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Word on the street: Where are you spending the summer holidays?
This summer I’ll definitely go to Couleur Café. Last year it was rap music and some reggae. It was really great. I don’t know who’s going to play, I didn’t see the line-up but I’m going anyway because I know it’s going to be good. Also, on 15 August every year there is a party in Liège, I really recommend it. There are lots of stands, lots of bars, and everyone comes from the whole town. There’s a parade in the Outremeuse area. It’s a really great celebration.
If my parents visit, we’ll do some of the war memorials. I’ve been here for seven or eight years and I’ve never done them! My dad is a big history buff and we have some contacts for local guides in Ypres. I’ve also never done kayaking on the river in Dinant – I might like to do that sometime. I like staying here in August because there’s about half the people here. The terraces are nice and empty, the weather is good, everyone’s gone away with their families, and it’s nice and quiet and an even more chilled-out city than normal!
This summer I’m going to work on my dissertation. I have nothing else planned! I don’t know Flanders or Wallonia very well, so if I had a week off, I’d take the train and visit all the cities in Belgium to see what they’re like. It’s easy to do that because it’s not expensive and the train system is really good. Brussels is really fun. There are loads of events and parties in the summer. One I like is at Place Poelaert – they play electronic music, there’s a view of the whole city and it’s not on too late, so you can do something before or after. It’s very relaxed and casual – anyone can go.
I want to get out and about as much as possible, just to try out different spots, though as I’ve been here over 40 years I think I’ve just about seen everything. I’m married to a Belgian so I’ve covered a lot of it! Hopefully we will get to the coast because I like to go up there and see a bit of the sea. I usually go to De Haan. We don’t really sit on the beach, we try to hire out a bike and do a bit of cycling. I love the little Flemish villages. I have a couple of friends there so I go quite often to visit them. And of course good food, sitting out on a nice terrace, having a nice glass of wine and moules frites – it’s great!
I usually go to Brussels Summer Festival. This year Fink, one of my favourite artists, is playing. At the end of June I’m going on a walk in the Ardennes, which is actually organised by the army, but everyone can join. You walk for four days and there are different distances that you can walk. It’s called the European March of Memory and Friendship and it takes place every year. Then in August I’ll be attending the equivalent event in Flanders, which is related to World War One. It’s called the Four Days of the Yser, and this year is the 100th anniversary.
This article first appeared in The Bulletin Summer 2018. Pick up a copy in newsagents today or subscribe here...