2003 - Italian music and gastronomy in the Flanders

For the first time since our "Mare e Monti" joined the IML Walking Association we have come abroad to promote the walk. We were invited to Blankenberge, a seaside resort in West Flanders, very close to Bruges, by the organizers of the Flemish walk to cooperate with them on their events. Inside the spacious tent at the starting point we installed our "Italia Stand", where photos and posters of the Ligurian landscape are featured. The cooks of the Mare e Monti cheerfully cook spaghetti for the walkers. A team from "Lanterna Alimentari", the Genoese firm which is market leader in frozen baked products for large-scale distribution of the famous "focaccia", gives out samples of the Genoese speciality to the walkers, in the meanwhile the Monteguzzo agricultural firm put on an assorted wine tasting really appreciated by the lovers of Bacchus' drink. The joyful notes of the Arenzano band entertain the walkers, but the real showman is Josie, one of the "Mare e Monti" volunteers, who duets with the official speaker of the manifestation by singing the most famous Italian songs. On the occasion of the final ceremony the violinist Andrea Cardinale enchants the public with Nicolo' Paganini's virtuosity. A successful season of events abroad has been started.

2005 - "Mare e Monti" walkers in the Flanders

In 2005 we return to Blankenberge, this time with a large group of walkers in addition to the "spaghetti team". While the cooks are busy cooking, we lead our walkers to visit the enchanting Bruges which lies only 10 km from Blankenberge and is worth a visit. In few European cities is the look of medieval times so present as here in this city. The Burg square surrounded with beautiful buildings welcomes us. We walk up to the top of the Belfroi tower to enjoy the marvellous panorama of the city. Walking through small alleys and along canals we reach the peace and quiet of Beguinage. We do not fail to experience a trip on a tourist boat along the canals which make Bruges known as the "Venice of the North". To crown our tour, a visit tothe "De Halve Maan" old brewery and to the chocolate shop to sample the famous pralines. The routes of the "Tweedaagse van Vlaanderen" pass through a various landscape where polders are interspersed with the Flemish countryside. Since we are used to our narrow places, we are struck by the expanse of the places and by the wideness of the beaches, which consist of fine sand. The Flemish walk counts around 10,000 participants. Really, the area of the Low Countries is the country of walkers. The refreshments stops are also equipped with a foot massag, a pleasant ritual, besides being a necessity for long distance walkers.