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London/Brussels (24 Dec-03 Jan '16)

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Don’t be deceived by its West London locale. Notting Hill may be one of the city’s poshest neighborhoods but all that is forgotten when it comes to its outdoor flea market. Portobello Market is mainly known for its impressive collection of...
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Place de la Vieille Halle aux Blés 37, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
When visitors to Belgium ask me what to eat here (besides the inevitable chocolate, waffles and frites), my reply is always stoofvlees (unless they are vegetarians!). Stoofvlees, or carbonnade a la Flamande as it’s called in French, literally...
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Alsembergsesteenweg 108, 1060 Sint-Gillis, Belgium
I’ve had so many great dining experiences in Belgium, it’s hard to choose a favourite. I can say, without reservation, La Buvette is in my top five. La Buvette is warm and classy without feeling overly stuffy or formal. The concept is simple – one...
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Square de l'Atomium, 1020 Bruxelles, Belgium
Step right up and see the amazing Atomium! This monument was built for the 1958 World's Fair in Brussels. It never achieved the recognition of Paris' Eiffel Tower, but has its own special iconic status in Belgium.
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1000 Brussels, Belgium
This is the gem of Brussels.........
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1000 Brussels, Belgium
I don't understand why these fried potatoes tastes 100% different from the ones I buy at my local frites shop in Seattle. It must be the Belgium's touch. Each fried stripes were heavenly, not too hot that would burn the roof my mouth. After...
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Brussels, Belgium
Belgian Chocolates are not just ordinary chocolates but they are a tradition. For over a hundred years, the Belgians have been experimenting and offering the best gourmet chocolates to the world. I was in Brussels for a day and I spent most of the...
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Sint-Katelijneplein, 1000 Brussel, Belgium
The most interesting part of Brussels' Christmas Market is in St Catherine's Square, where there are not only food and drink stalls, as well as those to buy gifts, but also a chance to go ice skating and ride a very big Ferris wheel. The square is...
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Impasse de la Fidélité 4, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
If you're in Brussels and like beer, I mean all kinds of beer, then the Delirium Cafe is the place for you! The cafe is somewhat tucked away in the restaurant section of the city, just off of the grand place. The short walk is worth it and while...
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Impasse de la Fidélité 4, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Delirium Café has hundreds and hundreds of beers but of course the most popular is their very own Delirium and Delirium Nocturne. If I'm driving however, I often opt for something not as strong, like the Floris Cactus. Not sure if it tastes like a...
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Boulevard de Waterloo 44, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Tucked away in tiny Parc D’Egmont, just minutes from busy Avenue Louise, is L’Orangerie. Through the week, this restaurant is popular with the ‘ladies who lunch’ and the office tower executives. However, on Sunday the atmosphere changes, when it...
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Rue Sainte-Catherine 36, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
If you’re searching for the best gourmet offerings from Europe’s forests and fields, don’t miss the Champigros shop near Place Saint Catherine, in Brussels. The shop’s name comes from a combination of the French words “champignons grossiste,” or...
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Galerie du Roi 5, 1000 Brussel, Belgium
The Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert is one of the oldest covered shopping arcades in Europe. This upscale shopping mall is located just opposite the Grand Place and is a beautiful place to window shop. Inside you will find jewellery, handbags, a...
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Rue Léopold 9, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
The Dominican Hotel, in central Brussels, takes its name from its home on the site of a former Dominican abbey. It’s now a luxurious hotel with an interior that contrasts its classical architecture with modern design. Rooms are tranquil, plush and...
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Rue de l'Eglise 112, 1150 Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Belgium
If you still need a gift for that one person on your shopping list who doesn’t eat chocolate, head to one of the many Maison Dandoy cookie shops dotted around Brussels. Dandoy is a Belgian institution and they have been making cookies in Brussels...
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Vossenplein 76, 1000 Brussel, Belgium
Step inside the unique and beautiful House of Wunders to discover how you can bring the beauty of the natural world to your home. The home decor items in this unique shop come straight from nature and range from crystals and fossils to furniture...
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Emile De Motlaan 19, 1000 Brussel, Belgium
Wine bars are a recent phenomenon in Brussels but in the past few years, they have been popping up around town like mushrooms after the rain. Back in those pre-wine bar days, I dreamed someone would open my perfect wine bar in the city centre and,...
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Rue Léopold 9, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Even a Brussels native would be forgiven for thinking, at first glance, that the Dominican is a historic building. After all, the façade incorporates many of the features that existed when renowned 19th-century French painter Jacques-Louis...
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Rue des Sablons, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
While Brussels Sablon Square is most famous for shopping (especially if you are in the market for Belgian chocolate) it’s well worth visiting the pretty church at the top of the triangle. The Église Notre Dame du Sablon (Church of Our Lady of...
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Rue Henri Maus 19, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Built in 1886 as a couple of houses, the buildings were bought and then refurbished by Mr. Houbbion, who often worked with Victor Horta. The building is full of art nouveau motifs and the front windows are what first catches your eye as they are...
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Katelijnestraat 5, 8000 Brugge, Belgium
When in Belgium, make sure to try not only the famous chocolates, but also the hot chocolate! During a tour of Bruges, we became so enchanted with the medieval city that we decided to sneak away from our tour group and explore on our own—and I'm...
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Bruges, Belgium
One of my favorite things to shop for in Belgium are the tapestries. Hand or machine made, they are incredibly beautiful and when displayed in the house they give such a royal feel to the place. I have so many things but every time I go to a new...
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Bruges, Belgium
One great thing about the Belgian Christmas markets is that you will most definitely find a table with local cheeses and one with local meats, hams, and sausages. This table was at the Bruges Christmas Market and was set by the Baliehof farm. The...
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Bruges, Belgium
This colorful display of Matryoshka dolls caught my attention at the Bruges Christmas market. There are all kind of interesting things sold there. You get winter clothing, hand made household items, chocolate, Christmas ornaments and toys. I love...
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Bruges, Belgium
Bruges is one of the best cities to visit in Belgium. I haven't been able to visit it properly in winter until now. Getting to see it after dark, beautifully decorated is a wonderful experience. I love the old, traditional buildings covered in...
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Euston Road, London, Greater London N1 9AL, UK
Travel more often stirs excitement, curiosity and, sometimes, even jealousy. But alas, for some of us, frequent travelers, the word travel is also synonym of separation - be it for a few days or a few months. I stumbled upon this statue at King's...
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Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, South Bank, London SE1 9PH, UK
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Why would an afternoon tea not offer... tea? Or cucumber sandwiches? Because this is London, the city where the only rule is originality. The OXO Brasserie, on the top floor of the iconic South Bank building, offers a one-of-a-kind afternoon tea...
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Bankside, London SE1 9TG, UK
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It’s impossible to ignore the hulking 1950s architecture of the Tate Modern, slap-bang in the middle of the most-walked part of the South Bank. A visionary refurb of this former power station has resulted in an artistic behemoth with multiple...
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103 Borough Rd, London SE1 0AA, UK
South Bank has both the best river walk in London and the city's liveliest cultural centers, so a walk along it is a must. The path takes you from the Globe and the Tate Modern along the Thames—passing Gabriel's Wharf with its...
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Renzo Piano’s Shard has divided opinion with its 309 meters (1,000 feet) of spiky glass construction and jagged top. But there’s no denying its sensational views. Access them by booking a meal at contemporary-British restaurant Aqua on...
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St. Martin's Pl, London WC2H 0HE, UK
Nestled in the corner next to the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square, the National Portrait Gallery isn’t as overwhelming as its larger sibling. It’s an absolute beaut of a gallery, with a permanent collection (free to...
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150 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1J 9BR, UK
Few things in life feel more luxurious than breakfast in bed. Especially when that breakfast is served with fine china and sterling silver. During my recent stay at The Ritz London, I was in no hurry to leave the comfort of my exquisite room,...
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St. Paul's Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD, UK
It really is a lovely cathedral though it is not in this picture. St. Paul's Cathedral towers over the shoulder of the photographer (me!) snapping a perfect picture of other entranced photographers. Loading, viewing and focusing, these...
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Greater London, UK
London has an abundance of unusual bars, for those looking for a special drinking experience. First on the menu—a rum bar with an entrance through a toilet. The Portside Parlour has the right amount of quirk for someone looking for a fun night...
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58 Poland St, Soho, London W1F 7NR, UK
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Some of the most intriguing cocktails in London can be found at Jason Atherton's bars in Soho: Social Eating House, Pollen Street Social, and the newly opened Newman Street Tavern. That's thanks to Gareth Evans, officially crowned the best...
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Somerset House, 150 Strand, London WC2R 0RN, UK
Tucked away inside the large space of Somerset House, this small gallery leaves a large impression. It houses the collection of the Courtald Institute of Art, a stunning set of early 20th-century art with a focus on French Impressionist and...
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London, UK
What was once a private hunting ground for Henry VIII is now a favorite destination for London locals and visitors alike. One of the eight Royal Parks, Hyde simultaneously serves as a natural oasis and civic hub. A day on the green has endless...
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Regent St, Carnaby, London W1B 5AH, UK
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It’s no coincidence that walking around Liberty feels as if you’re exploring someone’s grand home; the department store’s founder, Arthur Lasenby Liberty, wanted to create that very feel, and so in 1875 settled on a...
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Burg 13, 8000 Brugge, Belgium
These people claim to have a vial of Christ's blood that was given to them during or after the crusades.
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Markt, 8000 Brugge, Belgium
Architectural feast!!! Look out for horse-drawn carriages!
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Dijver 5, 8000 Brugge, Belgium
The prix fixe lunch menu at Den Dyver in Brugge comes with a beer pairing option. Our first meal in Belgium and a taste of things to come.
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Markt, 8000 Brugge, Belgium
Come for the chocolate, stay for the frites; and the beer for that matter. The Belgian chefs introduced the fried potato two centuries before the French got around to them. The Flemish have their Brussels sprouts and Belgian waffles, but when I'm...
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Walplein 26, 8000 Brugge, Belgium
I'll admit it, I'm a beer geek. But the words about to dance off this page won't be littered with grain, hop, malt and brewing techno-babble. My goal is boost your beer brain on the biology of Belgian beer from one of the oldest purveyors on the...
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Simon Stevinplein 19, 8000 Brugge, Belgium
Sivan Askayo visited Flanders as a guest of Visit Flanders. If there is a specific moment or event that I can pinpoint and say it was the highlight of my trip, I can easily say that sniffing cocoa powder at The Chocolate Line in Bruges was...
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Walplein, 8000 Brugge, Belgium
Sivan Askayo visited Flanders as a guest of Visit Flanders. Did you know there are 700 kinds of beer brewed in Belgium? Neither did I, but I was happy to find out about it when I visited the family brewery, De Halve Maan, and took a guided tour....
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Boondaalsesteenweg 395A, 1050 Elsene, Belgium
"Money can’t buy happiness but it can buy ice cream and that’s almost the same thing." This motto is painted across the wall of the Capoue artisanal ice cream shop on Place St. Josse. They are right. Ice cream here does equate to happiness. Capoue...