Guest Author - Ann Carroll Burgess
BEAUTIFUL, BOUNTIFUL BELGUIM
Belgium may not be the first country to pop onto your radar screen when considering a European visit, but it should be. This is one of the most fun and affordable countries on the continent. It is also continuing to grow culturally with new museums opening, music festivals and charming hotels.
There is always something happening in Belgium, particularly at La Grandí Place. This centuries old landmark in the heart of the city is silled with markets, cafes, museums and shops. In August, Grandí Place turns into a floral wonderland when the three day Tapis de Fleurs, is held from the 13th to the 15th of the month. And if flowers do not appeal then be sure not to miss the Belgian Beer Weekend in September.
Jazz is big in Belgium! No wonder considering that the saxophone was invented here. If you missed this yearís Jazz marathon in Brussels then be sure to mark your calendar for the next time.
Classical music is always in season and during the summer months of June to October in Wallonia, the French speaking part of Belgium, where quartets, orchestras and soloists can be found performing in open air venues, cathedrals, abbeys and churches.
The new Magritte Museum, displaying the largest collection in the world of surrealist painter Rene Magritte has opened to critical acclaim. The collection also includes archival material, letters, photographs and drawings. The museum is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 9:30am to 5 pm, and late night on Wednesday until 8pm. Donít you love it when museums are open at night? An evening in a museum makes a nice change from simply dinner and drinks out.
Just a short train ride away from Brussels in Louvain-la-Neuve, a university town certainly worth a detour, is the new Herge Museum. Herge is the creator of the popular Tintin and the opening of this museum marks the first public exhibition of the artists immense body of work. To add to the experience, is the building, designed by noted French architect, Christian de Portzamparc.
Wan to shop till you drop? Brussels has a market for you! Markets happen all year long in this country. Some of the most popular are the Christmas markets held during the month of December. However, all Belgian towns hold special flea markets and you wonít have any problem finding one on a Saturday or Sunday. Try the antique market at the Place du Grand Sablon or for serious antique hunters plan to arrive in January for the serious BRAFA market, or the Bruneaf Market in March.
Whatever it is you are looking for in a European country you are sure to find it in Brussels. Castles, stone-built villages, gourmet restaurants, carnivals, fetes, and so much more.
For more information and a calendar of events be sure to visit: www.visitbelgium.com .