We’re Going to Flanders!

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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 We aren’t familiar with any of these bands, but then we are hopelessly out of date with music so we are looking forward to making some new discoveries.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.

TRACK, Ghent

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!

You can follow along with our experiences this weekend in Flanders on Twitter and Facebook and check out the #fiaf12 Twitter hashtag for all the Flanders is a Festival news.

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  1. I can see you guys already went to Flanders, but I’ll still write this down.

    Gent is my home base and seeing the invitation to offer some good places to eat fries. I want to mention this one local place on the Saint Pieters square called ‘de gouden saté’. This frie shop is open untill 5-6PM to provide Gent’s students of a goodnight dinner and they have some local specialities… try out the ‘Hugo Claus’ or the ‘Rombout’. This might just be the most greasy, ugly but delicious fries ever!

    I havn’t read true the whole blog, so I don’t hope to find you guys are vegeterians…


  2. So cool that you guys will be visiting some of the festivals in Flanders. I can vouch for those stats, by the way. During the summer months there are festivals of all kinds and size literally every weekend. Have fun!


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