This week we left our sleepy Tuscan village for the chaotic, vibrant, intensely historic Rome. We only have a week here though as on Saturday we head to Belgium!
Amazingly considering how close Belgium is to the UK we’ve never visited before so we jumped at Visit Flanders’s offer to head over for a few days to experience Flanders is a Festival. We didn’t know that Flanders was such a vibrant festival destination but this summer there are over 280 festivals at 13,500km² of festival ground with more than 1000 bands playing.
During our four days in Flanders we’ll be visiting the historic cities of Bruges and Ghent. So what will we be doing?
Cactus Festival, Bruges
Our first stop is the Cactus Festival in Bruges, an indie rock festival that was a previous winner of the Best European Small Festival award. Bands that are playing on the Saturday we’ll be there include Yeasayer, John Hiatt, Black Box Revelation and Grant Lee Buffalo. We aren’t familiar with any of these bands, but then we are hopelessly out of date with music so we are looking forward to making some new discoveries.
Jazz Festival, Ghent
On Sunday we move on to Ghent for the Gent Jazz Festival. It’s a diverse programme including fusion artists as well as more traditional jazz. We like the sound of headliner Melody Gardot whose latest album incorporates influences from Morocco, Portugal, Argentina and Brazil; and Ninety Miles who play a mix of Cuban and American swing.
Here’s what Visit Flanders says about TRACK: “TRACK is a unique art experience in the public and semi public space of the city of Ghent. It offers surprising, enriching and unexpected encounters with the city, its history and its inhabitants.”
It definitely sounds intriguing and we love public art in unconventional places so are looking forward to wandering around Ghent exploring the artwork.
Chocolate, frites, waffles – we can’t wait to sample these in Belgium. The Bruges Chocolate Museum is a definite stop.
We’ve also discovered that Ghent was the first city in the world to implement a Veggie Day when every Thursday the city is encouraged to eat vegetarian. Although we won’t be there on the Thursday it does mean there are plenty of vegetarian restaurants to choose from so we’ll be trying a few. And we had the perception that Belgium wasn’t very vegetarian friendly!
Let us know if you have any tips on where to find the best frites and waffles in Bruges and Ghent.