My daughter Nina turned five recently, and for her birthday, her grandparents and I decided to take her to Dino World, a temporary exhibition in Brussels Expo’s Hall 2 featuring over sixty “lifelike dinosaurs”. Nina absolutely loves dinosaurs and is somewhat of an expert, at least among her peers. We had already visited dinosaur museums in Salt Lake City, and Moab, in Utah as well as in Brussels, and had spent many nights reading about them in one of her books. We can therefore categorize her as a dino enthousiast.
Last Sunday, April 23, 2017, the City of Antwerp organized its annual Marathon for the 28th time. With approximately 2,400 participants, it is the largest Marathon in Belgium. This year, the race was won by David Cherop from Uganda in 2:17:12 and the Belgian Mieke Dupont won the women’s race in 2:54:16. I myself took part in the Antwerp Marathon for the second time this year, although I have to admit that, with a time of 3:58:50, I did not compete for any of the marbles. I did however enjoy the great running conditions (thirteen degrees celsius and cloudy), the seamless organization, and general positive atmosphere.
The Ten Miles, Antwerp’s iconic annual running event, is less than a week away. On Sunday, April 23rd 2017, some 35,000 runners will take to the street to complete the sixteen kilometers through the Antwerp inner city, with as the final major obstacle the dreaded long steep climb (3.7 percent) out of the Waaslandtunnel, (also known as the “Rabbit Hole”) under the River Scheldt.
Last weekend, I embarked on a brief three-day city trip to the beautiful Portuguese Capital Lisbon. Visiting such a large city for the first time always raises two significant challenges for me: 1) there is so much to see in so little time and 2) with the Antwerp Marathon less than a month away, I want to get my runs in while not losing too much quality time with my wife during our vacation. The answer to my predicament: a guided early morning running tour of the city center of Lisbon.
Most Belgians and expats in Brussels have one important thing in common: they love criticizing the nation’s capital. They do not consider Brussels hip; they find it dirty, public transport is not efficient, it lacks a special character, etc. I have to admit that I share this general feeling about Brussels: it is not a city one falls in love with instantly. It does not sweep you off your feet by its overall beauty or grandness and tends to be more of a hodgepodge of different architectural styles and tends to be overly crowded with cars vying for every parking spot, whether it truly exists or not. Still this does not mean that there is not a lot to love in this city. For example, one of Brussels’ treasures is its large number of Art Nouveau houses, a remnant of the city’s most recent golden age.
On Saturday, March 4, 2017, my family and I went to see the horse spectacle “APASSIONATA: Cinema of Dreams” at the Lotto Arena at the outskirts of Antwerp. According to its website, this is the twelfth time that the Apassionata franchise, widely considered Europe’s most successful live-entertainment show featuring horses, has come to Antwerp. For us however, this was our first visit, and we truly enjoyed it. At times the sold out show was thrilling and even breathtaking, but what truly stood out were the intimate moments between a trainer and his horses, which the crowd was allowed to witness.