Living in the center of Brussels again, and wasn’t expecting to have a party in front of my door all night long. Marocco has gained victory over the Belgian football team 1-4 in Brussels, and ofcourse this will be celebrated by the Maroccan community. 
Normally these celebrations occur ever 2 years during the European and World Cup’s football, but one must say this is kindof fun and I am actually somewhat happy for them. I would not have celebrated anything, whatever the Red Devils would have performed.

Well, I am going to treat myself tonight to a movie from the BelgacomTV library. I discovered Warren Beatty’s 'Heaven can wait' earler this week, and must say both Belgacom and Telenet digital TV have a pretty good movie library for the moment. Quickly ran to the night shop for a couple of cokes, and ofcourse the shopowner was mocking the poor Belgian team.
The only thing I could respond is that I was rather confident that Belgian cyclists would beat Marocco's at the ‘Ronde van Vlaanderen’ in some weeks ☺

I am also working on a new blog, should be ready next week. Had to get into CSS, tables and getting to use different tools on a Mac, but it’s going to be pretty OK as all is pretty standard and themed, so you know what platform I am going to.


01:34 Gepost door bart in Vrije tijd | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: marocca, becks blog, heaven can wait |  Facebook |


Dubrovnik – pearl of the Adriatic

Last week-end we visited for the first time Duvrovnik, invited by Andrej and Miki whom I had met before in Valencia, Amsterdam and Brussels. Femke and I had never been in Croatia before, and John from Adlink had told me it was so beautiful.


One reason to get here was to understand evolutions in CEE online media and what Andrej and Miki were setting up with NEO. They are working on interesting concepts, across all of Central and Eastern Europe. There are tremendous opportunities in these fast-growing markets, and a willingness to make something out of that – I already wrote about that upon returning from Hungary and Romania. We stayed in the beautiful hotel Belle-Vue, although truth being told this hotel only opened in February and has some ‘getting started’ issues: their spa, fitness and swimming pool were closed due to works but they charge like everything is perfect. The view from the balcony is incredible though, see Andrej’s blog to have a look, I read most of Robert Kaplan’s ‘Balkan Ghosts’ here.

We discussed 2 entire evenings/nights the evolution of social media, search, portals, tv, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, etc. Femke even told me that it is weird but great to see men talking so passionate about their work. Yep, we love our jobs and maybe even more industries J But also music, politics, economy and all other subjects passed the conversation cloud.


The greatest part of the week-end was however kind of improvised. First we rented a kayak to peddle around Lokrum, a small island just near Dubrovnik. But then we chartered an amazing 14m sailing yacht, and left for a 9h trip around the Elifati Islands.

Ed Somers, someone I know from my hometown in Bilzen, told me last year that Croatia is not only amazing to sail, that is still relatively affordable, but also talked about how clear and beautiful Adriactic Sea is. And how right he was!


The sea is intense blue – and it is just amazing to dive of a boat and swim around, stop at an island to eat simply grilled fish and have a glass of white wine while enjoyng a sunset and listening to the sea (see flickr for some snapshots). In the evening, we wandered around Dubrovnik’s old city – now completely restored after the war. This UNESCO world heritage site combines a historic beauty with a young liveliness. Dubrovnik was an amazing business trip – but tourism is about to hit again though – so I suggest to visit quickly. And to a friend of mine who asked via SMS if the girls here are really so beautiful, Femke’s answer is: “there is a flight with Thomas Cook leaving tomorrow at 6am – and there are tickets available!’ J




yaght boat



2 Belgian week-ends

Rock Werchter is probably Europe’s best festival. Top organisation, program, crowd, whatever. But this year I enjoyed it for a different reason.


Living abroad makes some things more complex, and one of them is to keep in touch with Belgian family, colleagues, friends. I think I have about a hundred invitations for a lunch or dinner, but it is just not possible to do this in Belgium. When I am in Brussels professionally, agenda is usually pretty packed and I spend it with team and partners of SBS in Belgium, or in the organisations and activities in which I am active. When I am here in a week-end, I want to share all time with close friends and family, with Femke preferably a 100percent with me. Some may now that I love music concerts- and that I won’t miss Werchter for anything. But this year it was great to meet again so many friends, colleagues, people I know. It was a very ‘warm’ encounter. So great to see everyone back!

My personal (music) favourites: Muse (again), Goose (surprisingly good funky electrorock), Arno (‘nous sommes quand même tous des Européens’), parts of Metallica, parts of Pearl Jam, parts of QOTSA, the atmosphere of Bjork, … . I must say most concerts were excellent but very predictable. That’s why I already look forward to Pukkelpop, ‘my’ festival.


Our Brussels Saturday habit looks like this: we buy De Standaard, De Morgen, sometimes Le Soir and one of the sportpapers (usually HLN, who have a nice online version too), have standing lunch at the corner of Mer Du Nord/Noordzee at the Catherine place, read newspapers at a terrace. This week no different – but we added having a drink with my good friend (and former colleague) Alexis, talked with Bilzen friend Jean-Louis, then we went to the seaside and attended the opening of the new Kinepolis in Oostende (bravo Gilbert), where we also met many that we hadn’t seen in a while. Then a relaxing Sunday afternoon at Oostduinkerke (read great book), finished a project for work, watched the finish of the Tour and in the evening a movie at UGC cinema in Brussels.


This said: I do miss my beloved Limburg. Next week-end not possible, but after I would prefer to spend all week-end in Hasselt, Genk and Bilzen. It may sound strange: travelling around Europe makes you see so many beautiful places, but none have the sweetness of Limburg.





Vegas Baby, part 1.

Although our hotelroom is amazing with a fabulous view over the strip, we went from the busiest to the calmest place on earth: from the strip in Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon.


First, early morning going from the airport flying to the Grand Canyon, than with a helicopter between the caves down on the Colorado river, than a boat trip over the river, than helicopter back up just next to the canyon, than a tour in the Indian maintained part on the west rim, and finally flying back.


Over the last 2 years, I biked through the Calanches in Corsica, I (again) biked with my good friend Jan in the black desert of Lanzarote, but this I have never seen. Truly unbelievable...


It is said that the Grand Canyon is one of the few things in the world that doesn’t disappoint when you actually see it … I know understand why!