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Delightful Day trips To Take On Your Visit To Brussels

Brussels is superbly located for quick-trips to several charming cities in Belgium. The three day-trips in this article have been highlighted because of their proximity to Europes capital.A little over half an hour by train from the very heart of Brussels is the busy city of Antwerp. If you have a longer stay in Brussels, youll want to experience a day here to enjoy its interesting fashion shops and nice mix of good value restaurants. If you fancy a stay overnight then the abundance of good, clean hotels will be a welcome sight particularly as they charge significantly less than youll pay in Brussels. You can book a hotel from the tourist office in the town centre of Grote Markt.- After checking out Grote Markt amble over to the Onze Lieve Vrouwekathedraal one of the most impressive medieval churches to be found anywhere in Belgium, Onze Lieve Vrouwekathedraal dates back to the 15th century.- Quite similar to Brussels, there are no shortage of restaurants and cafes in Antwerp however it is significantly cheaper to eat.Bruges is slightly farther away from Brussels than Antwerp, but still conveniently placed for a day-trip. It takes about an hour to reach Bruges by train and its well worth the effort when you consider the beauty this well preserved medieval city has to offer. Because of this, Bruges can often be packed in peak season and it can be difficult to obtain accommodation so be sure to book a place in advance if you plan to spend the night. Being a tourist hotspot, eating out in Bruges can be somewhat more expensive than other places in Belgium, and the food tends to cater to the mass number of tourists that flood the city during peak times.- Make sure you take a romantic boat ride along the cities beautiful canals. You can get a ticket for under six Euros.- Bruges offers a choice of worthwhile museums such as Groeninge (displaying a fine collection of Flemish art from as early as the 14th century). The Gruuthuse Museum is another that museum lovers will enjoy set amidst a grand medieval mansion Gruuthuse offers an exquisite collection of art & tapestry.- Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk took over two hundred years to build and this sprawling church of our lady dates back to the thirteenth century.- The Markt is one of the two central squares of Bruges city centre an open market has been held here as long ago as the tenth century.GhentHere are the must-see sights in Ghent if you happen to come for a short stay:- It took approximately six hudred years to complete St Baafskathedraal Ghents most prolific and oldest Cathedral and some parts of this gothic masterpiece stretch back to the twelfth century.- Gravensteen Castle was constructed in the eleventh century and its one of the most prolific landmarks of Ghent. Closeby are the Museum voor Sierkunst en Vormgeving (with various displays depicting Ghent life over the past couple of centuries) and the fish market (Vishmarkt). There are alternative museums to visit Museum voor Schone Kunsten has a large display of art dating back to the 14th century while the Bijlolemuseum is held in a building that was first built in the 13th century.- Stroll along the river Leie for one of the most pleasant walks available anywhere in Belgium.- If youre planning on staying the night you should be able to find a room that meets your requirements. Accommodation is typically fairly easy to secure (except for July when the town hosts Gentse Feesten). Its possible to secure a basic room from as little as 25 euros or if youre able to afford something more extravagant you could kip in style for 400 euros.

If your stay in Brussels extends to a week or more, you should certainly consider a day-trip to at least one of these wonderful Belgian cities.

The Manchester of France

The city of Lille, which was built on the Deule River, and was first founded in 1066, during the Medieval ages. In the 19th Century, the city Lille became a large industrial city, and the population tripled in a short time.

Lille was taken by the Germans in May 1940, after brief resistance by a Moroccan Infantry division. On September 3rd 1944 the German troops began to leave Lille, fearing the British, who were on their way from Brussels. Following this, the Lille resistance managed to retake part of the city before the British tanks arrived.

Lille was once known as “the Manchester of France” but the old textile mills and dirty heavy industry have now gone, driven out of business in the second half of the 20th century by lower cost foreign producers.

The city is a haven for shoppers. Euralille Avenue Le Courbusier was opened with the channel tunnel in 1994, this impressive business and leisure development houses over 140 shops, hotel and apartments on street level, a Carrefour hypermarket, a roller blading venue in the basement and in one of the tower blocks is Aeronef, music venue and a nightclub.

High-street brands line the pedestrians streets in Central Lille. Sunday is market day. The biggest is at Wazemmes but there’s another one in Old Lille, at the end of the rue de la Monnaie, where the locals say the fruit is better quality.

The city has over 100,000 students to keep the night life vibrant, although one of the nice things about Lille night life is that different age groups mix. Beer is the drink of choice, and almost every beer has a glass to match. The student hang-outs lining the rues Massena and Solferino. If you want a quite night the best night spots are in cosy bars in Vieux Lille.

The Hospice Comtesse Museum is located in the heart of Lille’s old town. Founded in 1237 by Joan of Constantinople, Countess of Flanders for the ailing inhabitants of Lille, the rambling edifice is a maze of rooms where old wards follow on to a chapel and a nunnery.

On the out skirts the Museum of Modern Art houses an extensive and varied collection of 20th-century and modern art originating from various donations, including the Aracine and Masurel collections. The museum has also developed a strong collection of contemporary art focusing on Lyrical Abstraction and Narrative Figuration, with works by Daniel Buren, Martin Barre, Jean-Pierre Bertrand, Gerard Gasiorowski and Claude Rutault. In 1995 the museum received a substantial donation of art brut from L’Aracine.

Hotel reviews: Infotel, Mons, Belgium

At August Bank Holiday in 2005 we went on another extremely successful long weekend to Belgium. This time we were staying in a different region of Belgium and had the opportunity to experience the French rather than Dutch influenced region of Hainaut (previous trips have taken us the northern province of Flanders) and the Infotel Hotel in Mons.

~~~WHERE IS THE INFOTEL?

The hotel can be found on the Rue d’ Havr near the centre of Mons. It is about ten to fifteen minutes walk from the railway station (we had taken a train from Brussels which was about 40 minutes away), but there are three free shuttle buses from the station that all called in at the Grand Place (the town’s main square). This is the option that I recommend. Not only is the service free (my favourite price!) but the hotel only a couple of minutes walk from the square ~ a bonus with luggage!

~~~WHAT IS IT LIKE?

Although right near the bustling town square the hotel is tucked off of the street and is actually nice and quiet. The entrance the hotel is down a small alley way off of Rue d’Havr and is modern and made of a mixture of light and dark brick. The main door leads to a reception area (again very modern and stylish) at the end of a short corridor with display cabinets of souvenirs (including Belgian Beers and glasses) for sale. The reception area is small but perfectly formed, with a couple of comfy chairs to wait in while checking in (I’ll return to that later).

The breakfast room is just off of the reception area and is a little on the lines of a modern chic caf. It is on the small side and wouldn’t be able to accommodate all the guests if they all came down to eat together! There are some rather cool accessories containing a good selection of continental breakfast items. I was particularly impressed by the cereal dispensers that had taps on them! There was a lot of chrome and black!

Breakfast itself was rather nice and consisted of toast, bread, cold meats, boiled eggs, cheeses, yoghurts, fruit and the like. To drink we had orange juice, bottled water, a choice of teas, hot chocolate and coffee. A great selection and a good chance to stock up for the day! Breakfast also went on from 7 to 10 am to allow people to come down in shifts!

Our bedroom was a double on the ground floor. It was obviously pretty newly decorated, spotlessly clean and was in the modern style that seems typical of the hotel as a whole. The room was a good size and had a built in wardrobe, a safety

Five Things To See On Your Holidays In Belgium

Belgium is becoming a very popular European family holiday destination. Holiday makers like to take a family holiday in Belgium and rent self catering holiday accommodation. Belgium has some great holiday villas and self catering holiday apartments that can be rented direct from their owners as holiday accommodation.

The main international airport here is the Brussels airport, which was known as Zaventem before it was renamed. In case you are already in Europe you can easily reach here by a bus or train. There are some international bus services operating from and to Belgium. There are international services to Belgium everyday on Belgium Railways.

Belgium is situated in the western part of Europe and has around 40 miles of seacoast on the North Sea and Strait of Dover, together. It is enclosed by France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Belgium’s main rivers Meuse and the Schelde, are very important for commercial movement. The capital of Belgium is Brussels.

The capital city is not the only place to see and visit in Belgium. There are many other fascinating cities which include Ghent, Liege, and Bruges. They have very imposing architecture, great cuisine and enjoyable night life.

As it is a very beautiful and well preserved medieval city in Europe, Bruges of Belgium are known as the Venice of the North. Antwerp is famous for fashion and design in Belgium. The mountainous region of the Ardennes region to the east is a very beautiful place to see.

Some places to visit when you are holidaying in Belgium are the Gravensteen, which is also called Count’s Castle. It is situated in the heart of Ghent and was a very powerful seat of the 12th-century counts of Flanders. It is a typical castle which has moat, turrets and arrow slits. The view from the battlements is fantastic.

Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve or otherwise called High Fens is a marshy moorland with woods and wind blowing over. It is a plateau over Germany’s Eifel hills. People who love walking and cycling can be seen here. The Menin Gate or Meensestraat can be said to be a very sad reminder of Ypres past. You will see the names of 54,896 British and Commonwealth troops, who were lost in the Flanders trenches during World War I, inscribed on the huge white gate. The traffic stops every evening at 20:00, and you can hear the sound of the Last Post.

Cinquantenaire Museum is an unbelievable place with 350,000 artifacts, which are collected from every where. They are from anywhere in the world across all cultures and nationality. The majestic Royal Museum of Art and History has a permanent collection of all these amazing things.

Brussels’ outstanding central square, also known as the Grand Place, prides itself of the Belgium’s best baroque guildhalls, pavement cafes and friendly restaurants. It is concealed in the heart of the old town. You can only see it once you enter the place through the narrow lanes. Belgium is very well known for its special products like beer, mouthwatering chocolates, gorgeous lace, and do not miss on the Belgian waffles.

Shopping For Dogs In The Toy Group

The average future dog owner does not own acres of property. They don’t have a fenced backyard or thousand of square feet inside their home. They haven’t thought about their possessions being coated in dog hair or the bags they’ll need to purchase to pick up Fido’s poop. They just see a sweet little face with big paws, and wouldn’t that little diamond-studded collar look so cute on her? Are you an average future dog owner? By selecting a smaller dog, especially one in the Toy dog group designated by the AKC, getting your sweet little puppy will give you less heartache down the road.

There are many advantages to purchasing a smaller dog, or a Toy dog. If you live in an apartment, your little pooch will be able to stretch its legs each day just by running around. When you do take your dog outside to use the bathroom your cleanup will be much easier (if you live in a city that requires you to tidy up and scoop the poop). Being able to control your pup is easier too. Remember how your arm nearly came out of your socket when your German Shepherd saw that squirrel? Never again! You’ll also save money in food cost. You won’t have to purchase dog food in the fifty pound bags and lug them up three flights of stairs to your food-vacuum mutt. And speaking of vacuuming, that’s something you’ll be able to avoid, especially if you choose a shorthaired dog. Some of the Toy dogs have longer hair and require regular grooming. If you plan to breed or show or dress your Toy dog, this will be something you are aware of and are looking forward to.

Disadvantages to owning a toy dog seem to center around the “idea” of them. You want the idea of a big dog for security reasons. And with Toy dogs weighing on average 5 pounds (bitches’ weighing even less) that isn’t mentally reassuring. But these little ankle biters are just as protective as a big hound. In fact, small dogs are downright fearless. Men don’t want to own a Toy dog because small dogs are meant to lie on Grandma’s lap and in the purse of Paris Hilton. This isn’t the case! These miniature tail-waggers have boundless energy in spurts and can bring back a tennis ball with the best of them.

Getting a purebred dog is a fine idea and when you purchase a purebred, you have a good idea of what they’ll look like when fully grown and what to expect from their bloodlines. But rescuing a fleabag stray is a noble thing to do, and whichever pair of eyes and wagging tail you fall in love with is all right. People may consider all small dogs to fall into the “Toy dog” category, but according to the AKC the Toy list is as follows: Affenpinscher, Brussels Griffon, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chihuahua, Chinese Crested, English Toy Spaniel, Havanese, Italian Greyhound, Japanese Chin, Maltese, Manchester Terrier, Miniature Pinscher, Papillon, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Poodle, Pug, Shih Tzu, Silky Terrier, Tiny Fox Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier.

My true garden story

For many years my wife and I had talked about planting a little vegetable garden in our back yard. Nothing huge, we figured. Just a few of your easier-to-grow varieties, that was the plan. Then, somehow, my sister-in-law got involved.

Kris was famous for this sort of thing. Idea’s that would never have crossed her mind in a million years suddenly become her greatest goal once she the topic is brought up by someone else. She heard one of our garden discussions and, right over the top of whatever I was saying, spouted “I want to grow a garden!” My wife and I looked at each other, and without saying a word, agreed that things had just gotten very ugly.

With my sister-in-law things like ownership are a very grey area. When my wife Kim and I were first dating I had a small apartment in a rural community south Syracuse, NY. Although we weren’t officially living together yet, (Kim had a room at her grandmother’s house then), she spent just about every night with me there. The very first time Kris ever visited the apartment she stole my shampoo, apparently because it was the same brand that she used. Kim later told me that Kris apparently thought that Kim had taken the shampoo from her, and so, in her mind, she was just taking back something that belonged to her anyway. The only flaw in that theory was that the shampoo was mine, and it was the only bottle I had. The next time I saw her she asked me how I enjoyed washing my hair with hand soap.

Now we were going to share a garden. I had this sinking feeling that it was going to be the shampoo all over again. Obviously, since we had a backyard and she lived in an apartment building, we would be hosting the nightmare. We borrowed a roto-tiller from a friend, which I quickly learned was far easier to watch be operated on TV than it was to actually use. I had a very difficult time getting it to move forward in a straight line, although I was very good at getting it to bounce up and down like a jackhammer, and a master of getting it to lurch sideways. Eventually, however, I managed to till a nice 200 square foot area.

We selected tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, leaf lettuce and Brussels sprouts. The planting was probably the most painless part, and that’s speaking relatively, since I have a bad back, and there was pain involved, but not nearly as much as what ensued.

Almost from the begging arguments about whose turn it was to weed became the primary topic of discussion with regard to our little

Hotels – Travelling by Rail in Europe

When you think of going on your holidays, what springs to mind when it comes to travelling to your destination?

If you’re travelling by air, complications such as crowded airplanes – usually with plenty of screaming children – long waits for shuttle buses to your respective hotels and other general annoyances that come with travelling abroad.

But have you ever thought about rail travel? With prices from as little as £30 return for a journey from London to Paris, holidaying in Europe has never been easier. And with a wide variety of hotels in London available to the avid rail traveller, the potential for weekend breaks by rail travel has become more widely available.

With the recent refurbishment of London St Pancras station, passengers now have the opportunity to travel to Paris and Brussels via high-speed Eurostar services.

For those looking to experience rail travel in more than one country, there are a variety of different railcards available for across Europe. For a single fee you can purchase railcards that are valid for a certain amount of countries in a certain amount of time.

For example, you could start your journey in London, hop on the high-speed train to Paris before going on to a wide range of other destinations – from Munich to Madrid, the choice is endless.

And with some railcard deals stretching to include ferry travel from ports like Copenhagen, the sense of freedom provided by such deals allow for freedom of travel – provided you stick to within the timeframes of the pass.

For longer journeys you have the option of sleeper carriages whilst on board, depending on how long your journey might take you and at what time you will be travelling. Cabins are usually shared and provide the opportunity to either catch forty winks or simply sit back and enjoy the rolling scenery.

And upon arriving at your destination station, you can either go on to your next destination, or choo-choose to stay and take in the sights – finding eateries and hotels along the way – giving a greater sense of freedom and choice during your journey.

Luxury Villas Mougins

If you find Nice none too nice and Cannes a little over-run then a visit to Mougins might just remind you why the French Riviera remains one of Europe’s premier holiday destinations.

Situated just 7km (4 miles) North of Cannes, Mougins is considered as chic as its more famous neighbour, yet it offers a haven from the over-commercialisation and over-development that affects certain parts of the region.

Mougins is very much the destination for those in the know and has attracted some of the greatest cultural figures of our time. Yves St. Laurent, Jean Cocteau, Isadora Duncan, Christian Dior, Winston Churchill and Catherine Deneuve have all called Mougins home at some point in their lives and it was here that Pablo Picasso chose to spend the final fifteen years of his life.

Though occupied since Roman times, the majority of the village dates from the 15th century when it was the property of the Monks of Saint Honorat from the nearby Iles de Lerins, located just off the coast of Cannes. Nowadays many of the Abbey’s former properties, including hundred’s of luxury villas and apartments, are available to rent in Mougins.

Many people use the town as a base from which to explore the region and, during the Cannes Film Festival, villa rental in Mougins is big business, with luxury villas only available at premium prices. Fortunately, being blessed with a warm and sunny climate, the Cote d’Azur is a viable destination year round and off-peak villa rental in Mougins is not only affordable, but can provide value for money for people who require more than just a hotel room.

Set atop a hill overlooking the bay of Cannes, this former fortified village is also a wonderful destination in itself. Its narrow alleys, cobblestone streets and beautiful vistas give it an air of a movie set perfection that makes it an ideal destination for a romantic break.

The beauty of the village is complemented by a wealth of boutiques and cafes, while the more cerebral will enjoy the Museum of Photography which contains work from such famous photographers as Lartique, Cartier-Bresson and Robert Doisneau. Just outside of town, on the A8 Autoroute, one can find the Musee de l’Automobile which houses a large number of classic and racing cars including Ferraris and Bugattis, and for the ‘sportif’ amongst you there are scores of great golf clubs within a short drive.

But one can’t talk about Mougins without mentioning the food. The village is home to more Michelin rated restaurants than any other region in France. The best known of these is Le Moulin de Mougins, owned by the celebrated chef and writer Roger Verge and considered to be amongst the best restaurants in all of France.

Although Mougins has a number of good hotels, perhaps the best way to enjoy the area in an authentic a way as possible is by considering using one of the companies that provide rental villas in Mougins. They offer a great choice to suit all budgets and all requirements, whether you are looking for a luxury villa with swimming pool, or a smaller apartment to rent in the centre, Mougins has something for everyone.

Getting There:

By Air

The region is extremely well served and boasts two nearby airports, Nice Côte d’Azur (15 miles) which serves 10 million passengers a year and Cannes- Mandelieu which serves a more exclusive clientele.

By car

The journey from Paris takes 8 hours via the A8 motorway; from Monaco and Nice, the same road provides access from the opposite direction.

By rail

The TGV rail services provide access to Cannes from major French cities. Other cities with rail connections include London (9hours), Brussels (6 hours), Milan (5 hours), Basel (10 hours), Rome (10 hours) and Venice (10 hours).

Hotels in Brussels Belgium Making the Best of your Time

Brussels is not just the national capital of Belgium, but is also widely known as the Capital of Europe. The reason is being that the main governmental body of the European Union is situated in the city of Brussels itself. Brussels has a sparkling environment and also boasts of beautiful attractions and tourist spots. With imposing forts and buildings, medieval castles, narrow quaint streets, verdant parks, cafes, bistros, cozy restaurants and a vivacious lifestyle this city will leave you asking for more.

The city of Brussels is more than 1,000 years old and has Dutch and French as its regional language. Austerely beautiful all through the year, Brussels receives maximum number of visitors during the months from May to September. But since this is also the peak time, the places of interest, streets, restaurants are generally packed out. On the contrary, during winters although the weather is chilly, the locations are much pleasantly less crowded. This makes certain that your stopover at a museum is not done in a hurry. You may take your own sweet time to go museum hopping easily without any hassles. Besides, accommodation is easy to find during winters at much lowly rates as against summers. Cheap Brussels Hotel can be found in plenty in the city.

Brussels is a fine looking city, at every nook and corner you will find something or the other that will arouse your curiosity. Some of the most attention- grabbing places to visit in Brussels are as follows:

Grand Place

In the middle of the city- Brussels is sited an old town named the Grand Place or Grote Markt. Spread with beautiful quaint houses and eye catching gigantic buildings, the Grand Place is among the most beautiful towns around the globe. Most of the times, cultural events are held against the background of theses mega structures of the town, making the place a crowd puller. And do not forget to pick sundry bric-a-brac from the market place for your dear ones.

Musée des Instruments de Musique

A museum of its own kind the Musée des Instruments de Musique is distinct and intriguing. Showcasing the most unique and distinct compilation of musical instruments from around the globe, the museum pride’s itself on its large collection. The museum also gives you the chance to listen to these instruments via headsets… music lovers cannot ask for more.

Manneken Pis

Standing for the free spirited attitude of Brussels City, this miniature bronze sculpture portrays a child pee- peeing. The statue of Manneken Pis is just at a short distance away from the famous Grand Place and is also a great source of amusement.

Hotels in Brussels, Belgium are available in all price range. Varying from star hotels Brussels to Brussels budget hotels, everything is easy to find here.

To name a few Hotels is Belgium, we have:

Bedford Hotel Brussels

Located in the heart of the city, the Bedford Hotel of Brussels is a grand place to put up when you are on a visit in the beautiful City of Brussels. The Bedford is located in the midst of the renowned Eurostar or Thalys terminal and Grand Palace. The hotel is located only a little distance from the railway station and major business hub of the city.

Marriott Hotel Brussels

Within the spitting distance of Mont des Arts and Grand Place is the Brussels Marriot Hotel. Offering world class service and luxurious accommodation, this posh hotel is well equipped with all the necessary facilities.

Have a wonderful time vacationing in the City of Brussels.

BRUSSELS GRIFFON DOGS

Brussels Griffon dogs are also known as Griffon Bruxellois. The Griffon Bruxellois however can refer to three different breeds, the Griffon Bruxcellois, the Petit Brabacon and the Griffon Belge.

These dogs are identical except for their coats and colors. The Griffon Bruellois’s coat is wiry, red or reddish brown. The Griffon Belge’s coat is harsh and dense with either black, black and tan or black and red. Finally, the Petit Brabacon’s coat is smooth, glossy and short, which can come in all colors. All these breeds are sturdy toy dogs.

The Griffon’s or Griff’s, nick manes for these dogs, have thickset short bodies but are well boned. Their rounded head is large in proportion to their bodies with a prominent chin. Their ears are set high on their head with very black and extremely short nose. Their tail is wet and hold high.
Large black eyes are set well apart with long eyelashes that are black. They have an almost human expression with their eyebrows, moustache and beard.

They weight between 8 – 10 pounds, are 7 – 8 inches high and live to be 12 – 15 years old.

The dogs with the rough cats do not shed but the smooth and short coats dogs do shed.

Brussel Griffon’s are intelligent, sensitive but mischievous little dogs. They are also, curious, alert, cheerful, playful, and eager to learn and full of self-importance.

Their small size makes them unsuitable as a family pet although they get along well with children. It is recommended that if you have children they be over five years of age.

They get along with other dogs and other household pets.

These adaptable dogs have huge hearts and like to snuggle with their owner. They are happiest when they are with them and they will follow them around the house. They do need a lot of attention.

They are emotionally sensitive so they need to be socialized carefully when young. The Brussels Griffon may be difficult to housebreak. They do however make good watchdogs.

They can be willful and high-strung so they need gentle but firm handing when training. It is a good idea to make training fun to keep his attention. Obedience classes are recommended.

These dogs do well in apartments or condominium’s but need short walks and play time to get enough exercise. They are intolerant of cold weather though.

Grooming for these dogs depend on their coat type. The smooth coast dogs need regular brushing. The hard coats need grooming with a technique called “stripping”. This is done by pulling out dead hair by hand. Their beards need to be combed, occasionally bathed, nails trimmed short and their ears should be cleaned occasionally.

Health problems they are prone to are:

  • Heat stroke

  • Lacerations
  • Cataracts
  • Len luxation
  • Glaucoma

This breed originated in Belgium in the 1800′s. They were first used in coach houses to keep rats away. They were like Affenpinscher dogs but were later bred with Pugs and King Charles Spaniels. In the late 1800′s they were popular with noblemen and workers. After the First and Second World Wars this breed almost were extinct. Only through dedicated breeders were they able to survive.

This breed never has been popular and is considered an uncommon breed.