Sunday, May 19, 2013

A day in Hasselt

Yesterday the weather forecast didn't predict any rain for the first time in ten days, so Boyfriend and I decided to do a small roadtrip to celebrate the lack of rain. We drove across the border to Belgium and spent some time in Hasselt, the capital of the Belgian province of Limburg. The Belgian Limburg is located in Flanders, right at the border with the Dutch Limburg and it is home to some of the oldest cities in Belgium, including Tongeren, which claims to be the oldest. Hasselt is a quite a small and quiet city with nice streets and surrounded by lush parks, but somehow lacking a bit of soul or personality. We arrived around midday and were surprised that most centric streets were empty. It was Saturday afternoon and no one seem to bother to do some shopping, but after a closer look we realised that many shops close at midday for a lunch break and most people were probably enjoying some snack and some beer at the Grote Markt, which we found later to be crowded. Surprisingly for its small size, Hasselt has many high-end shops, such as Liu-Jo, Hugo Boss, or Uterqüe, which I had never seen outside Spain!. On the affordable side of shopping, many high street retailers were also present, even more than in Maastricht, so Hasselt appeared to be an interesting and close shopping alternative.



After enjoying some frites - it is a universal truth that no one does french fries like the Belgians do - we headed to the reason that had brought us to Hasselt, the Japanese Garden. Hasselt partnered with the Japanese city of Itami and in 1985 Itami contributed to spread the Japanese culture in Belgium by contributing to create and maintain a Japanese garden in Hasselt. The site is rather small but full of peace. Streams and cherry trees adorn all the paths and there are a couple of traditional tea houses and small temples. The small waterfall is the center point and it makes a lovely background for pictures. I did some posing and I couldn't help it but feeling that I was starring in a posh version os Takeshi's Castle when jumping from rock to rock, fearing that I would slip at any moment and fall into the dirty water. Dirty water and ill-maintained trees were probably the only minus points of the garden. The entrance fee is only 5€ which is quite ok, but it is a pity that the garden is not kept in tip-top condition.






Today, I would also like to thank Arni of Travel Gourmande for having me included in her post about five of her favourite bloggers. I felt truly honoured because I really enjoy her blog and never fail to feel inspired by her words and idyllic photos. She writes very interesting posts about her expat life in Dubai and her trips back to her roots in the Philippines. Once again, THANK YOU!

10 comments:

  1. What a nice quick trip Irene. It's ashame they don't take better care of the water and landscaping. It's very pretty though. Glad it stopped raining for you to see.

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    1. It was indeed pretty, if only too small. Now I've read there's also a fashion museum there and I've seen some beautiful photos of its collection on Pinterest, so I might go back to Hasselt sometime ...

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  2. Aquí en España también deberíamos celebrarlo cuando por fin se vaya la lluvia porque vaya primavera "aguada" que llevamos. Este sitio es precioso, Irene. Qué fotos tan bonitas, como de cuento.Bsiss, wpa:)

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    1. Aguada y nevada, por lo que me han contado! La verdad que es increíble que ya casi en junio estemos con este frío. Aquí en los periódicos ya han dicho que esta ha sido la primavera más fría desde 1968 (creo)

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  3. I never been to Belgium but I really love to!!! Its amzing to see that Japanese Garden... I know why you went there.. its really beautiful!!!!

    take care. xoxo,Meg of Sweet Gala's

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    1. There are some really beautiful cities in Belgium, so I would definetely recommend it :)
      And the Japanese garden was an interesting site to see!

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  4. I'm now checking where Hasselt is on the map of Belgium. Oh French fries over there is incredibly mouth watering. That's a beautiful garden. Thank you for the mention and for your kind words. Have a great day, Irene. :)

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    1. You're welcome! I really mean it :)

      I love french fries in Belgium, they're sooo tasty! Better than the ones in the Netherlands, However, mayonnaise is better here than in Belgium hehe

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  5. No sabia lo de las patatas fritas, es un bueno motivo para ir! :P (soy adicta)
    Hablándo en serio, esos jardines son una pasada es una lastima q no estén mejor cuidados.
    Besito guapa
    Ah y me alegro ante haga ilu lo del blogroll aunque llevabas ahi meses, pero al comprad el dominio se borro

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    1. Las papas fritas son un buen motivo para ir, y el chocolate, y la cerveza. Se comenta que los mejillones tb, pero como no me gustan eso no lo puedo confirmar jejeje Pero todos son buenos motivos para ir :)

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