I'm Andy, born and raised in Belgium, living in Bruges, leaving for a 5 year tour in Strassbourg (France) on August 26th 2019. And founder of Your Bruges !
Sergeant First Class in the Medical Departement of the Belgian Army, EMT, hyperbaric physician and senior instructor, based in a unit in Zeebrugge.
After three years of studies, I'm also an official, certified City Guide of Bruges.
Still eager to learn more so I can show more of the little details the city has to offer, tell about the small stories behind the facades of buildings, discovering the hidden gems it has to offer.
And I love to travel!
With my line of work I got to see parts of the world, but sometimes in a lesser moment. Not only I served two tours in Kosovo in 1999 and 2001, after the Tsunami on Christmas-evening of 2004 I was sent to Sri Lanka during the first months of 2005 in support of our engineering troops, but there we also aided the local people in their needs. With a specialisation on hyperbaric treament and diving accidents I boarded naval ships as EMT for several years. During this time I wandered the wild seas and saw all of Europe.
After teaching and training people to become First Aid Aboard Naval Ships, I've changed unit. Back to Zeebrugge and with the possibility to embark aboard Naval Ships! I'll need to make arrangements to make sure people can still enjoy my services and view on how a tour guide should be...
Not only professionally I travel, also in my private life I travel when possible. I now have to admit my favorite city is London. I tend to go there at least once a year, preferably twice. Not only London, but Rome, Florence, Edinburgh, Barcelona, New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Oxford, Windsor, Canterbury were visited. And there are so many more I'd love to see. Blessed with a wonderful and lovely girlfriend who also loves to travel.
On September 2016 I started my biggest adventure ever, when my son Ollie was born!
As a Belgian I know at least two languages, Dutch and French, but my English is also well enough. And I love history, but the fun stories you can find are the ones I'm looking for.
Productive as Andy is, he's always doing something in his -rare- free time. For the last year he devoted this free time to write a book. The Sights Walk, but not with the stories told. So you can re-visit Bruges, walk the walk and read other stories. Is it your first time in Bruges? Also a perfect way to discover those off-the-beaten-track areas Andy loves and takes his guests to.
Available on Amazon in ebook or paperback. Just click the "Get the book" button to the right.
My Liebster award
This was something new to me. Never heard of the Liebster award before. I was already getting my suit ready for the ceremony. But when ready Emma's explanation I got it. It's some sort of chain letter amongst bloggers. Since I'm blogging as well, I was invited to participate. Ok then, really cool.
I added this to the section "About me", so you get to know me even more!
Thank you very much Emma for awarding me with this !
1.What has travelling taught you about yourself?
Travelling the world taught me one thing: there is so much to see in the world, that you must live your life to the fullest. Enjoy the time you have here. There are so many beautiful places to visit that it would be a waste to stay in one place all your life. It’s often my grandmother tells me she envies me for seeing the world. She never had the possibility to travel and every time I come back home to show her pictures of where I’ve been she reminds me to make the most of my life and live!
2.What destination has surprised you the most? Why?
That’s without a doubt Camden Town. Don’t know exactly why I wanted to go there… But I love the atmosphere there. You can wear jeans and shirt, or a just a bathrobe and slippers, nobody will look differently at you. Ok, the bathrobe is a little over the top maybe, but you get what I mean, right? Since then, every time I visit London a visit to Camden is on the program! I even have my favorite food stand there. For those who know it, it’s on the corner if you’re going to the half-scooter-seats, the guys shouting “Bang-bang chicken”.
3.Why do you travel?
There’s a good question! Why do I travel? To learn! To meet new people, see places, experience history, feeling it! As Captain Picard tells Lieutenant Commander Data in Star Trek – First Contact: “…touch can connect you to an object in a very personal way, make it seem more real.” Going to places makes history more real to me. Standing at a place of great historical happening is realizing how small we are in the line of time.
4.If you were to recommend just one place for your readers to visit, out of all of the places you’ve been, where would it be?
Go to London! There’s so much to see there, so much to do. I’ve been there over a dozen times and still can stumble on a place that is so nice, beautiful. And there’s so much to visit, to do… Oh, next question?
5.Do you prefer to travel solo, with a significant other, or in groups (friends, family, etc.) and why?
All of the above. Every way has its advantages and disadvantages.
Solo you can do what you want, when you want.
Traveling with somebody is also fun.
A group can be cool but if you’re unlucky you can wind up with a group of short-sighted people who are not open to meeting new people. I’m a guy who starts talking to other people on a bus. Not pushy, but just meeting friendly and talking. If you don’t have that “vibe” in the group, you can feel quiet lonely in a group…
6.Would you rather have a week long luxury holiday, or a month of budget backpacking?
I’d do both. Backpacking or a hotel, it's both has good and lesser points.
But traveling and stay on the side of a pool all week. No, thank you, culture-traveling. When going somewhere visiting a much as possible. Yep, sometimes recuperating a few days after getting back home from a voyage is needed.
7.What is a top ‘insiders’ tip that you’d give to people visiting your hometown?
At my hometowninor much is happening… Really! But close by there is Bruges and that’s much better. When visiting find the small shops, off the beaten track of the tourists. You want to try the famous Belgian beers? Go to a supermarket and get some there. You can drink in public in Belgium. Being drunk on the streets is not such a good idea.
8.How do your friends and family back home feel about your choice to travel?
A lot of friends envy my travel-rage. They stay home all the time. Furthest they go is Brussels or Antwerp. That’s not traveling.
They like it I travel and respect it though.
9.What is the worst experience you’ve ever had travelling?
Luckily I was never victim of mugging, pick-pocketing or robbery.
Only thing I ever had was a nasty fever when I was in Africa. That’s was a moment of panic, with malaria in mind… Fortunately it was just due to something I ate the day before.
For the rest, every journey was a joyful one, filled with beautiful memories I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.