City-Hiking in Brussels

Yesterday, my work team had its annual team event. In the past, we’ve had barbecues, we’ve gone bowling, to an escape room, etc. This year, we decided to go for a hike! And that’s how I ended up being insanely surprised by all the green Brussels has to offer.

The hike we did was a part of De groene wandeling (“The green hike”). It’s a 60km track circling Brussels passing through the many parks and forests that are located on the outskirts of the city. We hiked a 10km chunk of the track and oh my, it was beautiful!

De groene wandeling
The whole track is signposted with this logo

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A Celebratory Weekend Away: Camping, Hiking and a 5-Star Luxury Hotel Suite!

Weekends are the best! Especially when you have something to celebrate! And boy, did we celebrate 😀 We celebrated getting married almost 4 months ago (sounds random, but the husband’s boss gave us a voucher for a fancy hotel as a wedding gift, so even though we might not have planned to celebrate 3 months and 26 days of marriage, we did 😉 ). We celebrated me finishing my PhD thesis (because I am by now so truly relieved and happy it’s over that I’ll be celebrating this for a good few months). And we celebrated England (the husband’s homeland) and Belgium (mine) rocking the World Cup! And this is how we did so:

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Songs for Energetic Excitement

What better thing to do on a celebratory day off (I handed in my PhD thesis yesterday!) then to go for a summer walk and listen to music! Music can influence my mood insanely much, and now it’s left me feeling optimistic and buzzing with energy and excitement… Wanna give my Thrilling Thursday soundtrack a go? Here’s my top three of today 🙂

Cocoon – Milky Chance
Supersonic – Oasis
Bonfire – The Hunna 

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Almost-Wild-Camping in Belgium

One of the things I always enjoyed the most of my time adventuring, is the feeling that you are alone in the world. And because of that, I think hiking and camping are my favourite things to do when I’m away from home. That feeling you get mid-hike: the beautiful scenes you’ve already walked through and whatever beautiful scenes are still ahead of you… and you’re smack bam in the middle of it! Or when camping, waking up to the break of dawn to open the tent and be amazed at what the world looks like when it’s waking up. Of course I don’t mean watching your fellow campers make the trek to the washrooms with their flip flops and toiletry bags. I mean the hazy damp over the fields, the morning light, the birds. I’m talking: wild camping!

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Bolzano The Holiday – Some Hikes

Our holiday is three days in now and they have been wonderful! So far: two hikes, a picnic, a museum, a pool session, some ice cream, a lot of espressos, and not to forget some wining and dining.

For our hikes we have stayed in Bolzano up to now. (Tomorrow, we are taking a bus to Val Gardena for a new challenge.) Our first one was super cute. I had planned it meticulously in the previous weeks when the boyfriend was still at home and I was filling up my free time between the classes at summerschool with scouting for our holiday.

In the afternoon of our first day, we walked along the river to the Runkelstein Castle. Sadly it was already closed, but we admired the outside and marched on. We went up quite steeply between the vineyards and had some insane views of the city, but didn’t dilly dally for too long since we were on a tight schedule: we had sunset plans. A little bit before sunset, we arrived at our planned picnic destination: a viewpoint over the city, with bench, on the Oswald Promenade. The sun was slowly sinking behind the hills, battling heavy with the clouds for an impressive sunset. We opened a bottle of Lambrusco and got out the bread cheese salami ham for a picnic Alla Italiano. We watched the sky go dark and Bolzano go light as the lights in the city came on. When the first stars came out, we put on our head torches, packed up, and headed home (where we got to enjoy a well-timed lightning storm above the hills from our hotelroom window).

For the second hike we went to the other side of town, to the Haselburg Castle. Sadly, also closed! Note for self: check castle opening hours before you plan a hike. But nevertheless, the hike was totally worth it. Very different from our picnic one. The path was a lot more challenging, and the views more forresty and less vineyardsy. And which better way to celebrate our new achievement than to head straight for ice cream on the town square: raspberry and straciatella, don’t mind if I do!

For our third one, we’re heading to unexplored territory! The Mountains of Val Gardena! I’m so super excited, I’ve been training so hard for this in the gym… We haven’t really picked a hike yet but we’re hoping the tourist office on site will sort us out. Bring it on 😀

The Beauty of Home

Have you ever noticed how it’s so much easier to be happy and amazed when your not Home? And with Home I mean the place where you grew up. Once you have travelled and moved to a new Home, you appreciate the beauty of that new place a thousand times more than the beauty of Home number one.

For example: I can imagine that if you go on holiday to for example Italy, you visit a fair bit of churches. Have you ever visited the one in your hometown? Or, when on holiday, you might go for a morning walk or run around the hotel and find some gorgeous spots that might not be in your travel guide because after all, they are just standard beauty. Have you ever noticed that kind of standard beauty and stopped to admire it when running around your Home?

I’m really trying to. It’s a part of my post-travel-life therapy. Once in a while, I stop and try to look at Home with the eyes of a tourist. This weekend, it went extremely well. Why? Because winter has arrived.

We don’t really get decent winters anymore. The ones with a lot of snow and ice skating on the lakes. But Thursday night, it started snowing. Compared to northern countries, it was nothing. But for us Belgians, it was more than we’d seen in a long time. Coming home from work in the evening, I went straight into the back garden to build a snow man! Biggest one I’ve ever made!

It hasn’t been snowing since, but it’s still cold so when out of the city, it’s winter wonderland. Sunday, me and the boyfriend had a gorgeous walk. Just around the block really, should’ve taken us less than an hour, but it was so pretty we stopped after every corner to take in the view and soak in the sunshine, just like I was craving so badly!

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And even this morning, a Monday morning of all things, I was amazed by Home. While waiting for my train, usually I am browsing Facebook or WordPress. But now, my fingers were too cold so I had to put the phone away. And I noticed an absolutely stunning sunrise.

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I feel inspired by the beauty of home, and I have extra strength now to tackle my post-travel-life this week. Thank you winter, thank you home, you have given me hope!

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Life With a Dodgy Foot

I have the most annoying thing going on! Something’s wrong with my foot! What, you ask? I don’t know, neither does the doctor! I’m scheduled in with a specialist next week, but until then I have to keep struggling on. It’s been like this for a week now and it’s driving me crazy.

My daily commute has gone from the struggle it already is to a painful disaster.

I can’t go anywhere because both walking and cycling hurt (and I don’t have a car).

But the worst part, I can’t go hiking, or running, or work out at the gym, or go kickboxing. (It’s not really kickboxing in the fighting sense, it’s more like an hour-long workout focusing both on muscles and cardio by means of kicking and hitting a bag, and it’s my favourite way of working out. But quite likely also the cause of the foot problem, since it started after my last session last week.)

Even though I haven’t been working out as much as I used to, one whole week without anything is just too long! So I think I might take my yoga back up. Only do exercises that leave the foot alone, there’s plenty of yoga to do while sitting or lying on the floor, right? Maybe I’ll mix it with some Pilates as well, get the muscles going. But it’s been a while; I don’t really remember the exercises, let alone a decent 1-hour routine. I guess I’ll be trying some YouTube stuff. Let me know if you know any good Yoga Sessions online! Or any other easy work outs from home that don’t need feet?