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story by: Inspire Central & Eastern Europe, & Scandinavia

    Any country where hot chips dipped in mayonnaise are a national favourite has to be a great place for travellers. Tuck into your share while visiting this pocket-sized nation that manages to pack a surprising amount of history into a very small area. Belgium has special significance for Kiwi travellers. More than 4700 New Zealanders are buried here in about 80 cemeteries throughout the country. A growing number of Kiwis now make a pilgrimage to these wartime resting places and to the battlefields of Flanders. They will always be assured of a warm welcome from the locals too.

      While you are in Brussels head for the Grand Place and absorb the atmosphere among the elegant guild houses before you go in search of the tiny, but very famous Mannekin-Pis statue. One place that definitely deserves a longer stay is Bruges. This medieval town is perfect with its network of picturesque canals, glorious medieval Gothic architecture and preserved stone cottages. A boat trip on the picturesque canals of Bruges allows you to admire the city’s most beautiful sites from a totally different angle. You may even see women sitting outside their front doors making hand-made lace. Those in search of works of art will want to check out the Rubens and Brueghel paintings but most famed artwork of all is the beer – Trappist monks have been making it for centuries – and then there are the utterly sumptuous handmade chocolates.

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