Expat Adventures

Deborah Bernstein began her career as a journalist in upstate New York. She worked in the travel industry for more than two decades, representing airlines, international destinations and hotel companies. A former managing editor for Hotline and Hyatt’s Regency Magazine, her stories and photographs have appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout the U.S. Deborah, who has lived in London and New York, has traveled to more than 45 countries and the list keeps growing. She now calls Belgium home.

Decision today on EU travel ban for USA

Americans can say goodbye to this year’s European vacation plans. The EU is expected to officially announce an EU travel ban for USA travelers. Yes, today is decision day for who may or may not fly into the EU. Non-essential travel to the EU has been banned since mid-March. Borders begin opening July 1. But not for everyone! They are expected to remain shuttered to Americans. It’s all because of the troubling rate of COVID-19 and the country’s inability to get the virus under control. Decision delayed, expected today A decision on which countries could travel to the EU was...

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Brussels Airlines resumes flights in June

Brussels Airlines resumes flights on June 15 after a long break resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline halted its commercial flight schedule on March 21. That’s great news for those of us living in Belgium — and for visitors! At first, travelers from Brussels will see a significantly reduced schedule. The airline said flights will be “built up in a phased approach according to market demand and travel restrictions.” Hey, that’s okay. We’ve been waiting for two months! First Destinations Brussels Airlines hasn’t announced the new schedule yet but says it will cater to both the business and leisure market....

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Venice Carnival Canceled over Coronavirus Fears

Venice’s best-loved event has been cut short due to worries about the coronavirus. The city’s pre-Lenten Carnival festivities were scheduled to continue through Tuesday, February 25, but officials canceled Carnival two days early. The closure was implemented to try to control what has been called the worst outbreak of COVID-19 in Europe. Over the weekend, Italy reported a jump in cases of coronavirus, immediately concerning officials who took quick action. They locked down nearly a dozen cities in Lombardy and Veneto. The move included shuttering schools and museums, and canceling soccer matches and the Venice Carnival. Trains to Austria...

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Antisemitism in Aalst -a parade controversy

Antisemitism is alive and well in Aalst, Belgium. The city of 289,000 people in East Flanders is hosting its annual carnival parade today. With it comes controversy. Last year, a float featured antisemitic characterizations of hook-nosed Jews sitting on bags of money. It sparked outrage across the globe Storm Ellen didn’t cancel parade Those who hoped the event would be canceled due to Storm Ellen’s high winds and rain were disappointed. Carnival events in cities across Belgium were canceled due to bad weather, but Aalst pressed on. The popular, three-day carnival is renowned for its comical and satirical parade floats....

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Should you be scared of coronavirus?

If you’re traveling to Italy for carnival this year, should you be scared about the coronavirus outbreak?  Some people are terrified. Fueled by media hype, many have canceled their trips. Others arrive decked out in full protective gear. Putting it into perspective The worry is real, but the deadly virus, dubbed COVID-19, kills fewer people than the annual flu. However, a troubling report claims COVID-19 is 20 times deadlier than the flu! Reports cite fatality rates at 2.3 percent. CCN reports, “When coronavirus was first publicized, many were quick to drive the narrative that the seasonal flu is more dangerous...

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Coping without Alcohol

Giving up Alcohol Doesn’t Mean Giving Up Taste. How are tens of thousands of Belgians coping without alcohol during Tournée Minérale? With a little inspiration and some great, healthy recipes! We promised you a few, tasty examples. Here they are, compliments of Tournée Minérale. Try a Mocktail Tournée Minérale Mocktail 2020 with Rhubarb and Fennel Two stems of rhubarb (200 grams) 900 ml of water 100 grams of unrefined cane sugar 3 lemons 1 fennel (250 grams) 1 tbsp. of honey A pinch of salt A pinch of pepper Alcohol-free Smoothie Sweet Pepper Want to get in those daily...

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A Month without Alcohol

Tens of thousands of Belgians are going alcohol free this month. It’s all part of Tournée Minérale, a month-long campaign by the Foundation against Cancer. Yes, there are fewer champagne glasses clinking, and those great Belgian beers are on the back burner this month. It’s all part of Tournée Minérale, a month without alcohol! My Belgian friends joke they prefer Tournée Minérale to Dry January because February is a shorter month than January. So, you have fewer days of abstinence. That being said, there is some merit to refraining from the booze and finding healthy alternatives. Forget the champagne...

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