It has to be said that top cyclist Eddie Maerx did not become good by practicing in Brussels city centre and I would personally call it a death wish to bike there with heavy traffic and hard pollution. There are few, if any, bike paths and we never cycled there. Since we left, a new path has been opened along the Rue de la Loi but this is Brussels' most trafficked street and the things you breathe in there makes you think twice before you go.
Having said all this, there is an active cycling association in the city and later years have seen cycle paths being opened in nice places such as here, along the disused railway line between Auderghem and Stokkel. This particular stretch is between Woluwe Park and Chaussee de Wavre.
- Hiking and Walking
Professional Cycling classic races in April
Living in Brussels for 6 months, with so many other EU nationalities sometimes it's hard to get a feel for what the Belgians are about.
But last Sunday I found them at the Tour of Flanders - a 156 mile race with part of the it over cobblestones. It might be all over in 5 minutes but the afternoon of wandering through the village to the vantage point, having a beer or a coffee and seeing the good nature of the crowd is very enjoyable
It's a nice family day out. It's busy enough to have a good atmosphere and there are plenty of vantage spots
Equipment: The day before the race there is an organised event over different lengths for amateurs, see the details on the websites
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
While in Brussels and you feel you need to exercise, then just run to a park.
In the parks you'll frequently find the so called fit-o-meter...
A designed course with special exercises like pull op bars, weightlifting,... A full work-out for free and in a natural environment in the city...
Equipment: Usually it's all made of wood or metal... what you need : some fitness
Tango lessons with Le Pont
Le Pont is an organisation that proposes cultural activities associated with the idea of giving a social help to a certain group of people. The foundators (Graciela Murga and Jorge Demeyer), who are also very great musicans, proposed in February, March and April 2004 a tango lessons cycle (4 Sundays afternoon) with, as teacher, my partner Charles (VTmember BeChar) ... and I ;-) It was a wonderful experience!
Equipment: Dance shoes or shoes with a leather sole
King Baudouin stadium
We took the metro to Stade Roi Baudouin to see a concert of Madonna ( !) but the history of the stadium takes me back to the 80s and the disaster of Heysel stadium (that was the name of the stadium at that time).
I still remember the final match for european cup between Juventus and Liverpool when 39 italian fans die and more than 500 injured. Apart from the conflicts and fights between the fans the stadium was in poor state of repair (it was already 55 year old!) and tearing apart. Fans were using parts of it as weapons for the battle…
The stadium was demolished some years after (only a gate remained) and ten years after the disaster the stadium was built again. It now hosts 60,000 people (before it twas 70,000) and it’s the largest stadium in Belgium. It was raining during the concert but hopefully the seats are covered so we could enjoy the show without getting wet :)
Belgium is not particularly known for its tropical temperature ans sunny weather. So, what to do when you feel you want to escape on a grey dull Belgian day?
Go to the Oceade. The Oceade is a tropical paradise located in Bruparck (a big amusement park area with Mini-Europe, Kinepolis...), in the Heysel area. One of the biggest Aquatic park in the country, this domed swimming area has it all: wave pool, whilrpools, kiddie pools, outdoor pool, 10 slides (my favourite being the kamikaze (80 meters slide in 18 seconds... whew), a solarium and a finnish sauna,
If you are travelling with kids, they will love it.
For those who are over 18 years-old, there is a sauna for an additionnal price. It includes a jacuzzi, 2 saunas at 80C., one outside sauna at 90C., a hammam, cold tub and solar beds... Warning: during the week, if you go to the sauna, you'll have to go in the buff... yes... naked...
I didn't expect it the first time I went there (first time in a sauna too) but hey... it was fun. my friend and I were embarassed of being embarassed.
On Sundays, swimsuits are allowed.That was a few years ago so my information might not ne valid anymore ... so be prepared
And if you are hungry, there is also several restaurants.
Equipment: Swimsuit, towels, goggles..
- Theme Park Trips
Football In Brussels
Visited the impressive Roi Badouin national stadium in Brussels. It was built on the site of the old Heysel stadium. Sadly Scotland lost 2-0.
My friend who was with our group stayed on in Brussels and caught an Anderlecht match. They play at another stadium in the city.
I was hiking up and down around Brussels. And believe me, I saw quite many crazy tourists even with heavy backpacks doing the same. Did they want to lose some kilograms/pounds?
Whenever you feel tired you can sit down on any steps (there were many, but no benches) on your way to take a rest.
I didn't want to lose any weight that time. But now, I should revisit Brussels, I think :-).
Equipment: Good walking shoes.
- Budget Travel
- Hiking and Walking
The Brussels 20k is billed as 'the most beautiful race in the heart of Europe'. Having taken part in 2008's race I can see why. For a first time visit to Brussels, the race itself was a great introduction to the city as it meanders around monumental buildings, along main thoroughfares (and up and down the tunnels in the road), through posh residential areas and green spots. The course of the (almost) half marathon takes in numerous sights as well as great running around the central city parks. It helped that this year's race was also blissfully rain-free despite an unpromising sky just before. In fact, it was the hottest ever.
It's a fairly easy course for beginners (like I was), with no really steep inclines to speak of. I'd been warned that you run up the last few kilometres but I didn't really notice this. The atmosphere is excellent with hundreds of people cheering on the runners, even those of us who were far from the front, and various bands along the way. My only complaint was lack of toilets at the end - not a problem for the chaps, maybe, but ladies will end up having to pay to use the few facilities there are.
Over 25,000 people take part in the race, with a good proportion made up of company teams. Places sold out this year in under three days so join up quickly if you're interested: you can do so in February. Check the official website for dates.
Equipment: No special equipment to speak of but you will get a lovely shiny medal at the end!
Scuba diving in Nemo33
Nemo33 is a purpose built scuba diving pool with platforms at 1.4, 2.5, 6 and 10 metres and a 34 metres pit.
There are swim throughs and you can even have a chat with your buddy at 10 metres down in one of three air 'caves'.
The water is now slightly chlorinated water warmed at 30 celsius.
WARNING: the 'champagne effect where the deep pit is full of divers' bubbles can be quite disorientating so stay out of it if you are a biginnger.
There is a nice bar (serving deprofundis beer on tap) and a high quality thai restaurant on site.
They also have a well stocked dive shop.
Nemo can offer a package to groups with dives, lunch and hotel but they are really disorganised and it might easier to organise everything yourself and just book the diving/lunch with Nemo.
The water temp in the showers is barely lukewarm and it is therefore easy to catch a cold after your dive. Shame.
Equipment: Everything except dive computer is provided by Nemo -you do need to have a computer, you can rent one thogh) but you can bring your own mask and pool fins if you want to. You can also wear a lycra rash vest but all other equipment is banned.
You'll need: your swimming costume, a towel and one dive computer per person.
No solo diving.
- Diving and Snorkeling
Day Baseball, on the Weekend in Brussels
This is a heads up for any Americans, Canadians, Carribeans, Australians, Japanese, Taiwanese or Koreans or anyone else missing baseball......... while in Brussels.
For 2007, the Brussels have regained their place the Belgium's top Division, which is dominated by Flemish (Dutch team). If you are in Brussles from April to October there is a good chance the Kanagroos will be in action on either Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
For 2007, the B-Roos signed a pair of former D3 stars (2006 grads) from northeast colleges. Pitcher Joe Vladeck from Amherst and 1B/P Tim McLean from Haverford College were all-conference, all-region type D3 players. The B-Roos also feature team veteran and Australian national-level pitcher/outfielder Chris Blackbee.
In 2006, Vladeck was 7-0 with a 1.55ERA, and was named NESCAC Pitcher of the Year in both 2005 and 2006.
All conference and team MVP McLean posted a 1200+ OPS as a senior, and ranks among the Centennial Conference’s career leaders in Hits, RBI, Runs, HR, Doubles and Total Bases.
Make a picnic and bring the family!
Attendance is free, B-Roos Seniors games start at 15:30.
Come early and root for the B-Roos reserves.
Here is the home schedule for the first half of 2007 K-Roos season:
Sunday April 15 – vs. Merksem Royal Greys
Saturday April 21 – vs. Hoboken Pioneers
Sunday April 29 – vs. Brasschat Braves
Saturday May 5 – vs. Borgehout Squirrels
Sunday May 13 – vs. Mortsel Stars
Saturday May 19 – vs. Namur Angels
Sunday May 27 – vs. Antwerp Eagles
Saturday June 2 – vs. Merksem Royal Greys
Sunday June 10 – vs. Hoboken Pioneers
Saturday June 23 – vs. Brasschaat Braves
Sunday July 1 – vs. Borgehout Squirrels
Saturday July 14 – vs. Mortsel Stars
Sunday July 22 – vs. Namur Angels
Equipment: Sun block
There is a well equipped Snack Bar, with beer, at the field.
- Budget Travel
- Beer Tasting
- School Holidays
When you would like to see a game of football in Belgium or in Brussels than I have to recommend you to see a game of Anderlecht! Anderlecht is the biggest and most sucessfull club in Belgium! In the seventies and the eighties we used to be very big in Europe, but now there's a bit too much money involved in it for us!
But we're still the best of Belgium! ;)
Stade du Roi Baudouin
We went to watch the Euro200 Quarter Final between Italy and Romania. Nice stadium now that it has been completely revamped since Heysel.
It was re-opened in August 1995 as the stadium for the national team and is the largest stadium in Belgium; it can seat 50,000 spectators
- Beer Tasting
- Family Travel
Constant Vanden Stock Stadium
We drove from Antwerp on the day of the match to watch RSC Anderlecht play Manchester United in the UEFA Champions league.
Getting lost on the ring road made us about 10 mins late and so we decided to park the mini bus near the ground in what we thought was a quiet spot. This quiet spot ended up with the bus being surrounded by the local fans after the match, as we had parked directly outside their local bar at the ground.
We therefore HAD to stay for a few drinks until getting a police escort out of the place.
Good fun though!
Equipment: Blue wig to disguise yourself as a home fan!
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
Skateboarding In Bruxellas
Brussels has lots of skaters who have but a few gathering places.
One of them is Mont des Arts/Kunstberg situated near the grand-place and Central station.
It's their playing ground near the touristic places but don't worry about them. Just watch them for a while and you'll appreciate the location they chose...
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