Category Archives: Belgium

Pantone – colour goodness!

The Pantone Hotel I stayed at in Brussels was full of all sorts of beautiful colours. I adore colour and often look like a box of crayons vomited on me (thanks Helene for the crayon puke line!) As a result, it’s no big shock that I loved all the colours on display at the Pantone Hotel, as well as their fantastic products. Even the sugar in the breakfast room was colourful!

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The Pantone Hotel had many items available for sale, such as mugs, espresso sets and notebooks. What I most wanted was a Pantone bike, but that wouldn’t exactly fit in an overhead bin on the plane.

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Back home in Vancouver, I decided a little taste of Pantone was in order and I happily scooped up a couple of mugs from one of my favourite neighbourhood stores – Homewerx

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Filed under Belgium, Home decor

In Bruges

Fortunately my trip to Bruges did not involve me hiding out with Colin Farrell at the insistence of my boss Ralph Fiennes 🙂 For those of you who have not seen the film In Bruges, I highly recommend it! I’d heard wonderful things about Bruges and it did not disappoint.

In the Brussels train station, I ran into a lovely couple who were also trying to figure out where the heck to buy tickets to Bruges. We found out where to go and I inevitably ended up crashing their romantic day together – because who wouldn’t want to hang out with a future potential super hero whose sole purpose in life seems to be the pursuit of excellent snackage 🙂

Bruges is a beautiful place to spend the day. It looks like tiny gnomes with great taste in architecture built it 🙂 Tourism seems to be a major industry here, so if you want somewhere a bit off the beaten track, probably best to choose another destination like Ghent. However, I really wanted to see Bruges and I’m very happy I went.

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We came across a small market with artisans selling toys, jewelry and scarves. Of course I needed to fuel my scarf addiction 🙂 Each scarf is one of a kind, hand woven by this awesome guy and sold by his awesome wife.

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We also went on a boat ride on the canals. Let’s just say safety really isn’t a concern, as the goal is to stuff as many people onto the boat as possible 🙂 Mom, there weren’t any lifejackets either – sorry for freaking you out! Anyway, despite me being someone who’d wear a helmet all the time, I lived on the edge and enjoyed my scenic tour of Bruges by boat.

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Brussels – chocolate, pastry & the odd museum for good measure!

After Dublin, I decided to head to Belgium for two reasons: first, I’d never done more than pass through Belgium and figured it was a country I should really visit, the second goes without saying – chocolate!

One of my other passions besides sugary snacks is design. On this basis, I chose the Pantone Hotel. A really huge taxi bill later (beware, taxis from the airport are not almost free), I ended up in this boutique hotel in a residential neighbourhood. Do not be too disappointed by the location, as it is not too far a walk from Louise – a major shopping street and the metro.

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I think I just scratched the surface when it comes to chocolate in Brussels. I sampled chocolates from Neuhaus, Godiva (yes it tastes the same as it does here in Canada), Corne Port-Royal, Wittamar, Pierre Marcolini, Alex & Alex and probably more that I can’t remember from my intense sugar high 🙂

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In addition, I found a bakery I want to live in called Paul. Sadly it didn’t seem big enough for me to fulfill my Jabba the Hutt dreams….In any event, I became addicted to Le Gourmandise – think of it as an elongated pain au chocolat with lots more chocolate…and lots of buttery goodness – nom!

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Aside from slithering around, looking for more chocolate & pastry, I decided I should probably see a museum or two. I ended up at the Magritte Museum (showcasing the works of Belgian artist Rene Magritte) on a very rainy day. Wet & grumpy, I was not in a good mood when I was asked to check in my purse (especially when it seems that other people were allowed to bring in bigger bags than me). The museum is also connected to the Musees Royaux Des Beaux-Arts. I figured why not see that too 🙂

I found the museum rather confusing with its layout – but then again, I find maps are only useful to show me pretty lines & colours 🙂 If you do go, be sure to keep a hold of your ticket because museum folks will want to check to make sure you’re going to see the exhibits you actually paid to see. I passed on a Stanley Kubrick photography exhibit in favour of spending more money on snacks.

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Now if you can read maps (unlike yours truly), you’ll discover a whole bunch of chocolate shops nearby. I just wandered into a sculpture garden and a church until I saw a Godiva sign and decided to walk in that direction. After being wet & grumpy, it was like pure heaven. I was just sad I couldn’t eat more!

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Filed under Belgium, Nom nom nom