Tag Archives: Belgium

Brugge and Lille

Last week, I went to Belgium for a five-day work trip with two colleagues. My days were spent curating a photo exhibition, holding a press conference, and delivering a speech at the exhibition opening. All things that I don’t usually do, but which I really enjoyed. In our free moments, my colleagues and I explored the seaside town of Knokke-Heist, where we were staying, and beyond.

One of the highlights was spending an evening in Brugge. I have been to Belgium numerous times and visited almost every major city, with the exception of Brugge. Our first stop was a waffle house and then a chocolate shop.

Not long after we headed into the side streets in search of a place with music for the evening. We ended up instead at Café De Republiek to sample a few Belgian beers as we talked about our favorite literature. After a further wander, we headed for a delicious dinner at Bistro Refter.

The day before the official exhibition opening, we had some extra time. I grabbed my speech to practice and we hopped in the car for a drive along the Belgian coastline, a late lunch in Dunkerque, and an evening in Lille. Just across the Belgian border, Lille is the fourth largest city in France.

We browsed through an open air book market, which had a fascinating collection of caricatures and advertisements from the ’60s.

After a further walk through the city and a sampling of macarons, we went to a simple, rustic restaurant for dinner. Throughout the week, we had great conversations over the dinner table, from hilarious accounts of awkward travel moments to serious questions about life and death. On our way back to Knokke-Heist, we told ghost stories as we drove across the darkened Belgian countryside.

a visit to Ghent

After a very peaceful Christmas, I went on a short trip to Ghent with my cousin Vanessa who was visiting for the holidays. Ghent is a small town in the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, which I visited earlier in autumn while on a work trip. The city looked so quaint that I thought it would be the perfect post-Christmas destination. Vanessa and I ate waffles, drank a sufficient amount of Belgian beer, dined at a cozy restaurant, discovered a fantastic club with a live electronic band, climbed to the top of a small castle, and spent a lot of time just wandering and looking.

50 Congolese Portraits by Stephan Vanfleteren

On the anniversary of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s independence from Belgium, the BBC presents a selection of 50 Congolese photographed by Stephan Vanfleteren. Each photo is accompanied by a short quote from each individual, adding depth to the captivating portraits (via @michabruinvels).