On the Road with Nancy Brown: There’s more to Belgium than Brussels

Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown shares travel tips in Belgium and the Netherlands and is off to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.



Brussels Crazy for Comic Strips

If you know Tintin, then you know about this popular Brussels comic strip character. Steven Spielberg will produce a live action feature based on the Belgium comic book series. Make sure to take the walking tour in Brussels of the comic strip walls and see if you can spot Tintin.

Ghent – The Less Discovered Belgium

University town’s come alive at night as students put down their books and party. Unlike sleepy Carmel and Napa Valley – the lights magically bring historic Ghent to life and create a fabulous backdrop to the Belfry and moon lit canals.

During my visit to St. Bavo’s Cathedral, I was able to watch professionals from the Los Angeles-based Getty Foundation labor over special microscopes as they worked to resort individual panels of the “Adoration of the Mystic Lamb.” The entire operation takes place on site at the cathedral and is open to the public for viewing.

Colin Farrell’s Bruges

Colin Farrell slept here. Colin Farrell shopped there. It’s true; Colin Farrell did patronize the same lace shop I visited in Bruges. The movie In Bruges was filmed in Bruges and movie star Colin Farrell, did help bring Bruges into its Technicolor greatness—come see for yourself. For more information on Flanders, visitflanders.us.

Agreed, a religious ceremony titled the Holy Blood Procession is not going to attract a lot of northern Californians to Bruges. Change the name to Magnificent Bruges parade of pageantry, marching bands and horses and you’ve captured my attention. The event has been taking place in Bruges, Belgium on Ascension Day since 1291, so it is doubtful that the name change will happen anytime soon. However, I highly recommend you time your visit around May if possible. The flowers are in bloom, the weather is beginning to cooperate and the costumes and floats are as colorful as a Flanders tulip garden in spring time.

YouTube from Amsterdam to Zeil

From windsurfing and body sliding in Brouwersdam, Zeil to flower markets in Amsterdam, I’ve put together a series of “Things to See and Do” in each location I visited during my trip to Belgium and Holland. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to film my visit to a coffee shop in Amsterdam, but let’s just say that in Amsterdam, it’s not about the coffee served in the shops. For the regional video series click on youtube.com/nancydbrown. For more information on Holland, us.holland.com.

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

There’s more to June than graduation ceremonies. I’m off to Idaho to visit the Coeur d’Alene Resort & Spa. Then it’s time to play cowboy at Red Horse Mountain Ranch.

Getting There:

I’ll be flying non-stop on United Airlines, to Spokane, Washington.

A lifelong resident of Contra Costa County, Nancy D. Brown grew up in Moraga. When she’s not traveling, she lives in Lafayette with her husband and teens. Nancy is the Uptake.com Travel Editor, writes the What a Trip blog and is a Contra Costa Times' Lamorinda Sun columnist. Horse lovers will find her at www.writinghorseback.com. Follow Nancy on Twitter .