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Iron Brussels Beer Marathon – July 20th


IBBM

Next Wednesday will see yet another installment of the Iron Brussels Beer Marathon, don’t panic no running is involved. This promises to be a fun night out, it is essentially a pub crawl, in teams of two you will be given a map of Brussels and a camera in a pack outside the Grand Place on July 20th, your task is to wander, or stagger, through the capital of Belgium and pay homage at its many drinking holes and sample the nation’s beers.

The tour of Brussels includes quizzes and tasks, the camera you’ll be armed will help you document the night and you’ll have a great account of what happened, and more importantly which beers you like best. It’s also a fantastic chance to see Brussels, and mix with the locals as you find your way across Belgium’s capital. You and a friend will also be able to test what you’re really made of as well, this is a marathon after all, we recommend you drink sensibly, this is an endurance contest after all, the schedule also factors in a food-stop at a yet to be disclosed chippy, to give you the strength to go on.

Bookings for the Iron Brussels Beer Marathon is closing soon, just €10 for entry, and you and a friend can be on your way to becoming the Iron Beer Drinkers of Brussels.

A booking with P&O ferries will give you a chance to truly test your mettle in Belgium’s Iron Brussels Beer Marathon, the Hull to Zeebrugge ferry will give you a swift crossing.

Cross the channel with P&O Ferries and experience ultimate relaxtion at Thermen Bussloo


Not all trips abroad have to involve walking, cycling or even climbing. In a lot of cases, the ideal scenario involves not a map and/or sun lotion, but nothing more than a bathrobe. The wellness industry in the Netherlands is growing steadily – so why not pop over for a spot of peace & quiet?

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Seldomly can the expression “get away from it all” be applied so accurately as with the Thermen Bussloo wellness resort. Located near the Dutch city of Apeldoorn, Thermen Bussloo is a hotel dedicated to relaxation treatments that will replenish your energy levels and send you off with a renewed sense of peace and perspective.

The Hotstone massage comes recommended, where basalt stones are laid on either selected body parts or all over your body, as well as a more hands-on oriental sound and relaxation massage.

Another popular treatment is the Rasul cleansing, originally derived from Morocco. Medicinal mud is applied to the body, then washed off with warm water. A bodycream treatment and a glass of peppermint tea round off this deeply calming ritual.

Visitors to the Thermen Bussloo resort will also have the opportunity to indulge in mani- and pedicures and brown themselves up a bit in one of the two on-site solariums. Elsewhere, there are water beds to while away the day on, in the Mediterranean resting area, and a lake to take a swim in.

Package deals for two people start at €129, but there are cheaper deals available that cover selected treatments.

For more information, go to Thermen Bussloo’s official website.

To get to the Thermen Bussloo resort, you can take one of P&O’s ferries from Hull to Rotterdam. From Rotterdam, it is only about 50mins by car to Apeldoorn, the nearest big city.

Image credit: o5com

P&O Ferries offer Disneyland Paris ticket giveaway


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Car bookings made this summer on P&O Ferries Dover-Calais service will entitle holidaygoers to a free, one-day Disneyland Resort Paris ‘Hopper’ ticket worth £51.

Make your booking now: the deal lasts up to the 29th September, and you can book as far ahead as next March. You can choose to set sail at any time of the day; the P&O service crosses the channel 23 times a day between Dover and Calais. The price of travel is £35 each way, a cost which covers both car and passengers for as long a stay as you like. This deal will be a great way to save a bit of money, which families are then free to spend at their leisure during their stay in France.

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Hop aboard P&O Ferries and visit the De Halve Maan brewery in Bruges


Where better to drop in during a warm summer’s day than a brewery? How about a brewery in Belgium, one of the world’s most renowned producers of beer? The De Halve Maan brewery in Bruges is a great pit stop on your next trip to the continent with P&O Ferries.

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Visiting local breweries is a popular tourist attraction in Dublin (Guiness), Bremen (Beck’s) and Amsterdam (Heineken). You can add Bruges to that list of beer-savy European cities.

De Halve Maan brewery is the only family brewery still active in the Flemish capital. It was set up way back in 1856 and is still going strong: The malty, sweet Brugse Zot blond, which won the Brewers’ Association’s 2008 World Beer cup, is brewed here, along with the Straffe Hendrik, a spicier, fuller-bodied brown beer.

There are daily guided tours available, which take in both the brewery and the museum. Apart from beer tasting, there are also some great views over the city to be enjoyed, and those so inclined can round off their visit with a meal at the in-house restaurant.

Tours cost only €6 per person and are on offer every hour from 11am until 4pm (Monday -Friday and Sundays) and 11am until 5pm (Saturdays). They are available in Dutch, French, English and German.

To visit the De Halve Maan brewery, you can take a P&O Ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge, which is Bruge’s designated port and only around 10 miles away from Bruge’s city centre, where the brewery is located.


Image credit: erin.kkr

Dour Festival 2011- not as morose as it sounds


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Set in the French-speaking village Dour in southwest Belgium, this festival will attract music fans from all across Europe with its International line up. The 4-day Dour Festival starts Thursday 14th to 17th of July. Belgium is seen as the crossroads of Europe: it’s easily accessible from all P&O routes and directly from their Hull-to-Rotterdam service leaving you just a short cross country trek from the Dour Festival. For prime parking this festival supports car-poolers. There will also be a shuttle going from the Saint-Ghislain train station, and a London festival bus will also be available for departure and return: a great way to meet new people and get in to the festival spirit from the get-go.

The Dour Festival caters for all tastes and interests. A speciality beer and wine stand will be set up in the quiet zone for people to take it easy, and there will also be a football competition set up this year, called the Football Dournament with 32 five-aside teams competing for free passes. If you and your mates are up to the challenge register your team here.

A full list of the line up and scheduling is available on the Dour Festival official website, but a couple names stood out. This festival spans a fair few genres and will be great for anyone ready to sample a mixed bag of music. Coming this July in Belgium you’ll have the chance to see noise rockers Mogwai, West Coast rapper Ice Cube, brit pop favourites Suede, hip hop legends Public Enemy, the exciting London producer/DJ Joy Orbison, the newly reformed Pulp, The Klaxons and rap evergreens Cypress Hill.

Get on your motorbike and check out the Black Motocross Festival with P&O Ferries


It’s festival season alright. This doesn’t mean that it’s all welly-wearing art students frollicking in muddy fields, however. The Black Motocross Festival in De Schans in Lichtenvoorde is a hugely entertaining mix of motorbike stunts, music and other entertainment.

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The Zwarte Cross (Black Cross) Festival combines live music with theatrical entertainment, markets activities with motorcycle worship to make for an unforgettable, heady festival in the eastern Netherlands.

During the 15th, 16th and 17th July, revellers will enjoy live music by more than 100 bands and DJs from all over the world (e.g. German metal band Helloween, heavy rock legends Sepultura and hardcore punks Madball) as well as stage shows and motocross races. There will also be plenty of freestyle stunt shows, among them one called ‘Globe of Death’. In the past, motocross world champions such as the Belgian Sven Breugelmans and Ben Townley from New Zealand have appeared at the Black Motocross festival.

Despite its loud and heavy soundtrack, Black Motocross is also a family-friendly festival, with a special kids’ area putting on all kinds of free attractions and activities. There are rides, free lemonade for the young ‘uns, and supermarkets for those who have left some essential equipment at home.

Weekend tickets for the festival have sold out, but there are still day tickets available for as little as €28.50 (around £25.50), and, on the Sunday, kids get in for free.

To get to the Black Motocross Festival, you can take a P&O Ferry to Rotterdam and then drive east to the Oost Gelre municipality, which is about an hour and a half’s drive from the port city. The nearest station to the festival site is Lichtenvoorde-Groenlo.

Image credit: Kapungo

Cycling in France and Europe


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With the Tour de France now under way you may be getting the urge to do some touring of your own. With P&O Ferries, the cycle paths of Europe are open to you for just £29 per passenger. You and your trusty steed can cross the channel and pedal your way through the cities and countryside of France and then on to rest of Europe.

A cycle holiday is great way to explore France at your leisure. Riverside routes (blueways) will take you through some major cities so you can sample some urban living, while scenic country roads (greenways) are superbly signposted so you can pick up a good pace without having to stop and check a map at every turn. Some of the old expressways in France have now been converted in to cycle paths so there’s no need to dread the dangers of speeding cars and trucks, these roads are maintained exclusively for cyclists.

The blueways link some of the larger towns and cities together so you can cross open country and stop in a different hotel for the night to rest up, before hitting the road the next day. Major rivers like the Rhône and the Seine each have ‘bike only’ roads that you can follow to the sea and relax on the beaches of Southern France If you link your journey with greenways all of Europe is open to you. For example, the Eurovélo project connects France to its bordering countries so if you feel like braving the Pyrenees you can cut right through wine country and stop for some tasting on your way down to Spain.

Alternatively when booking your Dover-Calais ferry you could plan your return by a different route, and cycle along the North Sea returning to England via Holland or Belgium. Using these cyclepaths you’ll be able to loop south into Europe and head as east as you fancy; the Eurovélo project also has preplanned routes for you to cycle safely and get the best out of your tour of Europe.

Image credit: sayamindu

P&O ferry’s Dover-Calais service runs multiple times a day, get an early ferry and really get some miles under your belt before the first pitstop on your bike tour of Europe.

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