Saturday, September 26, 2009

Market in Annecy

Yesterday afternoon and this morning I spent in the beautiful little city of Annecy, researching for a story. Here are some quick photos.

Yesterday afternoon and this morning I spent in the beautiful little city of Annecy, researching for a story. Here are some quick photos.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Flying at Chamonix

Today, we drove to Chamonix for some flying. The thermals weren't really there, but the views were still magnificent.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Paragliding around Lac d'Annecy

This week, I've been staying in the area of the Annecy, in a cute little wooden chalet at Maison du Moulin. This is a famous paragliding area, and that's why I am here.

The weather has been great and sunny, so I've had some lovely flights. I am flying together with the Swedish pilot and instructor Fredrik Angrimer, who is also giving me a little course.

You can see tracklogs (3D GPS tracks) of my flights here - just click on the red symbol to the right of every flight to see it on a map.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Coupe Icare

This weekend, it was finally time for me to visit the famous paragliding festival Coupe Icare in the little French mountain village Sainte-Hilare. Thousands of people from all over the world gather here to have fun, party, see new paragliding films and check out new equipment.

Not to mention the paragliding costume competition, the acrobatic shows and all the fun bands that are playing.

Here are some photos. Maybe I see you there next year?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Museum day in Brussels

After the brilliant night out yesterday, I took it somewhat slower today. Started with a visit to the new Magritte Museum, which was rather OK. Some of his art is quite fun.

But the new Hergé Museum (the creator of Tintin), which I went to afterwards, was much more fun. The exhibition is interesting, and the commentary (get one of those headphones) excellent. And, the house itself is a beauty. I bought a Tintin album in Dutch to somewhat better my language skills.

In the evening, I met Vicki on Place Lux. She is an old friend of Femke, they studied together in Strasbourg. Last time we met, she was living and working in London, but now, she just landed herself her dream job, as an assistant to a Member of the European Parliament. Always nice to witness people fulfilling their dreams.

Meeting at Place Lux is a nostalgic event - I used to wait for Femke here when she worked in the parliament. Going here a Friday evening is somewhat chaotic. The terraces are overspilling with young Eurocrats flirting, mingling and lobbying in an unholy mix.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Back in Brussels, again!

Today, I took the train to Brussels for a long weekend of work and fun. It is such a pleasure t to travel by train. Comfortable, quiet (compared to airplanes) and best of all – with a lovely landscape swooshing by outside the window.

Of course, it is also a pleasure to arrive to my old hometown Brussels and meet up with old friends. First out was Brian, who we got to know in Jerusalem. He was here temporarily before going back home to the US, so I was lucky to catch him.

We met at Place Jourdan for lunch at Friterie Chez Antoine, allegedly Brussels best frites-place. Next stop was one of my favourite little secrets in Brussels - the bar inside the airplane hall in the Military History Museum. You sip your Chimay literarily under a Junker 52 airplane, and with lots of more planes all around you. Excellent!

In the afternoon, we headed to my other favourite bar in town, the brilliant Moeder Lambic. This is a very relaxed neighbourhood bar on a corner in St Gilles. But they happen to have a mind-blowing selection of good Belgian beer (we’re talking hundreds of different ones here) as well as very knowledgeable staff. They also have some pretty pungent cheeses.

At Moeder Lambic, we were joined by Henrik, an old friend from the Sea Cadets that I last met 1987 or so. Now, he works at the European Commission and lives in Brussels. Later on, Marianne, Dagens Nyheters Brussels Correspondent, joined us, as well as Sara (who used to be a freelance here, but just started a new job within the press service at the European Parliament). Last in was Teresa. And, oh yes, an Irish friend of Brian showed up as well. All in all, we were a merry bunch sampling the delights of Belgian master brewers and talking about everything from old times to foreign politics and the relation between man and woman. A great evening!