One time in Belgium

One time in Belgium


Bobbejaanland

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Jctravel1983 on November 24, 2010

Bobbejaanland

From April 4 to November 8 is Bobbejaanland open. The website indicated the opening hours per month. If you wish to visit this park you can so it is best to consult the website for opening times on the day you want to go. (Look at: park information and choose calendar).

Family Attractions

Of course important especially if you have some young children. Is there enough to do for this group? Below are the attractions in this category. The Ferris wheel, carousel and the monorail are known attractions that require no further explanation.

Pedal Horse: a kind of monorail in the air, but you actually have to work to get yourself ahead.

Convoy Trucks: fun for the little ones, a ride in a truck. Parents can go inside but it might be a little bit on the tight side.

El Paso: very nice ... you are sitting in a cart and drive while shooting with your laser gun on the objects and see what happens.

Desperado City: rock out as a cowboy, interactive game.

4D Theater: you watch a movie with special glasses ... you're in the middle of the movie!

Children: three floors a large paradise for the little ones. We ourselves have only gone through down here so I do not go what's happening but my nephew was dead excited!

Pony Ride: a ride on a pony (no, not really) but one that drives around on a track.

Flying Orca: an attraction where you usually see flying elephants for example. Your own orca move up and down.

King Kong's newest attraction, which opened for the first year! A twelve meters high King Kong which hold arailcar full of people over his head swings back and forth. Children from 90 cm to 1.30m must be accompanied by an adult.

Water attractions

These are the attractions that are pleasant when it’s warm and sunny!

Boat cruise: look around in a gazebo-like round boat. Here you will not go really fast or wet.

Big Bang: a water slide where you are in a rubber boat. Getting wet is guaranteed!

Whitewater Course: the famous tree that goes through the water ramp and go off course. High risk of getting wet.

Indiana River: a trunk again but this time within the dark jungle, very nice variation on the famous tree-trips. Splashes are not really avoidable, but you can still reasonably dry (no guarantee).

El Rio: rapids in the boat round, always fun and stay dry is a matter of luck ...

Bobby drop: definitely worth doing. In a large rubber boat going up a steep slide with water. Please tell your children that they hold tightly!

Banana battle: the attraction that opened last year. During a ride you try to shoot with a water cannon at monkeys, crocodiles and to shoot at each other! Guaranteed to get wet!

My opinion

We have a lovely day. It was still in the preseason and we almost didn’t had to wait for anything. The longest wait we had was ten minutes! How busy the high season is and how long the waiting times are I can’t say because I've been there only once. It's a very nice park to go. If you really go for the wildest rides you may find it a little too meager. But for a family outing is a great park. For all ages here is some fun to find. I have only mentioned a few attractions so if you want a complete picture of the park you will have to go to their website.
Bobbejaanland
Olensesteenweg 45
Lichtaart, Belgium, 2460
+32 14 55 78 11

The Dominican, lovely hotel to stay

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Jctravel1983 on November 24, 2010

The hotel has opened its doors in October 2007. The public areas and rooms were designed by the renowned Dutch design duo FG Style. The duo exists of Colin Finnegan and Gerard Glint Meijer and they have won a price in 2005 for best Interior design.

In the fifteenth century the building was used as a Dominican monastery and later the French painter Jacques-Louis David also lived and worked here for a while. The overall style is sleek and modern. They used mostly black and (off) white colors, alternating with accessories, for example, green, gold or brown. There is a terrace in the courtyard partially covered so that smokers can go outside in bad weather without getting wet.

The Location

The hotel is beautifully situated. Situated behind La Monnaie, the famous theater and opera house. The big market is within walking distance, like the many restaurants that the Brussels city center has too offer. Since the hotel is a bit on a side street you don’t have any problems with the traffic. I have to say that the rooms are soundproofed so that wasn’t even a problem. The hotel does not have its own parking but public parking is less than 100 meters from the hotel (you will pass it on your way to the hotel). The costs are about 15 euro’s per 24 hours.

The staff

For now, I can only be complimentary about the staff. Both the staff behind the reception desk and in the bar / restaurant is knowledgeable, prompt and friendly. I have once stated that there was no bathrobe in my room and that they solved it within 5 minutes. So I can only say that the staff is very friendly. I had questions about a good restaurant nearby and the staff behind the reception gave me really good tips. If you have made a choice, they call the restaurant for you to see if there is place and if so, they immediately book for you. So good service.

The room

I always stay in the Deluxe room, what is the standard room in this hotel. The rooms are equipped with bathroom with shower or bath and toilet, a large double bed, an LCD screen, mini bar, a large desk across the entire width of the room, wardrobe, iron and ironing board, safe, bathrobes, slippers and a Nespresso machine and kettle. Everything is tightly arranged as the room looks very modern. The room is extremely large.

The bed is soft, but firm. Equipped with a four pillows and a heavy quilt. The room is a bit on the warm side, but it comes with air conditioning. Personally, I prefer to open up a window. The TV is connected to the audio system in the bathroom. To my great surprise the TV not only provide French language channels. Indeed, the majority of the stations is English.

The Breakfast

It is an extensive buffet breakfast in the restaurant. Here is a selection of fresh bread (you can cut it yourself), chocolate croissants and rolls etc. The spread range from sweets to fresh fish and various kinds of cheeses. Additionally you can find various dishes with eggs to order from one of the staff around. I also sometimes encountered tapas. Of course you have also the standard part of the fresh fruit buffet. Yogurt, fresh fruit juice, coffee and tea make the breakfast buffet in my opinion completely. In most cases the price of a buffet breakfast costs around 20 euro’s.

Conclusion

After I had been here the first time, I never left so I think that says enough about what I think of this hotel. The bed and bathroom for me are always the most important aspects of a room in this hotel and both are excellent. The bathroom is spacious, clean and with a good shower or a bath. The bed is soft, yet sturdy and features a double mattress (not affected by gap between two mattresses). The dimensions of the room is good and is well equipped with all comforts. The TV usually has English stations which is a positive point. Additionally, the use of wireless Internet throughout the hotel is free. An absolute advantage over other hotels that I stayed where I had to pay about 20 euro’s for one day Internet. The breakfast is very good and extensive. The staff is very friendly and service oriented. Based on the above, this hotel I really recommend it to anyone. It's the best 4 star hotel where I've ever been. Especially for a weekend in Brussels is an excellent starting point because it is so centrally located. In addition, hotels in Brussels are a lot cheaper on weekends than on weekdays.
Dominican Hotel Brussels
Rue Leopold 9
Brussels, Belgium
+32 (2) 203-0808

Walibi Belgium

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Jctravel1983 on November 24, 2010

First impression

Upon entering the park you will notice that it is very tidy. The floors are clean and there are enough bins. The aisles are wide enough for the stream of people getting through. Here and there are places to rest. Also you will find places where you can take pictures like an Egyptian crypt to take a photograph. The signs of the park are inadequate so make sure you have a map.

A few attractions

Dalton terror
Free fall! The Dalton terror is a 77 meters high tower surrounded by four seats. The seats are equipped with the 4 Daltons. Everyone knows it from the cartoons of Lucky Luke. The tower slowly goes up and remains high for a few seconds then a free fall of 77 meters follows. The fall comes with a phenomenal speed of 110 km per hour. I can tell you that my heart went in my throat. This attraction is worth it to me and scores very high on the excitement meter.

The werewolf
The werewolf is a 1028 meters long wooden roller coaster. At 30 meters height begins the descent at a dizzying speed of 80 km per hour. This speed is maintained while being hurled through the various bends. It is an intense roller coaster, I was completely shaken out. In one of the slopes they take a picture. These can be purchased at the end of the ride. The quality of these images is poor, but it's a nice memory. The photo cost me € 8. A picture frame with costs € 11.

Octopus
The octopus takes you with his swinging arms into the air where at a nice speed spinning around. At the beginning of the journey seems not so bad but that changes quickly when it suddenly goes really fast.

Dragon boat
The dragon boat is the most boring ride in the park. It is also a children's attraction. It consists of rotating Viking boats on the water.


The animation

With very park belongs a theme and mascot. The mascot of the park is a kangaroo, which was located at the entrance of the park to take a picture. Wok the dragon and a few other mascots were there, each with their own photographer. We thought it was funny to take a picture with the youngest one but while we where waiting the photographer became pushy and even aggressive towards the queue of people. Our nephew got even scared so we complained at the rude behavior of the man and walked of. The mascots in the park where really friendly and very good with children.

Toilets
The toilets in the park are free. They are well maintained and there are enough. The toilets themselves were provided with sufficient toilet paper and hygienic bin. It all looked clean.

Eat and drink
At different positions were ice cream, waffles, hamburgers and beverages. The price is good and fits the average prices of the theme parks. Some stalls were with terraces. The terraces looked clean and were equipped with large umbrellas for shade or even in the rain to sit.

The staff
The staff was very friendly except for the photographer. The attractions were all guided and controlled. The staff gave a friendly and cheerful impression.

Conclusion

Personally I find the standard ticket prices too expensive. As a group we went there. Upon arrival everything was well organized, the parking lot was quickly assigned. After the entrance the frustration began with the rude photographer. A real shame to call out to visitors. The facilities and the park are tidy, there is sufficient attention to the cleaning of the park. Here and there are cleaners walking in the park. The map clearly shows all the attractions, toilets and food stands. All is very clear. You have an clear overview of the park and a clear route. The signs are ok but it’s really stated if an attraction is suitable for the young ones. The attractions are good and you have a good amount of different attractions so everybody will like something!
Walibi Belgium
Boulevard de l'Europe 100
Wavre, Belgium
32 10 42 15 00

In Flanders Fields Museum

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Jctravel1983 on November 24, 2010

We travelled to the city and surrounding of Ypres in Flanders. A visit to the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres,in the centre of the town, is a must particularly since the large proportion of the Belgian soldiers at the battles over 90 years ago seems all but forgotten. Wrongly, as the Belgian army has offered heavy resistance against the German invaders. Historians and military experts are almost unanimous about the heavy opposition the Belgian army offered, ensuring that the German invasion of France through Belgium got delayed so that the French army had time to mobilize . This mobilization made sure again that the German advance was stopped in northern France.

History of the German invasion of Belgium.

In 1897, Alfred von Schlieffen became the German chief of general staff. Still in the same year he announced his plan to invade France. (The so-called Schlieffen Plan) France is since the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 -1871 an arch enemy of Germany. The fact that Germany, as one of the major powers in Europe, virtually has no colonies, is one of the many frustrations with countries like France and England. Part of the Schlieffen plan to invade France, is that the attack will take place through the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Later the plan was changed and the Netherlands remains unaffected in the march to France. The German plan leaks out and begin July 1914 the Belgian army beings to mobilize. On August 2, 1914 there was a German ultimatum to Belgium where free passage is required for the German armies through Belgium. The reply from Belgium is not as important for Germany since that same day the German armies have invaded Luxembourg. On August 4, the German army invaded Belgium. Initially the German advance seems unstoppable, but then encounters the Belgian army in Liège. It takes 12 days before the German army had conquered the last fortress of Liege. The situation around Liege is typical since at various points the German army encounters hard and very courageous resistance of the Belgian army which brings the total advance through Belgium extremely slow. Although most of the German army had occupied Belgium they are later stopped due support by British and Canadian troops in the far west of Belgium.

‘In Flanders Fields’ is the title of a poem by the Canadian military physician John McRae. He wrote the poem in 1915 and died in 1918 of the effects of a pneumonia with meningitis. The main theme, aside from the fact that the poem deals in Flanders, are poppies. This flower grew only on the devastated landscape of Flanders in the First World War. It is this poem that gives its name to the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres on the Market. John McRae (1872-1918):

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place, and in the sky
The Larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We Lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved, loved and Were, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Location.

As stated, the museum is at the Grand Place in Ypres. The Grote Markt is situated in the center and the museum is housed in the Lakenhallen. The Lakenhallen was in the middle and a commercial warehouse for Laken. Ypres in the First World War, like many surrounding cities were hit hard especially by the German artillery.

Theme.

In the In Flanders Fields Museum is an overview of the progress of World War I to see. All this is supported with authentic materials such as photos, maps, models, guns, grenade shells, gas masks and helmets. What really makes it special is the personal view on the first world war. This personal view is represented by a card with a barcode and a name. In various places in the museum are displays where you can put your card in. You then get to hear the story behind the person you have on your card stand. On my card was the name "Willi Siebert. We followed the lives of Siebert as he was born in 1893. He trained as a student pharmacist in 1914 and was called up for service. When the army leadership found out that he knew a little about chemistry, he was transferred to the component that was preparing for the use of chlorine as a weapon. Siebert was one of the soldiers in 1915 who performed the first chlorine gas attack in history. Siebert survived the war and died in 1961 of a heart attack. Of course there are also stories of Allied soldiers but also civilians and nurses from the first world war.

Conclusion / opinion.

The Flanders Fields Museum is a must for those who are interested in the First World War. The museum gets its value by the various personal stories of soldiers, nurses and civilians. The person whose story is told, varies from time to time so it is worth to visit the museum from time to time.
In Flanders Fields Museum
Lakanhallen - Grote Markt 34
Ypres, Flanders, 8900
32 0 57 239 220

Church of our Lady

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Jctravel1983 on December 11, 2012

Bruges is a beautiful mediaeval town certainly worth the trip when in Belgium. We stayed here for the weekend and just had enough time to explore the whole town. The entire town is like a museum with beautiful old building, squares and parks that are breathtaking. It’s one of the most beautiful peaceful towns that I have been too but certainly not boring.

One of the most beautiful churches in Europe can be found in this town and is called the Church of our Lady. It’s one of the most impressive buildings I have seen. The church dates back all the way to the 13th century and it took them almost two centuries to build. You can clearly see they spend a lot of time building it as the details are amazing. The church reached a height of 381 feet making the tallest brick built spire in the world.

The building attracts many tourists wondering by its beautiful exterior but the inside is even more beautiful. First of all the atmosphere felt very serene and although I have seen churched that were more lavishly decorated, still church felt more intimate and special. The stain glass is absolutely beautiful but most people come here to admire the Michelangelo statue that can be seen inside the church. We learned that it was actually the only statue of Michelangelo to leave the city of Rome during his life. The alter can be seen at the front of the church and is simply a piece of art.

Since the building is quite famous in Belgium and most tourists know about the church, it can be very busy here. The entrance fee is about four euro’s but it’s certainly worth it and you help the church with the money you pay. It’s certainly a small price to pay. I would advise to come back during the night as the outside of the church is beautifully light up and is truly amazing to see.

The Church of our Lady is one of the most impressive churches I have seen and it’s certainly the most beautiful building to be found in Bruges. I gave it five stars but only because I can’t give anymore!
Church of our Lady
Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerkhof Zuid
Bruges, Belgium
050/34-53-14

http://www.igougo.com/journal-j77631-Belgium-One_time_in_Belgium.html

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