RDK

Belgium?

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Looks like I'm off for a week in Brussels in a bit less than two weeks from now. I've only been to Europe once - Paris - and if you asked me a month ago Belgium would have been quite a bit down the list after Italy, Germany, England, etc. - as a stupid American I barely knew where it was - but a friend is working there for the summer so i thought I'd drop in.

Would love to hook up with any board members who might be in the vicinity to catch a jazz show, do some "import" CD shopping, or otherwise sightsee. Can anyone recommend any good jazz clubs, essential music stores, or must-see tourist spots? I'm also open to any suggestions for day or weekend trips to nearby cities/countries (Amsterdam?).

Ray

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Looks like I'm off for a week in Brussels in a bit less than two weeks from now. I've only been to Europe once - Paris - and if you asked me a month ago Belgium would have been quite a bit down the list after Italy, Germany, England, etc. - as a stupid American I barely knew where it was - but a friend is working there for the summer so i thought I'd drop in.

Would love to hook up with any board members who might be in the vicinity to catch a jazz show, do some "import" CD shopping, or otherwise sightsee. Can anyone recommend any good jazz clubs, essential music stores, or must-see tourist spots? I'm also open to any suggestions for day or weekend trips to nearby cities/countries (Amsterdam?).

Ray

Paris? You can get there easily and in relative luxury on Eurostar from Bruxelles. You will find some guys on this board who shop regularly at Paris Jazz Corner and Moby Jazz.

I spent quite a bit of time in Belgium (Flanders, though) when I was younger but most of the time it was culturally devoid being dragged around the cycle racing scene; I wish I could revisit that time to see it through new eyes.

Bruxelles is a very cosmopolitan city from what I remember, nice big parks in which to relax and lots of cafés.

Nearby there are loads of excellent restaurents and breweries.

I always found Belgium, as a whole, to be very much like Normandy; not a lot of jaw-dropping elements to it but pleasurable in itself -- little things to behold, whether it be miles and miles of unspoilt farmland or sleepy little towns that come alive at night.

Bruges is always worth a visit and even through my naive young eyes of 15 years ago I still observed the 'catwalk on wheels' that is common to many European cities --- hundreds of beautiful young women wafting around town in their summer frocks on old sit-up-and-beg bicycles :wub:

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Have fun by the way :) i'd love a week over there at the moment.

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Brussels is a fine city to visit. Seek out some great value restaurants behind the Grand Place. On my short visit I didn't find any jazz record shops but I'm sure there must be some. Visit Bruges (Brugge),it's a must. It's one of the finest cities in Europe and it's only about an hour out of Brussels on the train. Not to be missed,

Have a great time.

Edited by JohnS

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Wayne Shorter is in Ghent tonight (Rotterdam tomorrow).

Bertrand.

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I would rather avoid the restaurants in the narrow streets behind the Grande Place, because most of them rip off tourists. Belgians never go there. There are better deals to be found around the Bourse.

You must try the many belgian specialty beers!

As far as day-trips go, there is Antwerp or Bruges, and even Paris (because of the fast train connection). As you already know Paris, Amsterdam would be most worth visiting, but the slow train ride takes 3 hours. You better plan a weekend stay.

For CD shopping in Brussels, I'd recommend the FNAC (in the shopping center City 2 in the rue Neuve). There is also a good vinyl store next to the Bourse, but it mainly sells US pressings (new and used). The best jazz store I know in the Benelux is Jazz Center in The Hague, but the city itself is not really worth a trip, compared to Amsterdam.

Here's a list of Jazz clubs in the area, not sure if it's up-to-date:

http://www.jazz-clubs-worldwide.com/docs/belgium.htm

Edited by Claude

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Brussels is quite nice, but I was only there for short trips rather and cannot recommend any jazz shops there. What I would advice to do is take the Thalys Highspped Train to PAris and/or Amsterdam being a 1:30+ trip and availalble often for a bargain when booked via Internet (www.thalys.com).

One hint (based on personal experience): avoid using a rental car in Brussels :D , even with the best map and navigation system you might not reach your target.

Cheers, Tjobbe

BTW: by train, its about 2hours to Cologne as well so basically you're there in the heart of Europe. Have fun !

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My memory of Belgium is kinda hazy, but I do recommend Lambique [lots of it], crepes, and definitely go visit Brugge, like the others have said. A wonderful town that was spared by both world wars. DO NOT DRIVE INTO BRUGGE, it's a nightmare!!!

Instead of Paris I'd hop on a quick train to Amsterdam. :blush:

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What I would advice to do is take the Thalys Highspped Train to PAris and/or Amsterdam being a 1:30+ trip and availalble often for a bargain when booked via Internet (www.thalys.com).

AFAIK, the Thalys between Brussels and Amsterdam goes at normal speed (until the new, faster railtrack will be ready), so it's almost 3 hours.

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Many thanks for the advice. Taking a closer look at the map I was surprised to see that Paris was so close to Brussels - though it's an unlikely destination for this trip only because I've been there once before. Amsterdam is very likely, though, and any other destinations reached quickly by fast train. Heck, if only two hours aweay I may go to Cologne if only to shop at Zweitausendeins! :lol:

It's funny, but living here in the U.S. tends to give one a much different sense of the size of other countries, especially some of the "smaller" countries of Europe. Belgium, it seems, is smaller that Southern California.

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Hi Ray,

yes Claude is right with the time to Amsterdam...its about 2:50, I believe I mixed that with the planned fast track connection to come. To Cologne its now 2h with the new fast track to Liege but the train still slows down to a sightseeing trip speed between there an Aix en Chapelle/Aachen through the Ardenne.

The Cologne 2001 BTW is 15min. walking from the Central Station :g

Cheers, Oliver

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Brussels has some superb African restaurants - in the African quarter. And there's a good record shop called Musicanova, also in the African quarter, where you can get lots of African CDs (and a few K7s if you're lucky).

MG

PS Musicanova has a big Latin section, too.

Edited by The Magnificent Goldberg

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I would rather avoid the restaurants in the narrow streets behind the Grande Place, because most of them rip off tourists. Belgians never go there. There are better deals to be found around the Bourse.

I can only speak from very limited experience. Touristy, yes but found the meals interesting and good value.

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During a recent trip to Paris I took a side trip to Brussels. Loved it - especialy the beer!

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Looks like I'll be in Brussels for a few days on business next week. Hope to sneek a few minutes of vinyl scouring in if the chance presents itself (will be on foot and hopefully in the central area and not the boondocks). Any suggestions for jazz vinyl meccas in the city - or good CD outlets? (shame the £ is so crap.)

Thanks !

Edited by sidewinder

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Looks like I'll be in Brussels for a few days on business next week. Hope to sneek a few minutes of vinyl scouring in if the chance presents itself (will be on foot and hopefully in the central area and not the boondocks). Any suggestions for jazz vinyl meccas in the city - or good CD outlets? (shame the £ is so crap.)

Thanks !

would also be interested in answers, only time i was there i was travelling in company so no time for extensive searching:) ! there were a bunch of (four or five) decent used bookstores with cd sections on rue du midi roughly between rue des bogards and rue des pierres... if you go by manneken pis into the direction away from the center the best cd shop i saw was into the second (or so?!!) street to the left on the right hand side after a few meters... (maybe bs, don't take too serious although this was the best store) generally the used cd market (no idea about vinyl though i did see some...) seemed very healthy then (a year ago), healthier than anywhere i've been in the last years.... so some goole search for music stores could be the thing to do...

Edited by Niko

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I shop in Brussels regularly, but there is no place for CDs or LPs I can really recommend (compared to shops I know in other cities). Most of the second hand stuff is either crap or overpriced.

There is a second hand vinyl store with a good jazz selection (mainly US pressings in less than mint condition) next to the Bourse, but the prices are over the top (15-25€).

The Collector:

http://www.the-collector.be

And there is a decent second hand CD store it also has some LPs) next to the Rue Neuve , which I mainly use to unload low value CDs not worth putting on Ebay

Discosold :

http://trouvesurcarte.pagesdor.be/detailss...008020106593001

As far as new CDs go, the jazz department of the FNAC has been reduced in size recently, and 30% of the stuff is from Andorran labels.

Sorry I can't be more positive, but Brussels does not have much to offer for jazz collectors.

Edited by Claude

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stupid question, claude... which cities are really good?

think i did find discosold and also wasn't too impressed, mostly cheapo stuff for 10 euros... some of the smaller ones had a better (but small) selection or a cheapo one at lower prices (i enjoy browsing those but it may not be everyones cup of tea...)

Edited by Niko

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Gibert in Paris - most amazing used CD selection I've seen!

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stupid question, claude... which cities are really good?

Munich has one great jazz (and classical) CD store, which is part of the department store Ludwig Beck:

http://www.ludwigbeck.com/index.php?option...6&Itemid=86

And there are a couple of very good second hand vinyl stores, where you can find mostly european 1970's and 80's pressings (ECM for example) in mint condition for 5-10€

Schallplattenladen: http://www.derschallplattenladen.de/

Schallplattenzentrale: http://www.schallplattenzentrale.de/

Edited by Claude

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Thanks for the recommendations re: Brussels. Sounds like I should instead fly on to Munich (I also remember that they have a good zweitausendeins, bought vinyl there decades ago :) ). I'll try to check out 'The Collector' in Belgium if I can. I wonder if they are open on Sundays?

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munich... of course people like me don't like to hear anything positive about bavarian stuff... had hoped i would never have to go down there again but maybe it isn't all bad then (actually last time i was in munich i spend a good amount of time at beck's but that was in 1997 and i don't remember it vividly (later a neat beck's cd store opened in a bookstore here but that is long gone by now...)

best zweitausendeins store i have seen was düsseldorf (i mean, the differences are in the boxes with cheapo stuff, the main selection is the same everywhere),

the guy from croco jazz in paris told my brother he actually drives here (to saturn in cologne) to buy cds for his store so i should be happy to live where i live...

came to brussels with many prejudices and really loved it...

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Belgium. I know where that is. It's in Yurp isn't it?

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