CHRISTMAS MARKET IN KRAKOW, POLAND

Somehow, I’ve always had a fascination for snow and Christmas markets, and going to Europe during Christmas time was one of the top things on my ‘travel must-do’ list. When I finally happened to plan a trip to Krakow (a city in southern Poland, near the border of the Czech Republic) this December, I couldn’t contain my happiness. I was all excited to hop on the plane and see the European town decked up with shimmering lights and pretty festive knick-knacks.

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RELIVE YOUR CHILDHOOD WITH TINTIN IN BRUSSELS!

Homeland of comic strip heroes, Brussels in Belgium surprises you with an itinerary of colourfully-painted walls

Brussels is the birthplace of Tintin and Spirou, the worthy forerunners of many generations of comic book heroes. The Smurfs, Lucky Luke and the Daltons Blake and Mortimer, Largo Winch and The Cat were also born here. So, it’s only natural that, in Brussels, comic strip is everywhere: events, museums, shops, bookshops, galleries and street gables all celebrate the 9th art, which is an integral part of its cultural genetic make-up. But comic strip can also be found in places where you least expect it: railway and metro stations and balloons filled with creativity and conviviality burst into the scene.

A must-do in the city is a comic-strip trail. As you come across forty or more monumental frescoes, you’ll get to know these legendary characters and their talented authors. This one-of-it’s-kind walk won’t disappoint the comic-strip fan in you!

Here are a few I spotted during my trail in Brussels:

Broussaille

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Broussaille was the very first comic strip mural in July 1991. Brussels author Frank Pe does not deny that Broussaille is an alter ego. Both city boys are sensitive souls, curious nature lovers and avid dreamers. In their philosophical vision, they see fauns, whales flying over the grey city and giant turtles crossing the street.
Where: Plattesteen, 1000 Brussels

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TASTING GHENT

The city of Gothic architecture, Ghent in Belgium, is a place that should not only be visited but also tasted

WORLD’S BEST WAFFLES

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We tried a strawberry waffle at Max, Goudenleeuwplein 3 – an 1839 establishment famous for inventing apple fritters and Brussels waffle – and it was like eating a bit of history

If waffles have always been your weakness, leaving the Flemish city without sampling a home-baked warm waffle would be a serious offence. Belgium’s street food, classic Ghent waffles are crisp on the outside and airy on the inside (literally; even the ones with a micro appetite can easily gobble down two to three king-sized waffles without complaining of overeating) and to be had with a sprinkle of snowy powdered sugar. These waffles are so well made that they don’t really need a mask of maple syrup or any extra-sweet toppings to make them inviting. They are pure happiness all in their crisp, plain form; just the waft of these waffles can transport you to seventh heaven. But if you fancy a waffle meal, try one with a dollop of whipped cream and freshly-sliced strawberries or even Belgium-special dark chocolate.

PUNGENT MUSTARD

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Located in the heart of the city at Groentenmarkt 3, Tierenteyn-Verlent sells its own freshly-made mustard and I bet you’ll love it

Some hate it, some love it, Ghent mustard with its strong piquancy can set your mouth on fire! But after the initial sharp taste, you quite tend to crave its distinct spiciness. Located in the heart of the city at Groentenmarkt 3, Tierenteyn-Verlent produces arguably the best preservative-free mustard in Ghent since last 200 years (since 1790 without the slightest change in its taste). And it’s never more than three days old. What you see is barrels filled with freshly-prepared mustard. Pick one of the signature stone jars or glass bottles in your preferable size (price ranging from €1.80 to €8.80 depending on the size of the bottle) and get your mustard skilfully ladled in it. Ghent mustard makes for a great souvenir for yourself as well as your foodie loved ones as it goes well with everything from different varieties of cheese to meat platter and, of course, beer. Yes, you heard it right. Almost anything is edible with a dab of Ghent mustard on it!

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WHY YOU MUST DROP EVERYTHING & TRAVEL. DREAM, BOOK, GO…

There is no discounting that you learn some of the most important skills in the classroom but the lessons you learn about life when you leave your comfort zone and step into the unknown are incomparable. Here are some of the best lessons of life that travel teaches you.

TRUST YOUR INTUITION
If you travel on your own (by not opting for no-sweat group tours that have everything planned for you), you are likely to tackle situations where you have to make a choice or a decision immediately. No amount of research or preparedness can come to your rescue. But on the bright side, discovering things on your own, like what’s the cheapest and quickest way to get from point A to point B, how much should you trust your instinct when talking to a stranger, how much should you spend each day… etc. all go a long way to smarten you up. When you are in another country, you feel less judged and more courageous too.

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