giant loaves of crusty sandy and soft, lined bread. En route to the with wildflowers, lead island of Murter, bags me to deep, craggy loaded, I take the old bays. This sleepy pace coast road from Split, seems replicated passing villages everywhere, from coast scattered around to coast. Further on, in perfectly-formed bays the beautiful Greekof clear blue water, founded walled city of with barely another car Trogir, I wander on the road. Heading through cool cobbled out from Murter’s lanes, taking shade in main town, Tisno, I the extremely beautiful follow a dirt track lined cathedral. And just with Stations of the north of Trogir, I follow 38

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Short haul surprise... the Krkr River inland to the Krkr National Park. It’s not as well known as Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National Park, but once inside, I'm again encased in a timeless landscape of woods and water. Here, Croatia’s geology of porous limestone and dolomitic rock comes into its own. Water emerges and cascades over the rock from every quarter. It’s amazing to realise that the park was just a few miles from the front line during the war of the 1990s. Like so many places in Croatia, this is a landscape in which peace reigns. One less-known Croatian gem is its wine. I spend the early evening tasting at the Tomic Winery in Jelsa, on Hvar. It produces awardwinning vintages and offers tours of its atmospheric wine cellar. Here we are told about the genetic link between

Beau Travel Magazine America’s Zinfandel grape and Croatia’s Crljenak Kastelanski. The vine was introduced to North America in the 1920s and has since been claimed as something of an American creation. I thought it tasted better than anything to come out of America, but hey, it could well have been the intoxicating environment influencing me... At the end of my packed, albeit relaxing, break, I consider my final night’s entertainment. Hvar Island is home to ‘Carpe Diem’, the celebrity-studded hot-spot party destination. Although ‘the’ club to be seen in, with its steamy late-night cocktail image, I consider whether banging techno music would be a fitting close to my holiday. Well, I may as well give it a go!

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Short haul surprise... CONFIDENTIAL CR CROATI CROAT CROA CRO CO CON CONF CONFI CONFID CONFIDE CONFIDEN CONFIDENT CONFIDENTI CONFIDENTIA C CROATIA

Getting there... Look at Croatian Airlines, EasyJet, Wizz Air and Jet2 fly from the UK to Split. T he region is also served by Ryanair from East Midlands to Zadar.

wwvv.croatiaairIines.com wwvv.croatiaairIines.co w ww wwv wwvv wwvv. wwvv.c wwvv.cr wwvv.cro wwvv.croa wwvv.croat wwvv.croati wwvv.croatia wwvv.croatiaa wwvv.croatiaai wwvv.croatiaair wwvv.croatiaairI wwvv.croatiaairIi wwvv.croatiaairIin wwvv.croatiaairIine wwvv.croatiaairIines wwvv.croatiaairIines. wwvv.croatiaairIines.c www.easyjet.com www.easyjet.co www.easyjet www.easyjet. www.easyjet.c www.easy www.easyj w ww www www. www.e www.ea www.eas www.easyje www.ryanair.com www.ryanai www.ryanair www.ryanair. www.ryanair.c w ww www www. www.r www.ry www.rya www.ryan www.ryana www.ryanair.co www.wizzair.com www.wizz www.wizza w ww www www. www.w www.wi www.wiz www.wizzai www.wizzair www.wizzair. www.wizzair.c www.wizzair.co www.jet2.com ww w www www. www.j www.je www.jet www.jet2 www.jet2. www.jet2.c www.jet2.co

Average flight time: 2h 3Om

G Gett Getti Gettin Ge Get a ar aro arou aroun around around. around.. Getting around... Buses serve destinations along the coast but the region is much more easily explored by car or boat From Split’s marina, there are regular ferries to the Dalmatian islands, including Hvar, Brac, Vis and Korcula. Most are car ferries, operated by Jadrolinija, but there's also a fast ‘Krilo’ catamaran running from Hvar and Korcula.

Tickets can be bought on the day of travel at the kiosk on the quay Murter and Trogir are accessed by roadbridge from the mainland Boats to the Kornati Islands are weather dependent and

Beau Travel Magazine w ww www www. www.k www.ko www.kor www.korn www.korna www.kornat www.kornati. www.kornati www.kornati.h can be arranged via a hotel www.kornati.hr or private excursion from T Tr Tro Trog Trogi Trogir w ww www www. www.t www.tr www.tro www.trog www.trogi www.trogir www.trogir. www.trogir.o www.trogir.or www.trogir.org Trogir: www.trogir.org Tisno's marina. When to visit... Peak summer months (July and August) are hot, humid and crowded The sea is warmest in autumn.

K Kr Krk N Na Nat Nati Natio Nation Nationa P Pa Par Park Krka National Park: w ww www www. www.n www.np www.npk www.npkr www.npkrk www.npkrka www.npkrka. www.npkrka.h www.npkrka.hr

F Fu Fur Furt Furth Furthe i in inf info info. info.. Further info... S Se See w ww www www. www.c www.cr www.cro www.croa www.croat www.croati www.croatia www.croatia. www.croatia.h See: www.croatia.hr

Places to stay and to visit... For the best value accommodation, you can stay in private rooms or apartments which are very popular in Croatia. You may see people advertising "sobe" (rooms) at ports and bus/train stations in popular resorts.

These private rooms or apartments may sometimes in people's houses, but in most cases they are located in a separate area or floor of their house. You can always ask to see the accommodation before deciding whether to stay there. Hotels are good value, but top class accommodation is expensive. Every town has a tourist office C Ca Car Carp Diem Di Die D Carpe Diem: w www ww www. www.car www.carp www.ca www.c www.carpe www.carpe-die www.carpewww.carpe-d www.carpe-di www.carpe-diem www.carpe-diembe beach.co bea beac beach beach. beach.c b beach.com K Ko Kor Korn Kornat Korna IIslands Is Isl Isla Islan Island Kornati Islands: 40

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GREAT YARMOUTH Perfect for short breaks & day visits

Contact us today on 01493 846 346 or visit great-yarmouth.co.uk

Where the sea meets the broads, Norfolk’s premier seaside resort will keep your group entertained, with excellent group rates at seafront and countryside attractions.

Enjoy

Shopping

Heritage

Food

Seaside The Greater Yarmouth coastline has fifteen miles of clean, wide, soft, sandy beach, perfect for sea views and settling down in a deckchair to enjoy the Norfolk sunshine.

Suffolk Coast For fantastic country houses, maritime museums, charming seaside towns and the southern Broads, travel down winding country lanes south into Suffolk.

From theme parks to the model village, bowling alley, racing, bingo, casinos, zoos and a Sea Life Centre, great group rates are available all over the borough.

The busy market place is surrounded with all the usual high street chains as well as lots of different independent shops unique to Great Yarmouth.

Discover maritime history at the awardwinning Time & Tide, English heritage’s Row Houses, the National Trust’s Elizabethan House, and the Nelson Museum.

Sea air makes you hungry and food always tastes better on the coast. Locally caught smoked kippers, cream teas, and local seafood are always on the menu.

The Perfect touring base for Norfolk and Suffolk. Great Yarmouth is the ideal touring base for your coach holiday. Norwich, North Norfolk, the Broads and Suffolk all within easy driving distance.

North Norfolk Follow the coast road to north Norfolk for stunning views stately homes, big skies and big beaches, a myriad of quiet country lanes, traditional market towns and countryside villages.

Norwich Just 45 minutes drive, this medieval city has a Norman castle and two cathedrals, excellent shopping and great al fresco dining, perfect for day trips inland from the coast.

The Broads Just inland from Great Yarmouth, charter a paddle steamer, pleasure craft or doubledecker passenger boat and discover the Broads National Park.

Great Yarmouth

Visit great-yarmouth.co.uk/ group-travel or contact us via telephone 01493 846346


Flanders A Guide For Groups


VISITORS’ CENTRE

Quality, authenticity, natural ingredients and above all a never-ending passion for biscuits. In 1886 when Jules Destrooper set up his biscuit company that bears the same name, he could never have imagined that more than 130 years later, gourmets from more than 75 different countries would be fans of these biscuits. In our visitors’ centre, you can wander, quite literally, through the rich history of the world- famous biscuits from West Flanders. Plus, you can learn an enormous amount about how the Biscuiterie Destrooper bakes its refined biscuits today. During your visit a detailed explanation is given, and of course you will have the opportunity to sample lots of products during the programme.

Open

From Thursdays till Saturdays from 09h30 to 12h30 and from 13h30 to 17h30 Last entrance one hour before closing-time! Please note there is no production on Saturdays

Closed Entrance fee

Closed on Sunday, public holidays on Monday and from 24/12/2018 to 01/01/2019 Adult (€ 5) Children < 12 years (€ 3) Children < 6 years (free) Admission prices are valid until 31/12/2018

Individual visit Groups

A guide on request - extra 35 € From 20 to 70 persons - on reservation > free guide ! bus driver and groups responsible: free entrance Groups of 50 persons or more: extra free entrance

Schools Local info

1 € discount per student - teachers are free Tourist office Lo - Reninge (info@lauka.be - 0032 58 289166)

Adress Gravestraat 5, 8647 Lo • Tel. 0032 58 28 09 33 • Website www.jules-destrooper.com • E-mail bezoekerscentrum@julesdestrooper.com


Foreward Flat out for Flanders. Andrew Daines, VisitFlanders director for UK and Ireland, says there’s so much for groups to see and do in the Dutch-speaking north of Belgium, it’ll take hundreds of years to do it justice.

In the fieenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Flanders was home to some of the world’s greatest and most pioneering artists. People like Peter Paul Rubens, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Jan van Eyck did not simply make an impact on the world of art, they le a lasting legacy on the region of Flanders – and lots for us to enjoy today. In 2018, VisitFlanders launched its ambitious three year programme Flemish Masters, putting a spotlight on golden age of Flemish Art with a plethora of special events and exhibitions, beginning with ‘Antwerp Baroque, Rubens Inspires’. In 2019, the focus turns to Bruegel, when, on the 450th anniversary of his death, there will be special happenings in both Brussels and in Antwerp, but also, in the Flemish countryside and within the locations that have become iconic through Bruegel’s work. ese include the exhibition ‘Feast of Fools’ at the stunning Gaasbeek Castle. Set in glorious grounds, including a meticulously manicured walled fruit garden, this fairy-tale castle is a fantastic location for group visits, just 10 miles to the south-west of Brussels. Elsewhere within the 2019 programme, the open-air museum Bokrijk, near to the city of Genk in the province of Limburg, will offer ‘e World of Bruegel’ from April 2019. is 550 acre site, which contains 120 historic buildings in a multitude of landscapes, will bring various aspects of the artist’s work to life in a stimulating way. During the centenary of the First World War, we’ve welcomed thousands of group visitors to this unique, historic part of Flanders. But whilst the centenary spotlight will no longer be present, the commemoration of the sacrifices made during WWI never end in Flanders Fields. e volunteer buglers of the Ypres Fire Service will

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still sound e Last Post under the majestic arch of the Menin Gate each night at eight o’clock, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission gardeners will continue to tend to the hundreds of cemeteries, the volunteers at Talbot House in Poperinge will still offer a cup of tea and a friendly welcome to visitors, just as has been the case since this “every man’s” club first opened its doors in December 1915. 1919 was the year that the first ‘battlefield tours’ took place – including those organised by omas Cook – as the bereaved travelled to visit the graves of their loved ones, and in 2019, visitors will continue to have a full and enriching experience when visiting Flanders Fields. One of the great things about Flanders is that there’s always something new to discover. Recent openings include DIVA, a brandnew diamond experience attraction, located, appropriately, in the world’s diamond capital, Antwerp. Diamonds were clearly an inspiration for the Zara Hadid-designed Port House, a stunning addition to the Antwerp skyline (tours for groups are available). Just down the road, Mechelen has opened the doors to the refurbished Hof van Busleyden, a majestic Renaissance palace, now housing a state-of-the-art museum showcasing the fascinating Burgundian history of the city. Our rich history, stunning architecture, fabulous food and drink, easy access and of course our warm welcome to UK group visitors – continue to be some of the great reasons that visitors love Flanders. Wherever in our region you find yourself, you can be sure of a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

This publication is a controlled circulation and freely available to qualifying applicants. Care is taken to ensure that the information contained within the magazine is accurate. However, the publisher cannot accept liability for errors or omissions, no matter how they arise. Readers are advised to get facts and statements confirmed by suppliers when making enquiries. The opinions of the author are not necessarily those as the publisher. All rights are reserved. No reproduction of any part of this magazine may be carried out without the consent of the publisher being obtained in the first instance. Images on page 1 cge2010/shutterstock.com, (main image) baibaz/shutterstock.com, Pecold/shutterstock.com, Anton_Ivanov/shutterstock.com (left to right) Images on page 4 and 5 Rudy Balasko/shutterstock.com, (main image) vichie81/shutterstock.com skyfish/shutterstock.com

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Contents PAGE 50

GETTING THERE PAGE 52 THE COAST PANNES OUT NICELY PAGE 56 BRUGES PAGE 58 GHENT, LOCHRISTI AND BEERVELDE PARK PAGE 60 DENDERMONDE AND ANTWERP PAGE 63 TURNHOUT, HASSELT AND GENK PAGE 64 LEUVEN AND MECHELEN PAGE 65 BRUSSELS PAGE 70 OUDENAARDE, ROESELARE HAS A BEER CASTLE AND THE BATTLEFIELDS PAGE 72 HEUVELLAND AND TALBOT HOUSE PAGE 74 GETTING BACK TO BLIGHTY

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Getting there Groups getting to Flanders have never had it so good. Not so long ago, travel options might have involved being split up at England’s Southend, only to be reunited in Flanders’ Ostend. If your memory is as long as the handlebars on Colonel Trevor’s moustache, you’ll still be able to picture the Bristol Superfreighters taking off from the Essex airport, bound for Ostend, laden with private cars and passengers (well, three of the former and twenty of the latter). British United Air Ferries, the uniquely bulldog solution to crossing e Channel, flew long before the Beatles had their first hit until long aer Wham had their last. “Well, the Bristols had long since been retired by then,” says Trevor, who’s dress sense is more Sergeant Pepper than Andrew Ridgeley. He rather fancies himself as a Lancaster pilot, but we know he was cabin crew on a Caravelle, long before he was among our travelling companions on this trip to Flanders.

For getting to Flanders, DFDS ply Dover to Calais with frequent sailings. It’s the shorter sea route, with a few more miles of Pays de Calais countryside on arrival. Our group decided that it wasn’t for them. e haze of Gauloise, the smell of the burning lamb carcasses, the striking public servants, and the missiles thrown by disgruntled scallop fishermen, all mitigated against spending more time than necessary in France. We’ve opted for the crossing to Dunkirk. A few more miles at sea, but we arrived no more than a fair march from the border. Why, we thought, involve the shoulder-shrugging onion munchers, when for the want of a turn le and a short cruise up the A16, there’s another country waiting to welcome us with better breath, better chips and better chocolate. It’s Flanders, and with so much that’s just like home, to go with everything that’s so uniquely Flemish, we’ve jumped on the Dunkirk crossing, and just as soon as the vehicle ramp is down, we’re on our way, flat out to Flanders.

We’re not up in the air, however. We’re making our way at sea level on the DFDS Del Seaways, a vessel with a hold easily big enough to contain that old flying stalwart of cross-Channel travel, and a squadron from Bomber Command, with room leover for the colonel’s facial adornments. “I wish those old Bristols had been as smooth as these ships,” adds Trevor. Well, flying might be a moot point - at least to the Flemish coast. e collapse on the first day of September of VLM - the Flanders based airline - has put paid to their Ostend flights from Manchester and London City, but there are still plenty of travel options to reach the Flemish-speaking, Englishunderstanding northern half of Belgium. Aer our sojourn we’ll be returning by way of the EuroTunnel of love. For outwards though, we’re flirting with the waves of the English Channel, and cutting through the choppy waters on one of the biggest vessels in the fleet of one of northern Europe’s biggest ferry operators. Apart from the Channel routes, DFDS take to the Atlantic on their Newhaven to Dieppe route; brave the North Sea from Newcastle to Amsterdam; and crisscross the Baltic with a variety of services.

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The coast pannes out nicely Cross the border, change down through the gears and come to a halt in the pretty little time-capsule of a resort named De Panne. First stop for our fantastical tour of Flanders, the most westerly settlement on the Flanders coast. It also happens to be the one with the widest beach. Watch out for horses. De Panne’s rolling sands are a popular bridleway. ey also host sand yachts, sand sculptures, and parents buried in the sand by children who’ve forgotten all about them and le them to drown, be run over, or tramped to death, probably. e town is adjacent to De Westhoek nature reserve, 340ha of pristine greenery and dunes. Check out the wildlife too in the Dumont district, with its typical cottage style houses and boutiques. You can’t miss King Leopold’s statue either the framing arch can be seen from almost anywhere in town. KUSTTRAM Park the bus in one of the designated spots around De Panne, and get on the rails. De Panne is one end of the line for the Kusttram, the charming yet entirely functional service that runs the length of the Flanders coast. Imagine the entire Manchester Metrolink system stretched out into a single straight line, without neds in Oldham or Rochdale dropping concrete blocks from the over bridges. Add a liberal and unending line of sandy beaches on one side, and a string of thirteen lovely seaside resorts on the other, and you have the 72km-long coastal tram service. It’s definitely one of the hidden treasures of Flanders. Groups of five or more qualify for a cheap ticket - about £1 for an hour’s travel - as long as you stick together. ere’s also an individual ticket that gives access to a number of coastal attractions too, including the Plopsaland amusement park, in De Panne’s Dumont district. It even has its own stop, one before the terminus at Adinkerke (delijn.be/en). At the other end of the line, about sixty stops away, lie the twin resorts of Knokke and Heist. Not identical twins you understand. e latter is a little bit of Tudor England built on the Flemish coast. e former, which is more in keeping with the Flemish style, attracted ninetieth century artists in droves. Knokke is an upmarket little town, filled with elegant shops and equally elegant coffee

houses. A world famous cartoon exhibition and an equally impressive fireworks festival are the highlights of the summer season. Heist is anything but down at heel, and your group will delight in exploring both towns. ere are literally a quizzilion things to do on the coast, each as tourist group friendly as the next. You might like to check out the promotional pass for a few more ideas (kustpas.be). INLAND TO BEAUVOORDE CASTLE Just before jumping on the tram, take a short trip inland to the seventeenth-century Beauvoorde Castle. is residential chateau was restored much more recently by a young aristocrat named Arthur Merghelynck (and good luck pronouncing that). e four-storey, moated château is situated in the charming village of Wulveringem, not far from Veurne, a town of 10,000 people and well worth a visit for its bakery museum (this page is scratch and sniff, if you want to experience the unique baking aroma right now). Merghelynck - or Arthur to his mates and everyone else without a degree in Dutch - filled the house with a superb collection of furniture and works of art. He also developed the estate grounds to create a stunning new park. It’s been here ever since, as dictated by the terms of his will. Arrange ahead for an English speaking guide (kasteelbeauvoorde.be/en). We lied about the scratch and sniff … but you tried anyway, didn’t you? DIKSMUIDE A few kilometres further on, and we arrive in the market town of Diksmuide. Halfway between Ostend and Ypres, it’s famous for its polders, used to drain the farmland where Friesian dairy herds graze contentedly, while obligingly providing the raw materials for the famously smooth Diksmuide butter. You can survey the land from the 22nd floor of the famous 84m tall IJzertoren (IJzer Tower, complete with two capital letters). It is easily the most prominent monument on the le bank of Diksmuide’s river which, you’ll have worked out by now, is named the IJzer. Sadly, those same grazing meadows were also the scene of the battle of the IJzer (late October 1914). ere’s a museum, right here, dedicated to peace, freedom and tolerance. It’s set in the clouds, to poignantly rise above the fog of war (ijzertoren.org).

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OSTEND

ZEEBRUGGE

Back on the coast, VisitFlanders UK head honcho Andrew Daines (remember, he’s the nice man who welcomed us to this supplement) has a bit of a hankering aer one of the other ferry ports, with plenty of culture attached to it, and plenty of British connections too, one of which is of particular interest. “Ostend was home to the Anglo-Belgian surrealist artist James Ensor,” he told us, and went on to say that we’ve something exciting to expect in 2019. “A new state-of-the-art visitor experience incorporating Ensor’s original house will open. e city has plenty more to offer visitors seeking culture of all types, from the award-winning gallery Mu.Zee, to the Crystal Ship street art experience, and a wealth of contemporary, classical and popular live entertainment at the city’s Kursaal.”

Our route from Dover is quick - if you’re coming from Dover. For those who need a little more time to get use to the idea of being away from our island shores, there’s Hull to Zeebrugge. Less waffling about on those British motorways and more waffle ironing on those plazas of Mechelen and Antwerp. Flanders here we come. If you wanted to know that they do things differently in Flanders, you need only roll down the off ramp and gaze at the pleasant surprise of Zeebrugge. “is is as grim as it gets,” says Tom, from our cohort of drivers, and he knows grim when he sees it - he’s from Redcar. “I’ve been coming here for years,” he says. “Before the Costas and cheap air travel, the Flanders coast was the biggest overseas destination for British holidaymakers. So, what we’re doing, is living out a tradition, and, for me, it’s one that we should really get to know all over again.”

ere’s also ‘De Grote Post’ - the old general post office which is now the Cultural Centre for theatre dance and music. We like the“Cultuurcafé” that’s open to casual visitors and, unlike the Dutch-only website, needs no translation (degrotepost.be).

Start that refresher course as soon as you disembark. Any tourists interested in military history should head to Zeebrugge harbour, where you can visit the Russian submarine, Foxtrot. No midget this, at 100 metres long, this Cold War leviathan lets visitors experience how the 75 crew members lived and worked, submerged for months on end, on the cusp of paranoia and ready to deliver nuclear armageddon to the West at the touch of a big red button. It was either that, or get blind drunk on contraband vodka (and then do the armageddon delivering thing).

ere’s almost always a festival on the go in Flanders, and the season starts right here in Ostend in March with the Dead Rat Ball. You don’t have to be dead, and you don’t have to be a rat, but you can have a ball. e season goes full circle around the five provinces, coming back to Ostend at Halloween for a night out scarier than Noel Fielding’s Bake Off wardrobe choices. Don’t miss out either on the Leuven Beer Festival, or the Leuven Short Film Festival in December. You can have a hectic day in the Flanders Christmas markets in almost every town worthy of the name. For seasonal exercise, there are usually outdoor ice rinks in Antwerp, Brussels, and back, once again, in Ostend. Oh, and on a final Ostend note: if you venture north of the Napoleonic Fort, on to Bredene Beach - you might like to be aware that it’s Flanders only nude beach. Just saying…

Above the waves, visit the West-Hinder lightship and get a different taste of salty life. Since you’ve not had enough salt, there’s the former Covered Fish Market, now a vast indoor exhibition called Seafront (seafront.be/en).

BLANKENBERG AND THE PIER INTO THE NORTH SEA e only pier in Flanders is in the pretty town of Blankenberg, and has been popular since its opening in 1894. Like the rest of us, the pier has suffered from age over the years. e Art Nouveau original was burned down for strategic reasons by those naughty Germans in 1914 - much like they torched the library at Leuven. e current 1933 pier has been restored over thirteen years and is now back to its best. Leuven’s books could not be so easily replaced but, then again, you wouldn’t build a pier out of books. For arty types (and there’s nothing wrong with that) here’s a bit of forward planning for your diary. e next Beaufort - and triennial outdoors arts extravaganza - will be in 2021. No details have yet been released about the seventh iteration of the festival, but it’s been growing bigger every time since 2003. Check out what you’ve just missed at www.beaufort2018.be/en.

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Geschiedenis, demonstratie en proeven van chocolade History, demonstrating & tasting of chocolate Open daily from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m.

www.choco-story.be Wijnzakstraat 2 (Sint-Jansplein) B - 8000 Bruges Tel : +32 (0)50 61 22 37 - info@choco-story.be 12


Bruges

Ana Sun/shutterstock.com

Well, in case you hadn’t guessed, Zeebrugge is only a hop, skip and a jump back on the bus om Bruges. Like Leith is to Edinburgh, or Morecambe is to Wise

You’re simply going to find a bunch of cool stuff in Zeebrugge, and all the World Heritage stuff up in Bruges. Renaissance Flanders in miniature? Perhaps. A totally absorbing visit? Certainly. Check out (visitbruges.be/en). With more canals than Mars, cobbled paths and brick archways, stone churches and hump-backed bridges, you’ll do well not to trip up while gawping at the best-preserved example of a medieval city centre in the world, ever.

experience that right now). For a unique 360° view of the Market Square in Bruges and the Belfort tower as they are today, climb the Historium Tower by the beautiful neogothic stair turret with a height of 30 metres. From here, you will See Bruges from a totally different perspective.e Historium Exhibition is an interactive exhibition with information about Bruges as a flourishing trading town during the Golden Age (15th century). In this period, the port was still located in the centre of Bruges and the ‘Waterhalle’, the central warehouse for sea traders, stood on the site that is now the Historium. You also learn about the customs of medieval Bruges and enjoy the splendid panoramic view of the Market Square and the Belfry. Are you visiting the Historium with your family? If so, you will have a great time on the Family Trail – a trail with wacky hunts and activities, multisensory boxes for smelling and touching, as well as a digital quiz. A cute owl will guide you in solving several Historium mysteries.To round off your visit, why not relax a little in the Duvelorium Grand Beer Café, a Duvel-themed café. Here you can sample some of the best Belgian beers in an authentic setting.ey call it a sensual, invigorating experience that’s an appointment with history. We say check the website (historium.be/en).

How the Flemish are not as wide as the barges that once plied the Bruges canals is a mystery. How the nuns of the famous Beguinage do not indulge to sinful excess is also a mystery. Maybe they take a reverential outing to De Kaarsengieterij, a boutique specialising in hand made and devotional candles. Get really virtual in the Historium, where you can reach out and touch the Golden Age of Bruges and take your team down a time tunnel to medieval Bruges. You’ll be escorted in English using audio guides through themed rooms. You are virtually standing in the middle of historical scenes such as the old port, or master painter Van Eyck’s studio. It is more than seeing and hearing. You step into the past and smell it all too (this page is scratch and sniff so you can

ere’s also the recently opened Lace Musuem (well, four years is recent in medieval Bruges terms), and the recently closed Triennial arts show (next one in 2021). If all that hasn’t satiated your appetite, then there are more high class restaurants, and casual but classy births and eateries per square metre than in any other World Heritage Site. We lied again about the scratch and sniff page, but you tried again, didn’t you?

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kavalenkaushutterstock.com

As befits a medieval trading centre, Bruges is shopping central. You’ll find a plethora of places to swap hard earned cash for much more interesting things, but leave room in your bag for that most famous of exports: chocolate. ere are nearly fiy boutiques devoted to the stuff. Get yourself along to the attraction dedicated to it (choco-story.be/ENG). e museum is all about the alchemy of turning cocoa into chocolate, and the barely credible manifesto to promote the health and quality aspects of Belgian chocolate. ere’s plenty more to see (and eat) with an on-site wine tavern, patisserie, and demonstration.

Away from the central Markt, Zilverpand and Alberthal are more modern shopping malls, and, if you’re aer fish and fleas, there are both regular fish markets and flea markets. If that’s still not ding-dong enough for you, climb the 366 steps to the top of the 83m tall Belfry (one metre less than the 84m tall IJzertoren in Diksmuide but two metres further above sealevel at the base). No mention of Colin Farrell (the mayor doesn’t like to be reminded of In Brugge) as you survey the city. Try to get up at dusk, just as the floodlighting comes on in the canals below. It’s not over yet. e annual mid-summer celebration of early music, MAfestival, at the acoustically splendid Concertgebouw, strikes a chord (MAfestival.be/EN/home).


Ghent, Lochristi and Beervelde park spectacular illuminations, light sculptures, projections and installations by contemporary national and international light artists (lichtfestival.stad.gent/en). We’ve said before, but we’ll reiterate that Ghent is Flanders festival city, and the burgers are doing nothing to dispel that impression. If you’ve not had enough of cultivated flowers, there’s the Ghent Floralies - the next being held in 2021 in late spring. A change of organisation last time saw the festival expanded to take place in venues around the city centre, including the Arts Quarter (that’s Citadel Park), St Peters Square, Leopold Barracks and e Bijloke site. It’s all part of an effort to extend the appeal of the city to outlying areas. Not that anywhere in Ghent is particularly outlying www.floralien.be/en Don’t forget Ghent’s fine arts destination - e Museum voor Schone Kunsten, or simply MSK. Citadelpark in the city's south is home to two further key art museums, the Museum of Fine Arts (mskgent.be) and SMAK, the Museum of Contemporary Art (smak.be). Nor overlook the abbey that’s now a dozen divine delis have got together to offer a heavenly combination of local, organic and high quality food and drink products. Actually, it’s seventeen locations, but that wasn’t’ onomatopoeic enough. We reported the opening a few years ago - now we’re ready for seconds (holyfoodmarket.be). Check out the Patershol district, Ghent’s recognised restaurant quarter, guarded by the 12th-century Castle of the Counts.(sintbaafskathedraal.be/en/visit.html). e Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, the fieenth-century masterpiece of religious art by Hubert and Jan van Eyck, is the jewel in the crown. View it behind glass in a temperature-controlled room. Learn more at visit.(gent.be/en/).

It’s just over an hour’s drive from the heart of Bruges to the heart of the countryside. We’re skirting around Ghent to reach Beervelde Park. We’re on the edge of yet another lovely little Flanders town, Lochristi, which is overly-well stocked with pleasant restaurants, especially up and down Antwerpse Steenweg and the Drop, the wide main street, which is also the N70 national route - so easy to find. It’s soamewhat off the tourist trail (hence the Dutch-only civic website lochristi.be). Now, given that we’ve just driven through some outstandingly well manicured countryside to get there, this is going to have to be something extra special to make the trip worthwhile. at is indeed the case, you’ll be glad to learn. Spread over an area of 25 hectares, Beervelde (which does not translate to Green Beer) is full of stunning architectural features, copses, woodland, meadows, walled gardens and a beautiful reflecting lake, all designed in the English Landscape style. You’ll need to pick your times though. e estate is only open for a weekend in May and again in October, for the bi-annual Beervelde Garden Days, which are a bit like the Chelsea Flower Show, if you will, and attract 20,000 other enthusiasts just like your group. At other times it’s a private hire venue, though it may be possible to organise a bespoke group tour (parkvanbeervelde.be/en/home). ere’s even a railway station on the edge of the park, with trains Monday to Friday. At weekends, a bus runs from Ghent. Meanwhile, back in Ghent, and not to be outdone by short-lived festivals, the city hosts five days (or thereabouts) at the end of January for the Ghent Light Festival. Around half a million visitors (that’s officially: quite a lot) descend on the city centre for a trail of

“The Garden Days of Beervelde”, Beervelde Park is situated near the City of Ghent, only 90 minutes away from Calais, in the very heart of an area famous for its horticulture. Spread over an area of 25 hectares, its stunning architectural features, copses, woodland, meadows, walled gardens and lake, create a splendid unified landscape full of superb views. More information and online tickets sale

www.parkvanbeervelde.be

which hosts some 220 exhibitors and 20,000 visitors twice a year, is one of the most significant ower shows in Europe: a treasure trove for knowledgeable amateur plant lover and a perfect setting for a stunning celebration of horticulture. Beervelde also offers its’ visitors a wide selection of artisan craft items, children’s activities, antiques and local products, thereby ensuring a wonderful day out with family and friends. Some of the magic and freshness that must have invigorated Chelsea in the 1930s still resides here.

12-13-14 October 2018 58

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Brouwerijstraat 1 (GPS: Ingelmunstersestraat 46) - 8870 Izegem - Belgium - +32 (0)51/62 27 30 info@bierkasteel.be - www.bierkasteel.be


Dendermonde and Antwerp Stop on the way to the big city at the small town of Dendermonde (toerismedendermonde.be/english). e official website has a bit more, mainly in Dutch, but it does feature a picture of a man blowing on a huge horn between his legs, and some young bathers who are so peelywally they must be visiting from Scotland. Go on - you’re dying to see for yourselves. is market town, complete with obligatory Grote Markt, has plenty to see. e Church of Our Lady has two notable paintings by Anthony Van Dyck. is year, the béguinage celebrated the twentieth anniversary of inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Next year, e city hall and belfry will do the same. e belfry features a carillon - that uniquely Flemish medieval heavy metal instrument, which can be heard all over the town. One unusual reason to stop is for the Dendermonde Steam Railway (stoomtrein.be/en). Not nearly as widespread as the heritage railway community in the UK, a historic steam train on the Continent is a rarity. Finding this one is a real treat, along all of it’s fourteen kilometre run to neighbouring Puurs, which is famous for its brewery and … asparagus. We thought about doing the scratch and sniff gag again, but decided we’d be pushing our luck. For real though is the new aroma of Antwerp. “Ahh. Smell that lovely, clean, city centre air!” Yes, it’s true. Antwerp has gone from phew to pure in a little over a year. Now, to us Brits, the thought of Antwerp as an air polluted place is met with a scoff of disbelief. “You’re joking, pet?” Says Brenda from Salford, who should know a thing or two about industrial pollution and the odd pong from fly tips and tyre dumps, burning deep into the night. Antwerp on the other hand, has always had the aroma of an attenuated chocolatier, with overtones of gently ironed waffle. However, as a city that’s always set the trends, be they in fashion, design, or confectionary perfection, Antwerp is blazing a trail for low emissions in Flanders. “Well, maybe it should apply to those cargo ships as well,” says driver Tom, whose rope and anchor tattoo gives away his seafaring past. “Still, our good ship of the road has all the right filters and we’re already registered. Even if we weren’t, we’ve got twenty-four hours from entering the Low Emissions Zone to go on line and do the necessary.” Not that there’s any xenophobia here. Belgian and Dutch number plates get you an exemption from registering, but not from complying. ey’re strict too. It’s only because it actually contravened the emissions regulations that the authorities have stopped from taking drivers of noncompliant vehicles and burning them at the stake. If you don’t want to go to meet your maker like a medieval monk on the wrong side of the inquisition, better check out

(slimnaarantwerpen.be) - or see if ierry Boutsen will lend you one of his old Nomex racing suits (an extra fire resistant one). ere’s a similar regulation in Brussels, so you may also need to visit lez-belgium.de where you also can easily apply for registration. Beautiful Antwerp. A port city like no other. Pivotal for trade, commerce, and war. Coveted by both the Allies and the Nazis in the last desperate months of the Second World War, it has survived and thrived down the centuries. ere’s the fabulous Centraal Station, glittering as brightly as any of the diamonds in the adjacent trading quarter, and as impressive a welcome as might be expected from such an important gateway to the world. Of them all, the largest diamond showroom in Antwerp is DiamondLand (diamondland.be). Just jump off the train at Centraal, or nip round aer a spot of trading on the Bourse, and you’re almost there. e “Diamonds & Sparkles” experience is designed for corporate guests, but your group can get a free tour of their 1000 square metre workshops just by registering. Also, as Andrew Daines recommends, check out DIVA, the museum of Antwerp’s diamond and silver trade. A sparking, fascinating and not always glamourous story (divaantwerp.be). ere’s more than diamonds and silver of course. Antwerp is among the top fashion capitals in the world. So if you’re on trend, this is the place to be. From the famed zoo, to the delights of a vibrant nightlife, Antwerp is a city of culture and contrast. From fine dining to fast food, the city does everything with style. Try it for yourself. Aer a lunch of superb Belgian fries with a choice of toppings at Frituur on Hoogstraat, develop a taste for waffles topped with whipped cream and ice cream at Désiré de Lille – with branches on Schrijnwerkersstraat and Schoenmarkt. at’s just for starters. Late June is Beer Passion weekend in Antwerp. Around 40 breweries gather on the Groenplaats, one of the most beautiful squares in Antwerp, to present around 200 exquisite beers to savour. Try them all and Groneplaats will not only be beautiful, it’ll be your best mate, ever. I just want you to know that (beerpassion.com). Antwerp’s most celebrated past resident, Pieter Paul Rubens, one of the most prolific Baroque artists. e “Rubens' Walk” – backed up with a booklet from the Tourist Office on the Grote Markt, helps visitors see how the master lived. For a more spiritual experience, Antwerp's Cathedral of Our Lady, completed in 1521, is still a landmark. Rubens masterpiece, the triptych e Descent From the Cross (1612), is best among the art collection within.

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Dendermonde, Bayard Steed Town Attractive offers for groups! Tourist Office Stadhuis - Grote Markt 9200 Dendermonde Belgium +32 (0)52 21 39 56 toerisme@dendermonde.be www.toerismedendermonde.be


most striking new addition. More futuristic than classical, it is nevertheless perfectly proportioned. Rubens would approve, especially on a pre-arranged group tour. In fact, port tours in general are popular, with or without guides, with or without a boat even. Check in at the Lillo Port Centre for arrangements (portofantwerp.com/en/port-centre-lillo).

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e city’s trading position relies on its waterway. e view over the River Scheide is much as Rubens would know it - no bridges. ere are only two vehicle tunnels and, in the middle, a 400-metre long pedestrian tunnel that’s a subterranean adventure of endless glazed tiling. Above ground, the Zaha Hadid studio designed Port House is the

Discover the secrets of diamond polishing during a free guided tour

GROUP BOOKINGS info@diamondland.be • +32 (0)3 369 07 80 Opening hours: Mon - Sat 9:30 – 17:00 www.diamondland.be

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Turnhout, Hasselt and Genk If we were to take a long, lazy road trip east from Antwerp, we could swing through the splendid countryside of the Antwerpse Kempen, by way of the superb E34 road, and arrive at Turnhout, the "the capital of the Kempen”. Quintessentially off the beaten track, your group, like ours, could immerse themselves in modern Flemish culture, and take in a few less visited sights as well. Conquer the moat around the twelh-century castle of the Dukes of Brabant, before visiting the gothic church of St. Peter, and the beguinage (also known as the begijnhof ) dating from the thirteenth-century, and an inscribed World Heritage site of course, the fourteenthcentury gothic chapel of eobald, and the Taxandria local history museum which occupies a rather delightful Renaissance mansion. It’s only open in the aernoons, but a combination ticket will let you stroll between here, the beguinage, and the totally unique National Museum of Playing Cards, where the main attraction might actually be the building itself and the restored steam engine within. In your EyeSpy book of Turnhout, be sure to tick off the layer-cake facade of the railway station, the town hall, the chapel, and the municipal water tower. Sit yourselves down in the universally applauded Stadscafe, on the corner of the market square.

long you spend here, it won’t be enough. en there is probably the most important reason for coming in the first place: the museum of gin. Alright, that’s underplaying the attraction somewhat, and, as Andrew Daines said earlier, we have the World of Bruegel exhibition to enjoy from April 2019. Hasselt’s fame is founded in the production of flavoured gins, typically spiced with juniper berries, and now widely known as Jenever. e popularity of the tipple has spread across the whole of the Low Countries. e town’s museum is dedicated to its history, where you can learn much about the popularity – as if you couldn’t work that out for yourself. ere’s even a festival of gin (hurrah!) and music fans will know the region for the annual Pukklepop festival of mud and music and more mud (visithasselt.be/en). Christian Mueller shutterstock.com

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Onwards then through the least populated parts of Flanders. It’s a good hour by coach to Hasselt, a town in the far east of the region, divided in half by the mighty Albert Ship Canal, and divided from its larger neighbour Genk, by the green and pleasant land of Bokrijk Park (bokrijk.be/en). Genk is the place that Max Verstappen calls home, but don’t expect to be doing any Formula One speeds around town. It’s a little more laid back than that. Instead, head at a leisurely pace for Bokrijk, and check out the tranquility of the Japanese Gardens, the swathe of 150 medieval buildings, a cool 30,000 exhibits of everyday life, dating from the seventeenth century right up to 1950, and all populated by costumed living history guides. However

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Leuven and Mechelen We’re on our way again, heading back west, through the beautiful university city of Leuven. Only twenty minutes from Brussels, cheaper hotels and easier to reach from the airport. Oh, and 100 breweries at the last count. So, have we got time to stop here? You bet. e heart of the old city is manageable, and filled with great buildings and attractions. Remnants of the old fortifications can be found in the Sint Donatuspark, just one of the pleasant green spaces frequented by the citizens. e eighteenth-century Botanic Gardens on the west of the city centre represent an exceptional public legacy. Obviously, there’s another beguinage, obviously. e beguinage district is an easy stroll to the south of city centre, still within the original medieval ring. e enclave, which is over 700 years old is now used mainly for university accommodation but these quaint houses were once the sole preserve of the eponymous female religious order – the Beguines – who lived a life of piety but did not take the perpetual vows of traditional nuns. A bit like a habit without a habit, as it were (visitleuven.be/en). We could carry on, straight into Brussels, but let’s not. For now, we’re detouring to the capital of the Burgundian Netherlands, the lovely city of Mechelen, since we’ve an appointment with the Museum Hof van Busleyden.

Elsewhere in the cathedral carillon city, Mechelen is very good value for accommodation, and should be considered as a base for touring operations. With most tourists heading straight for the bigger neighbours, you can enjoy preferential rates in superb surroundings for your group. ere’s plenty to do as well. e city boasts around 1300 shops and stores – all within an easily managed centre. It’s a stunningly colourful city, with thousands of blooms, including over 1000 species of roses and more than 300 species of dahlias at the Vrijbroekpark. For hands-on enthusiasts, there are 260 interactive experiments at the Technopolis Science Centre (technopolis.be). Check out also the renowned zoo, toy museum and thirtieth-century Brusselspoort, the last remaining example of the city’s medieval gates. Saint Rumbold’s Cathedral, with its unfinished tower, remains the defining symbol of Mechelen. e massive carillon within has 49 bells - and no volume control. e cathedral is also the repose of some masterpieces of classic art, including a crucifixion by Anthony Van Dyck; a series of 25 panels from the fieenth and sixteenth centuries. ere’s more at toerisme.(mechelen.be/en).

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Step into this Renaissance palace in the very centre of Mechelen, within earshot of the cathedral’s carillon bells, and follow in the philosophical footsteps of Hiëronymus van Busleyden, Margaret of Austria, Erasmus and

England’s own catholic martyr omas More. A museum for all seasons, Hof van Busleyden delves deep into Burgundian history, about the rich history of Mechelen, steeped in power, politics and Renaissance crasmanship. Oh, and check out the enclosed gardens as well. It’s enough to make omas More say: “You know what, Henry, just carry on, all this divorce thing is a bit of a storm in a teacup really.”

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Brussels Now, here’s something that will appeal to 48% of all British groups (62% if they’re from Scotland): a visit the European Parliament. Mention Brussels and, no matter how well read you are, there’s only one image that’s going to jump to mind. We’ll wager it’s not a plate of sprouts. “Visiting the European Parliament is a great way to find out about its work as the voice of European Union citizens, and about the impact it makes across both Europe and the world,” said a spokesperson, in 24 different languages (soon to be 23, apparently). Now, we’ll not claim to be entirely on top of all the complexities of the various bodies that make up “Brussels”. Aer all, it’s a French enclave in the middle of Flanders, so all that Dutch that you so painfully cribbed prior to arrival will do for nought - or ‘rien de rien’ as they say round here. Still, you can clear all that up with a precursive visit to Station Europe - where your group can be put on the right road to the Hemicycle, the Parlamentarium, the House of European History, and any of the other buildings, institutions and sites of the European Union. Most likely, you’ll be off to the Parlamentarium for starters. e European Union can be a tough nut to crack but the Parlamentarium and its high-tech interactive adventure breaks it into bite-sized pieces. Our multilingual guide told us there’s a multimedia guide to accompany visitors as they follow the building of today’s Europe. “See how they can affect law making in a 360° cinema,” crooned Euroguide in Croatian and Italian. “Travel the continent on a giant interactive map and discover how the European Union impacts their daily life,” they said in German and Danish. “It’s open seven days a week and a visit normally takes around 90 minutes, with shorter tours available if you’re in a hurry to leave. Advance booking is strongly recommended for groups especially before March 2019. Admission is free of charge, it just costs £38bn to leave (europarl.europa.eu/visiting/en/). If that’s all too much, there’s a back door that leads straight into Leopold Park… Another spectacular Brussels park lies just east of the European Quarter. Parc du Cinquantenaire (French for Park of the Fiieth Anniversary, of Belgian independence, since you ask), and also known as Jubelpark in Dutch ( Jubilee Park) is a vast and stunning planned open space, surmounted by a classical collection of buildings in a U-shaped terrace. ere’s no difficulty getting here. Line 1 of the Brussels

Metro passes underneath the park, and there are stations at either end (Schuman and Mérode). Originally built to house a national exhibiiton, they have subsequently become home to an eclectic mix of permanent displays. Most prominent is the Royal Military Museum, which occupies fully one half of the complex. e other half is shared between the Jubelpark / Cinquantenaire Museum and our intended destination: Autoworld (which isn’t a homage to Bart Simpsons’ school bus driver). Autoworld claims to be more than a museum, but that still doesn’t mean you can get your MOT done. What it does promise, is a guided tour through the history of the motorcar, with a ‘pitstop’ to admire the exhibits. Well worth an hour and a half of any petrolhead’s time, and for groups larger than a minibus worth worth, the tariff is 7€ per person. You’ll need a guide for every 30 persons and, such is the demand, you’ll need to book a week in advance (autoworld.be). Almost as old as the vintage exhibits in Autoworld, there’s the unmistakable symbol of Brussels and Belgium since the 1958 World Expo. e Atomium remains today the most popular attraction in the self-styled Capital of Europe. Feel like a quark as you wander through the tubes and spheres of the permanent exhibition. e upper sphere offers spectacular views of the city of Brussels and a private restaurant (Booking is required on +32 496/10.58.58). Down at ground level, Mini-Europe lets your group of giants stride around the most beautiful towns of the old Continent. Big Ben is more Little Ben (and still works). You’re encouraged not to race the TGV from petit-Paris to micro-Marseille: you’ll beat it. You are encouraged however to make Vesuvius erupt. You can make the Berlin Wall fall (again and again), make a bull fight in Seville (which they don’t do anymore). You can supervise the blast off for an Ariane rocket, or whirl a more leisurely windmill in Amsterdamette (minieurope.com). Hit Brussels in September, and sample the annual Design show, with a range of exhibitions, fairs, special shops, conferences and design awards. Draw up your plans at designseptember.be. A quick dra of Brussels other top attractions include the Manneken Pis - a representation of a young Glaswegian tourist (a joke never grows old for an Edinburgh-born supplements editor). Check out the Royal Greenhouses in full summer blooms; the Royal Palace of course; and Grand Palace Square.

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Meanwhile, less than thirty-minutes from the downtown lights and away from the political Schengen shenanigans of the European Quarter, lies Anderlecht. Once down at heel and known only for its highly successful football club, the huge western suburb now tops the league for swanky regeneration. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had enough of the crowds and prices on Avenue Louise, get out to the Westland Shopping Mall for a more realistic retail experience. Grab a coďŹ&#x20AC;ee in the above average eateries, and relax into a bit of bargain hunting that even David Dickinson would enjoy (westlandshopping.be). What else would take you a municipality that suďŹ&#x20AC;ers from a twinning with Hammersmith and Fulham? Well, the sights are pretty old. In fact, very old. î&#x201A;&#x160;e Collegial Church of Saint Peter and Saint Guido on the northern side of the main Place de la Vaillance, contains the grave of the eleventh-century saint Guy of Anderlecht. Guess which town is named aî&#x2020;?er him. î&#x201A;&#x160;e Romanesque crypt is almost one thousand years old, and is reputed to contain the original engineering drawings for the Pacer train used by Northern Rail. Needless to say, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a beguinage, which is now home to Anderlechtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s local history museum. Since the French get all the credit, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worth visiting the National Museum of the Resistance, which traces the history of the Belgian deďŹ ance in the face of Nazi occupation during World War Two. î&#x201A;&#x160;ereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plenty more on the Musuem front - such as a Chinese themed one; the cellars that hosted 'Body Worlds' by Gunther Von Hagens back in 2008-9; the Museum of Medicine on the Erasmus campus of the university, and the Cantillon museum established in an actual working brewery.

Yes, thought that last one would get your attention, so hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a link: (cantillon.be). Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht is the most successful Belgian football team in European competitions. No, seriously. Five trophies, and they pretty much own the Belgian league. Tickets are scarce at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium located within the Astrid Park, especially for the visits of Wallonian rivals Standard (Liege) or the big Flemish grudge match with Club Bruges. If you get your kicks oďŹ&#x20AC; the pitch, head for Gaasbeek Castle on the Renaissance Masters trail, just outside Anderlecht. As Andrew Daines told us in his foreword; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the setting for the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Feast of Foolsâ&#x20AC;? Renaissance art exhibition for the next two years. Even without added art, the castle is a splendid group visit (kasteelvangaasbeek.be/en). î&#x201A;&#x160;ere are dining options all through the day too, so go Dutch Masters with your best mate for a plate and a paint. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just a few kilometres further to Chateau Grand Bigard, another of the treasures of the Brabant region. î&#x201A;&#x160;e castle, in the village of Grand Bigard (Groot-Bijgaarden) is just seven kilometres from Brussels. It is surrounded by a large moat which, today, is less defensive and more reďŹ&#x201A;ective. Call ahead for groups and the drawbridge will be down. Check out the ďŹ ve arch bridge with the ornamental lions. î&#x201A;&#x160;e castle is also the venue for Floralia Brussels 2019 from 6 April to 5 May (ďŹ&#x201A;oralia-brussels.be/en). If itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all too much and you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t decide, the answer is the Brussels Card, at around a euro an hour for 24 hours. Find out more about this, and about Brussels in general at visit.(brussels/en/sites/brusselscard/).

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M O R E

T H A N

AUTOWORLD MUSEUM BRUSSELS Parc du Cinquantenaire 11, 1000 Brussels Metro Merode, Tel +32 2 736 41 65 Open all days 10h - 17h, week-end 10h - 18h info@autoworld.be, www.autoworld.be VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO DISCOVER OUR NEXT EXHIBITIONS

A

M U S E U M


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Discover Europe’s nicest places ...

All of Europe animated in miniature! Spectacular! Be amazed. Mini-Europe is a park planted with trees at the gates of Brussels where all the wonders of Europe are exhibited in miniature versions between bonsai trees, flowery groves and dwarf trees. 350 monuments and animations meticulously reproduced in the finest detail to a scale of 1:25, thousands of figurines and live action models that look like the real thing! A two-hour walk, that is both entertaining and educational, to learn about 28 member states of the European Union and the historical, architectural and cultural wealth of Europe.

Fun! A trip full of surprises. take the controls of the many opportunities for interactive live action that stud the route.

Fascinating! Have fun learning! Behind the captivating universe of the miniature monuments, the dramatisation and live action, relive our surprising common history with its values and Greek, Roman, Viking’s heritages. … You will find commentary at every stage of the journey in the free catalogue that is teeming with information and anecdotes that will delight children, those with a sense of curiosity and those passionate about history.

Did you know? Unrivalled quality of artistry The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela alone involved 24,000 hours of work. At 13 meters, the Eiffel Tower is taller than a 3-storey building.

Indoor space. Located at the end of the Park visit, ‘Spirit of Europe’ welcomes you into a large covered space where live action models, games and quizzes will give you the chance to test, enrich or perfect your knowledge of the 28 member states of the European Union.

Open every day from mid March till begin of January from 9:30 am till 05:00 pm. Open By Night with musical firework the 3 first Saturdays in August. Catalogue available in 11 languages (D, E, F, EN, I, NL, HB, RU, PL, PT, CN). Restaurant - cafetaria.

MINI-EUROPE Bruparck, B-1020 Brussels Tel.: +32 (0)2/474.13.13. - Fax: +32 (0)2/478.26.75 http://www.minieurope.eu - Email: info@minieurope.eu

Fascinating presentation for everyone, not to be missed during your stay in the capital of Europe !


OUDENAARDE

THE BATTLEFIELDS

Keep going west from Anderlecht and, before long, you’ll happen upon Oudenaarde. Lying south of Ghent on the le bank (in Dutch that’s Linkeroever) of the river Scheldt is a true community of art. Check out the Gothic revival styled City Hall; the Huis De Lalaing with the Tapestries of Oudenaarde; the Church of Pamele; the Beguinage and the Castle of Liedts. If you are a fan of cycle racing, the unique museum, within the Tour of Flanders Centre, is definitely worth a visit. If that’s not enough for the mamil in you, there’s a further cyclingthemed attraction in nearby Roeselare. Aer a closure lasting three years, the Wielermuseum has reopened and been renamed as Koers. Saddle up at koersmuseum.be.

If only Keiser Willhem and his cousins had got together over a decent Flanders beer, all that fighting might have been avoided. However, it was not to be, and the Great War turned out to be greater than anything before or since. We’re deep in the heart of the fighting here, tracing the Western Front with each step. e In Flanders' Fields Museum is the place to start of course, and right in the place most synonymous with the War: Ypres. e splendour of the setting - the Cloth Hall on the market square - defies the horror witnessed here. Totally razed in the repeated bombardments, Ypres and the Hall have been lovingly rebuilt.

Whether on a bike or not, make a getaway from it all in the rural municipality of Heuvelland. ere’s something here that most of Flanders envies. e clue is in the Dutch name meaning "hill country". e area is interconnected by charming villages, and bounded by Ypres, Poperinge and the bigger metropolitan area of Kortrijk-Lille, which straddles the French border and connects with Eurostar services. Call in and say hello to the friendly and helpful staff at the visitor centre for the region. You’ll find it in the village of Kemmel, well signposted (toerismeheuvelland.be). Park days are all the rage at Bellewaerde, near Ypres. Groups young and old are encouraged to spend the day at a mix of attractions, all set within a beautiful nature reserve. ere are over 30 thrill rides, and over 300 exotic animals including delightful Amur leopards - who specialise in a “are you for lunch?” look to visitors. No you’re not - but you can have lunch in any of the 18 restaurants, bars and shops on site. Pre-booked groups of 20 or more qualify for discounts (bellewaerde.be/en/groups).

e museum does not set out to glorify war, but to suggest its futility, particularly as seen in the West Flanders front. e personal stories of how the First World War affected the lives of individuals of many nationalities are told through the many objects on display, interactive installations and lifelike characters. e displays include medical equipment, gas masks, and a mule and munitions wagon exhibit. emes of the consequences of war, how we look into our past, and how and why we remember are all explored. It is, to say the least, moving (inflandersfields.be/en). It’s a particularly poignant visit in the centenary of the ceasefire in 2018, and the armistice signing in 2019. Among the recent additions to the remembrance litany, is the Waregem visitor centre dedicated to the role of the Americans in the War, and a parallel exhibition documenting the contribution of war horses during the conflict. e apparently incongruous connection stems from Waregem’s equestrian heritage, and the fact that so many US troops who fell are laid to rest in city’s American Cemetery. Waregem lies halfway between modern Kortrijk and Ghent (hippowar.be). e annual horse trials are among the biggest on the Continent (eventingwaregem.be).

ROESELARE HAS A BEER CASTLE Never mind all that cycling stuff. Castle Brewery Van Honsebrouck uses the latest technology to preserve its family character. e site is actually four breweries in one. ‘Het Bierkasteel’, as they like to be known, is the name of their new brewing complex in Izegem, a settlement just south of Roeselare. e prospect of a delicious specialty beer, with a homemade meal on the side, attracts over 50,000 visitors a year. Your group could be among them www.bierkasteel.be

Ypres, despite it’s relatively small size, is written larger than any other name in the theatre of conflict in the Great War. You cannot help but visit the massive Menin Gate, but do try to be there for the 8pm Last Post. All around, the fields and towns are dotted with memorials, cemeteries and museums. e region though has much more heritage

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TALBOT HOUSE EVERY MAN’S CLUB Gasthuisstraat 43 I B-8970 Poperinge I Belgium I tel +32 57 333 228 & +44 2035 149 826 I info@talbothouse.be SLEEP @ THE MUSEUM Contact us for more information on staying at Talbot House. The museum is open daily between 10am & 5.30pm & closed on Mondays. (last admittance 4.30pm)

www.talbothouse.be

During the Great War, the army chaplains Neville Talbot and Philip “Tubby” Clayton opened a club in a house they rented in Poperinge. For more than three years, the house provided rest and recreation to all soldiers who came in. Rank and status were left at the front door, which allowed the tired men to forget about the war for a little while. Unlike many of the other dubious clubs and cafés in Poperinge at that time (the town was often called ‘Little Paris’ for a reason), Talbot House became a beacon of rest and tranquility.

EXPLORE THE EXHIBITION ON LIFE BEHIND THE LINES Today the House is a welcoming and friendly stop in Flanders Fields. Explore the house and learn about its stories, watch an authentic performance from World War One in the concert hall, enjoy the atmosphere in the well maintained garden and explore the exhibition on life behind the lines. You can even spend the night at the museum in one of our guest rooms.

TALBOT HOUSE 1915 - ?

EVERY MAN’S CLUB POPERINGE - BELGIUM

Let a British soldier and a Belgian girl from the Great War take you back in time to Talbot House as they used to know it.

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On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the House, a special rose is being sold. The “Talbot House Rose”, bred and cultivated for the old House, is for sale via our website and in our museum shop.


to its name, with the magnificent Cloth Hall a huge clue to that. Not surprisingly, brewing too plays a part in this rural landscape. So you need not go far to find a pleasant repast with hospitality to suit an entire group (toerismeieper.be/en/).

It’s still the same "Every Man’s Club" it was a hundred years ago (talbothouse.be/en/).

HEUVELLAND AND TALBOT HOUSE Around the region, there’s much more to see. e municipality of Heuvelland (Hill Country) is the most beautiful part of West Flanders - say the 9,000 or so denizens. Despite their proximity to France, the Flemish culture is to the fore, and the village names reflect that: Dranouter, Kemmel, De Klijte, Loker, Nieuwkerke, Westouter, Wijtschate and Wulvergem. Each as pretty as the next. artjazz shutterstock.com

To the west lies the slightly larger settlement of Poperinge. Here, in this tiny part of unoccupied Flanders, you’ll find Talbot House - Toc H. Popularised as an unofficial rest station, where rank was forgotten, Today, carrying on the tradition, Toc H offers a welcoming and friendly stop in Flanders fields. e house is still used on a daily basis. You can play the piano in the old canteen, relax with a cup of tea or even spend the night in one of the guest rooms.

More than ever, Ypres and the Westhoek have become a meeting place where people come to explore the history of their ancestors or native country. Where they can reflect both on history with a capital H and the many little yet grand # PERSONAL STORIES of soldiers and civilians. At the In Flanders Fields Museum lifelike characters and # INTERACTIVE INSTALLATIONS confront the contemporary visitor with his fellow man in the war that took place a century ago. As it is, the museum not only becomes a place of meeting, but of exchange as well. A place where the story of a hundred years ago is still being written... and shared, even today.

YPRES

SHARING HISTORY

# GATEWAY TO WWI IN FLANDERS

# PERSONAL STORIES # COMMEMORATION

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CLOTH HALL GROTE MARKT 34 B 8900 YPRES BELGIUM

WWW.INFLANDERSFIELDS.BE


HEUVELLAND VISITORS CENTRE Just 6 miles away from Ypres, you’ll nd our new, kids-friendly visitors centre! Here you can nd out everything you need to know about the landscape surrounding the Kemmelberg and its many sights of interest, both great and small. Dozens of atmospheric images and plenty of tourist info will help to set you on your way to a truly memorable holiday experience. The visitors centre is an ideal rst stop on your voyage of discovery through Heuvelland. You can also enjoy a varied range of exhibitions for free!

VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO DISCOVER OUR NEXT EXHIBITIONS: www.tourismheuvelland.be

FOR MORE INFORMATION & PRICES CHECK OUR WEBSITE: www.tourismheuvelland.be Tickets Bayernwald & Command Bunker: available at the visitors centre ‘Het Heuvelland’ Visitors Centre ‘Het Heuvelland’: Sint-Laurentiusplein 1 – B-8950 Kemmel T. 0032 57 45 04 55 – toerisme@heuvelland.be – www.tourismheuvelland.be


Getting back to Blighty From our adventure to Flanders, we took a new perspective on old traditions (the British abroad on the Flemish seaside resorts); a retrospective on Bruges and all its ancient past (no mention of the film); a thrill on Antwerp’s bustling port (diamonds are forever); kilometre aer kilometre of manicured countryside and woodlands; a whole collection of lovely little towns (and all of them away from the usual tourist destinations); the vibrancy of Leuven’s student culture (and the breweries of course); Mechelen’s historic past (it’s still quite a little duchy); the futuristic outlook for Brussels; explored Anderlecht and found more than a football club; found a castle and a museum with beer attached (and learned about flavoured gin); and relived the tragedy of the Great War in the battlefields and cemeteries, before finding ourselves back at the coast. We truly were flat out in Flanders, and can’t wait to be back again.

So, here’s where our road trip ends. Almost back where we started. Except instead of going over the waves, we’re going under them. Our not very amphibious coach fits snugly onboard LeShuttle and, in a quick, dark, trice, rather like all the affairs of our courier Nigel - the thrill is over almost before it’s begun. From the Pas de Calais to the Garden of England in about 35 minutes, every day of the year (and round the clock too). Check in by checking out eurotunnel.com.

Eaccent1 shutterstock.com

Some of our party chose to make their own way, by way of Brussels and the spanking new Eurostar train, but we enjoyed a few more days in the Flanders countryside, and the delights of a traffic jam of 2CVs and tractors on the French side of the border. We didn’t work out what the dispute was about and, frankly, ever since that Agincourt thing, we’ve not been too bothered. Once at Frethune, boarding was a breeze, and before we knew it, we were gliding away for a smooth ride home.

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E.R./V.U. : Anthony R. Martin • rue du Cerf 191 • 1332 Genval • BELGIUM I Sweet Globe XVIII

VISITS • SEMINARS • BANQUETS • RECEPTIONS

BROUWERIJ - BRUGGE

BREWERY IN THE HEART OF THE CITY Meet the brewer and discover the process of beer blending !

Visit the brewery Every day 10h to 18h (except Monday) Kartuizerinnenstraat 6 • 8000 Brugge only 80m from the belfry

Beer brewed carefully, to be consumed with care.

bourgognedesflandres.be


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