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Trip reviews

Chasing the Northern Lights in Norway

Why head north to colder climates when you could bask in the sun in Greece or Cyprus? The answer is simple. The Land of the Midnight Sun is magical, even when you just have a few hours of daylight each day. Here's a detailed account of my experience in Tromsø for NYE.

Trip review: D-Day 75th Anniversary

After every trip I organise and host I ask myself the question what could have been done better. For our recent D-Day trip to Normandy I certainly have some (very) small points for improvement for a next edition (see 2020 trip). But overall I can look back to a successful and deeply impressive project. We got so much more than I had hoped for, despite that traffic on the small hedged-border Normandy coastal roads sometimes threw a spanner in the works. With a long Pentecostal weekend ahead, we departed on Friday evening towards our first destination in Upper Normandy, Le Havre with its harbour. The city was not part of the D-Day offence, but it was part of the larger Operation Overlord. Being at the end of the Seine river, it was an essential stronghold for the Germans and a key objective ...

Monet’s Magical Gardens

There are few places in France as magical as Giverny, a quaint village that lies just 80 km from Paris. Claude Monet, the father of Impressionism, discovered this gateway to Normandy as he glanced out of a train window back in 1883. On 26 May, Expat Club travellers got a chance to discover it, too. It was an early start for the weary travellers as we headed down the highway from Brussels. Sitting on our comfortable and roomy luxury coach, we got inspired for the visit with a 90-minute documentary about Monet that showcased his life through letters he wrote. Soon, the rolling green hills of the French countryside greeted us as we neared Giverny.  By lunchtime, we had arrived! We walked down stone streets, past charming slate-roof buildings and homes, to LesNymphéas, French for the water lil...

Opal Coast: Winding roads and windy skies

Traveling with Expat Club is always an adventure, and our trip to the Opal Coast was no exception. We left the grey skies and pelting rain of Brussels behind as we drove west to the northern coast of France. Skies cleared, but brisk winds accompanied us on our full-day foray to France. Dunkirk Our first stop was the port city of Dunkirk, a city steeped in history. Towering over the city is Tour du Leughenaer, or “the liar’s tower.” Erected in 1450 and converted to a lighthouse around 1793, it’s the city’s oldest building. Legend says false lighthouse signals lured ships into areas where they were grounded and then looted. We had time to walk through the maritime city, visiting the active market, having a coffee and fresh croissant, or viewing spectacular churches like the Gothic-style Sain...

What’s the fuss about the bus?

Travelling by bus is comfortable and safe, but there are many rules a bus company has to adhere to. We sometimes explain this during trips so you understand why we depart at certain times or stop at specific points and intervals. Here are some key rules: A driver may drive 9 hours per day and once per week 10 hours. A driver may work 15 hours per day. If the driver leaves by 07h00 from the garage, he must return by 22h00. A driver may drive 4,5 hours in one go. After that he needs to rest minimal 45 minutes, or he should take his rest in 2 sessions of 15 en 30 minutes. The length of the day may be extended in two ways. First, if the driver has a resting period of 9 hours in between the outbound and inbound journeys. Second, if the driver is accompanied by a second driver the total length o...

Cheeseweb reviews Verdun trip

At the end of April this year Expat Club traveled to Northern France to visit the region of Verdun, a 2000 year old city that is often called the Capital of the First World War because of the heavy fighting that went on 100 years ago in this region. Two of our participants were Alison and Andrew of Cheeseweb, Belgium’s favorite expat blog. They have a knack for slow travel. In other words, they love to discover Brussels, Belgium and Beyond. Expat Club tries to do for its members; to introduce them to the best of Brussels, Belgium and Beyond! Alison & Andrew of Cheeseweb: “We believe every destination has a story to tell and that the journey truly is the destination.” At the end of March Andrew already joined us for the Audi Factory Tour and a few weeks later they both...

Cheeseweb review

Within one year Expat Club gathered many positive reviews. Our Meetup page shows nearly 100 group reviews and countless event reviews. Additionally after almost every event I receive several “thank you” emails. This encourages me to continue organizing more interesting and special events and trips. On Friday 28 March I had the pleasure to welcome Andrew Matheson at Audi Brussels for the third edition of this fascinating factory tour. And on Saturday 12 April he boarded our bus to the Champagne with his wife Alison Cornford-Matheson. Alison and Andrew are the writing forces behind Belgium’s most popular and informative expat blog Cheeseweb. The Audi Brussels Factory Tour and the Champagne daytrip have been reviewed by Cheeseweb. Are you curious to learn what they think about Expat Club? Rea...

Bouillon’s medieval castle

In July last year Expat Club visited the magnificent Bouillon castle, where history goes back over 1.000 years. Also in 2014 we will go to this beautiful part of the country. Not only will we visit the castle and the town of Bouillon, often called the pearl of the Semois valley, but we are also going to have a relaxing kayaking trip on the Semois river itself. Take a look around! After visiting the castle, we board our 1 or 2-persons kayaks and drift down the calm Semois that is surrounded by the green hills of the Ardennes. Upon arrival a cold drink or some good food is awaiting you! Another great day with Expat Club.  

Expat Club at Paris Air Show

It is really unfortunate the Paris Air Show only takes place once every two years, because this is definitely one of the most impressive events on the continent. Thousands of exhibitors, over 150 special aircraft on display and an a-ma-zing air show. Expat Club managed to choose the most horrible day of the year in terms of weather, but all the rain and wind couldn’t stop us from enjoying the flight demonstrations of an unusually spectacular array of aircraft. The Airbus A-380, the largest passenger airplane. What a graceful beauty. A short lift-off, very silent and apparently super easy to fly. Once the largest passenger airplane. After over half a century, and only one of two remaining flying machines in the world, this magnificent plane was one of the top attractions at Bourget. T...