Grand architecture at theﬁrand Plage
Brussels is the capital of Belgium and is therefore the main port of call for the majority of flights. Most airlines fly into Zaventem which is connected to the city centre with a regular train service. The other airport is Charleroi which is the destination of Ryanair flights and is one hour’s bus journey into the city centre. If you are travelling from London. the Eurostar is also an option which takes you into the city's Gare de Midi station. Once in the city of Brussels. travelling around is incredibly easy. The centre is divided into two areas. the Lower and Upper towns and they are small enough for you to walk around, or alternatively you can take the metro. bus or a tram.
THINGS TO DO
There are plenty of things to see and do around the city. There are several galleries which exhibit fine and modern art as well as the surrealists Magritte and Delvaux. The
museums take in everything from Tintin. beer,
lace and chocolate to the history of Belgium and its people. The architecture is definitely
1 16 THE LIST 13 Dec 2001—3 Jan 2002
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Take in the Manneken Ple-
worth checking out and a great place to start is the Grand Place. which is home to some magnificent buildings. If you want to shop there are plenty of places in and around the city including tourist shops and some more expensive designer outlets. The one thing you have to see is the Manneken Pis. a statue of a small boy peeing. You can while away many an hour afterwards asking the question: ‘Why’?' To make sure you don't miss anything there are organised walking tours around the different parts of the city.
There are several festivals that happen during the year. including the International Cartoon and Animated Film Festival and the Valentines Day Weekend Chocolate Passion Fair & Carnival in February. the Tapis des Fleurs in August when you can see the Grand Place covered in flowers. and the Marché Noel at Christmas time. No matter what time of year you go. there will always be plenty of things going on even if it is just sitting in a cafe and watching the world go by while savouring a beer or hot chocolate. (Jane Hamilton)
Festivals, flights and fabulous fares
I WANT TO VISIT somewhere stunning while at the same time raising money for charity? Go Mongolia! is organised by Aberlour Child Care Trust, and the aim is to raise £2,656 which covers the cost of your trip and still allows a substantial contribution to the charity. You’d spend eight days next July trekking in Mongolia, climbing to the summit of Altan Ulgii. For more details call 01786 895024 or log onto www.aberiour.org.uk I ON A SIMILAR theme. Mencap's Trek Japan is also looking for participants. From Tokyo you'll go on to explore the Yamanhasi prefecture. home to M0unt Fuji and the Five Lakes. The trek IS one of many events organised by Mencap. and is scheduled to take place next September. For more info call 0845
9777 779 or log on to www.mencap.0rg.uk
I TWO LOCATIONS that will be having plenty going on next year are Bruges and Salamanca. Both cities will hold the title of European City of Culture 2002, and as such there’ll be a year-long programme of arts and events. To find out what’s planned log on to www.brugge2002.be and www.aboutsalamanca .com
I NEW TRAVEL
books out this month include the third edition of Time Out's Guide To Las Vegas (El I .99). complete with ‘candid' reviews of the casinos and an introduction to gambling with tips to turn novices into high- rollers. At the other end of the scale. the Good Britain Guide 2002 is billed as a ‘family companion' to the British isles as it has detailed listings of entertainment and attractions suitable for all ages and interests. as well as recommended restaurants. hotels
YANN ARTHUS-BERTRAND The Earth From The Air 365 Days (Thames &
Hudson £24.95) 00.00
This is a misleading book. By that I mean it’ll suck you in by looking like the ultimate coffee table bible of wonderful photographs. But once you move on to reading the text, you’re confronted with chilling statistics about how the human race is destroying the planet’s marvels you’ve just been breathlessly admiring.
365 Days does indeed have a photograph for each day of the year, accompanied by social or environmental comment from informed sources. The high rises of Tokyo contrast with green fields of cauliflowers in Peru; an abandoned town near Chernobyl is bleak and depressing while the multi-coloured fabrics drying under the sun in Rajasthan are glorious. Although we discover that the swimmers in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon are also harnessing gee-thermal energy in their homes, in most cases the fragility of these environments is striking. (Louisa Pearson)