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A family weekend in the Mosel Valley

A family weekend in the Mosel Valley


Every now and then my brother and sister in law like to organise these little ‘culinary’ weekends away with the family. Our last trip took us to the Champagne region in France and this year we went for wine tasting in Germany. We spent a few days in the Mosel Valley and a day in Trier on our way back. Here’s a few photos and some tips on which villages to visit.  


We stayed at a charming bed & breakfast called ‘Gästehaus Bollig’ in Trittenheim, in the middle of the Mosel, where the Wine Festival had just started. During this annual event the people of Trittenheim come together under the main bridge to celebrate with wine and music. We got to taste some lovely wines from local wineries “Trittenheimer Altaechen” and “Trittenheimer Apotheke”.



From Trittenheim we journeyed to other municipalities where we visited a couple of Roman ruins, like Villa Urbana in Longuich and Villa Rustica in Mehring. Now honestly, once you’ve seen one of these, you’ve kind of seen them all. But I do recommend the one in Longuich for its beautiful surrounding views. In Mehring we also did a wine tasting at Weingut (the German word for winery) "Zum Römerkopf” where we took home a delicious Riesling wine. And we made a third stop at Longen for a walk through the vineyards – for which June seemed like the perfect timing. I remember it was only April when we visited La Champagne and because the grape vines had just started growing, it took away a bit of the view’s magic.







We ended the weekend with a day in Trier. It’s said to be the oldest city in Germany and I was really charmed by its beautiful old town square, The Hauptmarkt. After schnitzels for lunch at Restaurant Schlabbergass, we continued our walk past the Porta Nigra to the Liebfrauenkirche and onto the Palace Gardens. Also worth a visit is the Roman Amphitheater just outside the city walls. It was built in the 2nd century A.D and you can walk all around the arena and even enter the basement underneath.




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Maxime Loncke
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Sipping coffee in Bruges: 5 favorites

Sipping coffee in Bruges: 5 favorites


5 favorite coffee spots in Bruges

I’ve thoroughly discussed my love for Bruges on here before, so a list of my favorite coffee spots couldn’t stay far behind. Whenever I plan a day trip there on the weekends, I like to try some new places or revisit old favorites. What I love about Bruges’ coffee scene is that there seems to be less of a hipster culture present. The people and places feel more authentic, which is so refreshing compared to other Belgian cities. If you’re a coffee geek like me and heading to Bruges soon, you’ll love these five places to enjoy your daily cup of joe.

5 favorite coffee spots in Bruges: Vero Caffè + Adriaan

Vero Caffè

Grabbing a coffee at Vero Caffè has become a fixed habit when visiting Bruges. It’s one of those spots that make you feel instantly at home, which isn’t surprising as its interior is literally living room goals. The coffee is definitely the highlight though. My favorite order? A cappuccino with a large piece of their white chocolate cake - so sweet but so good!
SINT-JANSPLEIN 9 | facebook.com/verocaffebrugge

Coffeebar Adriaan

Housed in a 19th century building, Adriaan is a mix of a traditional Belgian coffee house and a modern bar. By traditional, I mean a typical breakfast at Adriaan consists of freshly baked crusty bread rolls with ham and cheese. Trust me, breakfast doesn’t get more Belgian than that. Before taking a sip of one of the many coffee options, be sure to stop and admire their collection of old coffee cans and grinders on display in the back of the shop. It’s gorgeous.
ADRIAAN WILLAERTSTRAAT 7 | coffeebaradriaan.be

5 favorite coffee spots in Bruges: Kottee Kaffee

 Kottee Kaffee

“We do it for the locals” Didier, the owner of Kottee Kaffee, told me the first time we visited on my birthday two years ago. And you can taste the passion he and his wife put into their work, and food. Their bread basket formula is far from the average one. It includes seven different types of bread, all wheat-free, served with complementary spreads and delicious homemade jams. This cozy spot is hidden away in a quiet alley, but definitely worth looking for!
KORTE ZILVERSTRAAT 8 | kotteekaffee.com
 
5 favorite coffee spots in Bruges: Margritt + Cafuné

Margritt

Margritt is one of my more recent discoveries located in a charming side street of Bruges’ market square: the Sint-Amandsstraat. They offer good coffee, homemade bakes and several breakfast and lunch options. Don’t be fooled by the tiny space you see when you enter, there’s plenty more seats in the back of the place!
SINT-AMANDSSTRAAT 30 | facebook.com/margritt1

Cafuné

Cafuné is a specialty coffee bar that has recently opened its own roastery, which already gives away the high quality you can expect from their coffee. I always go for a cappuccino but they have several slow coffee options like Kalita and Aeropress as well. If you’re visiting in the afternoon and craving something sweet, you should have a go at their homemade apple turnover. Oh and for breakfast the banana pancakes are pretty awesome too.
ACADEMIESTRAAT 8 | cafune.be
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Maxime Loncke
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48 hours in Leuven

48 hours in Leuven



Staycations have become my new favorite thing. I’ve always had this strong longing to see every far away country as long as it wasn’t my own. But I’ve come to realize there are so many Belgian cities I’ve yet to discover. The most well-known city trip destinations in Belgium - Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels and by now you know of my undying love for Bruges - are without a doubt all visit-worthy, but often cramped with tourists. The smaller ‘unexplored’ towns are logically left more authentic and are also more interesting budget-wise, which after our trip to not-so-cheap Copenhagen is something I’m definitely looking for right now. 

In August we decided to take it to Leuven for a short weekend. As the capital of Flemish Brabant, it’s a city full of history but it has a youthful aspect to it as well, seeing as many students from Leuven’s University live there during school months. Therefore hip cafes and innovative concepts have increasingly become a part of the city’s culture. For us it was the perfect choice for a two-day getaway. Read on for more details on how we spent 48 hours sightseeing, sipping coffee and shopping our way through Leuven.

See & do


The Great Beguinage + Saint John the Baptist Church 

We started our first day in Leuven with a visit to The Great Beguinage, which immediately stole my heart with its medieval charm. Its authentic sandstone houses and alleys date back to the 13th century. The Saint John the Baptist Church situated in the middle of the beguinage is also free for visitors.

Saint Peter's Church

Another notable church is Saint Peter’s. Located in the very heart of Leuven and originally built in 986, it’s the city’s oldest church and a beautiful example of late gothic architecture. Inside you can discover the most famous work of Flemish painter Dieric Bouts: The Last Supper.


The Town Hall

Leuven’s most remarkable building is without a doubt the Town Hall. It was built by three different architects and has 236 statues gracing its facade. If you’re interested in learning more about the history of the building, there are daily guided tours in Dutch, French and English where you can visit the council hall, the wedding hall and the reception rooms.
Tip: We booked our tickets beforehand via Visit Leuven. With the ILUVLeuven XL formula we got to visit the Town Hall, University Library and the M-Museum for only €16.

The University Library + Tower

If you’d like to visit Leuven’s University Library, do it on the weekend. Only then you’re free to walk around the reading room without having to bother any students - which I may have done to get this photo. Also make you sure your ticket includes the library tower: five floors take you up to the balcony where you can enjoy a wonderful view over Leuven. 


Stella Artois Brewery

There aren’t many cafes in Leuven that don’t serve Stella Artois beer, so visiting the brewery is kind of a given. I found it really interesting to see and hear all about how the beer is made and having visited a few breweries, I can say this was one of the better tours. There’s a tour every Saturday and Sunday and you can easily buy your tickets online here.

The M-Museum

Honestly we only visited the M-Museum because it was included in our ILUVLeuven Tickets. I’ve never really been a museum person, but it did add a nice bit of culture to our trip. The M always has new expositions going on so check their website to see the current program.

Food & shopping

Harvest Club

For a bit of eco-friendly shopping, check out Harvest Club on the charming Mathieu de Layens square. They sell everything from women’s, men’s and kids' clothing to beauty products and small deco items: all ethical and sustainable. And they have plants and cacti too!
MATHIEU DE LAYENSPLEIN 7 | harvestclub.be

Koffie en Staal

Koffie en Staal - literally ‘Coffee and Steel’ - specializes in coffee and lunch as well as handmade jewelry and furniture. So after you’ve enjoyed a delicious toast with hummus or a cappuccino on ice, be sure to take a peek at the lovely earrings, bracelets and necklaces in their little shop.
MECHELSESTRAAT 140 | koffieenstaal.be

Bar Stan

Cozy vibes, great coffee and more cozy vibes: Bar Stan is my favorite breakfast spot in Leuven and definitely worth a little walk from the center. Imagine large sansevierias, vintage school chairs and the smell of fresh homemade granola. Sold? I know I am.
CONSTANTIN MEUNIERSTRAAT 2 | barstan.be
 

Nosh

Just across from the Town Hall, you’ll find Nosh. This brunch spot is mostly known for its scrumptious bagels and American pancakes. We went for the latter in the maple syrup, yoghurt and blueberries version. Their menu also offers a couple of brunch formulas, from which I picked the ‘Veggie Breakfast’ with avocado toast, cheese and fried eggs - huge but delicious!
NAAMSESTRAAT 14 | nosh.be

Thelma Coffee & Design

Thelma is a concept store combining designer clothing and interior bits with coffee and homemade (vegan) cake - which sadly we didn’t try. The shop is wonderfully bright and spacious, and a must-visit whilst shopping in Leuven as it’s located in a side street of one of the city’s most prominent shopping streets: the Diestsestraat.
VAARTSTRAAT 12 | thelmacoffeedesign.com
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Maxime Loncke
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[name=Maxime Loncke] [img=https://i.imgur.com/WxxmQ8F.png] [description=I'm Maxime and I'm a 26 year old writer and photographer living in Ghent, Belgium. Toujours Maxime is where I share my personal style, travel tips & baking endeavors.] (instagram=https://www.instagram.com/toujoursmaxime) (pinterest=https://www.pinterest.com/toujoursmaxime) (twitter=https://twitter.com/maximeloncke) (bloglovin=https://www.bloglovin.com/@maximeloncke)

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