Friday, March 28, 2008

European Kendo Championships in Helsinki

Last weekend the EKC was held in Helsinki, the second time in Finland. The 1st time was in 1993 in Turku. This time I went to see and to help a little bit the organisation.

The Championships ran very smoothly and everything was well under control. Congratulations for the Finnish organisation for the great job!

What comes to the championships, there were plenty of excellent shiais, a lot of energy, beautiful points,... and great atmosphere! I took some photos during the women's fights. There were 3 dedicated photographers in the tournament; thousands of photos will be made available very shortly.

The Party on Sunday night was also great fun. The Micragirls were playing some very energetic music. You might not like it (most of the foreigners were just looking completely astonished of the music...), but at least there was loads of energy in the night club during their performance.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Falcon & owl

I went with some friends to the Ardennes yesterday. There was a demonstration of owls' and hawks' flying capabilities in the Bouillon castle. That was indeed, very interesting. At the same time I took some photos.

(I don't know where my the photos are disappearing from the blog! Mostly annoying!)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

EKF Referee Seminar in Brussels

This weekend the annual EKF referee seminar was held in Brussels. It was really great to meet friends all over Europe and practise kendo together... not to mention the sharing of the refresments after the hard keiko!

The examinations took place on Sunday after the refereeing business. Great results for the ladies: there are 3 new 6th dan in Europe! Mirial, Chieko and Christiane; well done, congratulations to you all!!! There were in total 49 candidates for the 6th dan exam, only 7 passed. No one of the 12 candidates passed the 7th dan...

It was always a long wait for the shiai...

Now we are waiting for the selection for the European Kendo Championships in Helsinki. That'll be The Next Big Event!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Winter walk

The months are passing really fast. It's already the end of January! I've not had time, or have not taken the time, to take photos in the past weeks. This Saturday we went for a walk just outside of Brussels. This time I took the camera with me. The light was awesome!

The surroundings of the Chateau de la Hulpe are really nice for walking. In the yards of the castle there is a restaurant which makes a nice stop after the walk. Next to the restaurant there is the museum of Folon; a place worth a visit!

When we left the domain of Solvay, we had a very nice sunset. It reminds me of Finland and the sunsets in the summer time.

I've started to take photos in RAW format. I'm quite happy about it, though it requires a lot of processing time compared to the JPEG.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The shortest day of 2007: Saturday, December 22

The day was the shortest one; but how wonderful day it was! We set off in the morning to the forest to see the frost and ice. In Brussels it was just a normal no-snow morning. As soon as we entered the forest road, the temperature dropped and the trees started to have some white on them.The lake was very frozen: there were people enjoying on the lake by skating! It was the first time I saw that in Belgium.

We made a two-hour walk around the small lake. In fact most of the time I was taking pictures and admiring the wonderful winter morning.

The nights and days have been very humid (I read in the forecast 99% humidity!), and therefore we have this frost on the trees, leaves, cars,... Indeed it looks pretty!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Normandy - once again!

Once again a long weekend in Normandy. This time we went all the way to Mont-St-Michel which was really a wonderful place to see.

Of course we were not the only people who had thought that it would be a good idea to go there on a Friday: the island was packed with people. Nevertheless, it's a magical place with the abbey, the very narrow alleys, strong tide,...

Besides the Mont-St-Michel we went to some of the famous Normandy beaches of the WW II. Having read some stories in place gave quite a different view of what had happened during the D-Day. It was very touching...

On the way back we stopped in a village called Beuvron-en-Auge. It's one of the very idyllic villages one can find in Normandy. Even in November it was worth a visit, not forgetting the delicious crepes!...

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Gallo-Roman weekend

This weekend there was a Gallo-Roman festival in Wervik, near the French border. People were dressed and 'lived' as in the very old times... I found the details of the clothes and the whole event amazing. Many people were doing things as during the Gallo-Roman period. Even the food and vine were as before!

There were demonstrations of the Roman army's various ways to attack. The warriors were moving in their choreography while the commander was shouting in Latin! I couldn't stop thinking about Asterix and his adventures with the Romans... "Hulluja nuo roomalaiset!"

We got a wonderful presentation about the vines; how they were done, what was in them, how the taste develops in your mouth,... with the tasting, naturally. One of the oddest vines was the one made with sea water. You can really taste the salt in it. Most (all?) vines included honey and herbs or spices. The person who made the explanations was really enthusiastic about the vines and tried out the recipes himself. The (archaeological Roman) vines came from France; Mas de Tourelles is the place were they prepare vine according to the recipes of Cesar's period.

PS. I bought one bottle of Turriculae vine!...

Thursday, September 27, 2007


I had a wonderful walk at the beach today. It was really windy; good for re-freshening the head! And also the body of those who dared to swim...

I had never seen the water coming as high as it did today. The wind and waves cleared the whole beach of all foot-prints giving it a new beginning.

There were some kite-surfers enjoying the wind and waves. They made some awesome jumps (unfortunately too far away for my camera). These guys must have enjoyed their day to the fullest.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Car-free Sunday in Brussels

The annual car-free Sunday took place this past weekend. It's really good to see how well the rule of no engine vehicles allowed to the city - actually inside the ring! - is respected. All the entrances from the ring highway were closed; no one without a special permit, was allowed in.

The pedestrians, roller-skaters and bikers took over the city. Even during the Xmas shopping time there are not so many people in the streets as there were on Sunday. I took these photos in the center of the city.

We had walk around the Basilique of Kokoelberg, where there is a big Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, and the center of the city. There was a lot going on; in streets corners soft drink companies were distributing cans to everyone who passed by, some chocolate shops were distributing little chocolates, glass bottles with coloured paper messages inside were also given to everyone who cared to carry one (that was done by Passa Porte), a ship with pirattes was lost in the middle of the crowds, TV crews and police men were wandering with the crowds,... it was quite surrealist.

There were many little places to eat and drink. We had some Spanish tapas in Place Ste Catherine and a coffee in one little café. I found this café so nice that I was thinking to come back this week; unfortunately it was 'open' only this weekend, as many other little 'un-official' cafés.

I was thinking of starting roller-skating in order to be ready for next year's car-free Sunday...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Afternoon at the Tervuren park

We spent a wonderful afternoon today in the Tervuren park near the Africa museum. The sun was shining, the trees had started to turn into the autumn colours (already!) and a grey heron was fishing in the little pond. Yes, very idyllic!

...wish it was more often like this in Belgium!...

The above is the famous Africa museum near Brussels. The building itself is magnificient. I've visited the museum many years ago; I should do it again one of these days.

The photo above is the three African warriors looking over the museum and the park.