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Trip reviews

Bavarian Castles trip, according to an 8-year-old kid

Expat Club's Bavarian Castles trip is a perfect destination for guests of all ages. In fact, this is one of those trips that is extremely suitable for children. Now, we as adults may think so, but what would a child actually say? I investigated as I took my own 8-year-old son to the last edition of this trip.

Trip review: Kiev & Chernobyl

At Expat Club we put an incredible variety of destinations on our trip calendar, including some awesome industrial places. Would you like to have some examples? What about car factories? We visited the Audi plant in Brussels several times to live observe the A1 production. Also, we travelled the Netherlands for an exclusive visit to the Tesla factory. So cool to test drive their P90d model in ludicrous mode (google it if you don’t know what that means). We also several times explored the Port of Rotterdam, until quite recent days the world’s largest harbour. Seeing the world’s largest crane, largest ship, and also the largest refinery, is something you don’t do every day. And what to think about a midnight visit to Europe’s largest shipment facility from UPS a...

Trip review: A Little Louvre in Lens

With more than 10 million visitors a year, the Louvre is the world’s most visited museum. It’s also the world’s largest, so it’s not surprising that it can be a bit overwhelming. But if you want to see some of the world’s great treasures, you don’t have to venture into Paris. The Louvre has smaller museums in Abu Dhabi and Lens, Pas-de-Calais, a mining town located about 200 kilometres north of Paris.  In October, Expat Club journeyed to Lens. The Louvre-Lens is the baby brother of the Louvre and home to 200 masterpieces on loan from the Louvre Museum in Paris. From a Coal Mine to a Museum The Louvre-Lens opened in 2012, transforming a former coal mine into a regional jewel. The museum was built in Lens to re-energize the city and give it an economic boost.  It’s also part of France’...

Trip Review: Bastogne Battlefields

You never know what surprises are in store when you travel on an Expat Club trip. Our day trip to Bastogne was no exception. Expat Club founder Edgar Hütte arranged for the “greatest living expert” on the Battle of the Bulge (as proclaimed by General Graham Hollands) to be our guide for the day. Martin King is a military historian, lecturer, author and TV personality. For more than two decades, the Emmy award-winning television personality has accompanied veterans on tours of the battlefields of World War II, bringing history to life with his insightful explanations of what transpired in the dark days of the War. His level of expertise on Bastogne and the Battle of the Bulge is impressive and unmatched. We realised just how lucky we were to have him present this area to us! His unique stor...

Trip Review: Chateaux de la Loire

Nowhere is the sheer opulence of French life in centuries past more apparent than in the chateaux of the Loire Valley. Each year, more than 3.3 million travelers visit the 42 chateaux that comprise the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Yet, there are more than 300 chateaux scattered across the Valley. It’s no surprise that the region is  the nation’s second-biggest tourist attraction behind Paris. Most of the chateaux were constructed in the 17th and 18th centuries. They offered royalty and noblemen a welcome escape from Parisian politics. Over Bastille Day weekend, they offered 26 Expat Club members a romantic glimpse into the past. DAY ONE We were ready to start on a “chateaux sampler,” discovering the magic and mystery of these elegant edifices. Our luxury coach arrive...

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: Stunning Switzerland

Breathtaking vistas, snow-capped mountains and gushing waterfalls! Switzerland is a country of extremes. A group of expats from Brussels discovered the remarkable virtues of this small, land-locked country during a nine-day trip this summer. What images do you conjure up when you think about Switzerland? Alpine vistas, army knives, banking, chocolate and luxury watches? Switzerland is so much more! It’s a study in contrasts, from snow-capped mountaintops to green valleys blooming with colourful summer flowers. There are medieval buildings, centuries-old wooden bridges, artistic modern structures and steel suspension bridges hanging over deep gorges.  Discover our adventures with a day-by-day rundown of the most incredible Expat Trip of the year! DAY 1 – A STOP IN THE BLACK FOREST It ...

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 ...

Discovering the Castles of Bavaria

Fairytale castles, royal residences and a busload of international travellers! What more could you ask for? Yes, you may have guessed already! It’s another exciting adventure with Expat Club. This time, I travelled in a beautiful, double-decker coach to Bavaria, in the South of Germany, from Wednesday afternoon 29 May to Sunday evening 2 June.

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...

A trip to Champagne Paradise

Champagne! It’s the universal beverage of celebration, and it was a day of celebration when Expat Club traveled to France on 14 April. Champagne lovers from over two dozen countries to came to taste the drink of the gods. We came from all over the world for a tour of France’s Champagne region. A Bus to Champagne Paradise Now, if you’re like me, when you hear bus tour, you balk. Maybe it’s because you envision traveling on that little yellow school bus you remember from your childhood. Au contraire! Bus travel is so much easier than the hassle of getting to the airport hours early, waiting in long security lines and facing possible strikes or flight delays — and Expat Club travels in style. We cruised comfortably on a luxury coach from Lauwers, complete with reclining seats and footrests. T...

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