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Ghent monastery nights

The Monasterium Poortackere in Ghent, Belgium, has several packages for those who would like to stay in a monastic environment.

The building dates to 1278, when it was built for the Beguines, a lay sisterhood founded in the Netherlands in the 13th century. The name comes from its location near a city gate (poort in Dutch) and a field (akker).

Before it was converted to a hotel, the building served as a cloister, orphanage, house for young women and student housing.

One of the options, the “Beer Package,” costs 87.50 euros per person, double occupancy. It includes one night’s accommodation with breakfast, welcome basket with East Flemish regional products from the historic Groot Vleeshuis (a market), a visit to the Gruut Brewery, tastings, lunch and tourist information package.

The “Discover Ghent” package costs 124 euros per person, double occupancy. It includes two nights’ accommodation with breakfasts, a lunch stop in the Groot Vleeshuis, an evening featuring a “search for St. Autbertus” — a bishop who helped develop monastic communities in Belgium — that includes stops for drinks and a tourist information package.

For reservations and details, go to

Cycling Flanders

If you’re thinking of cycling through Flanders in northern Belgium, be sure to consult before you go.

The site gives details about bike trips in Flanders, with suggested rides organized by city and route, and includes itineraries and descriptions.

The routes are organized by numbered “nodes,” or points where the cycling paths intersect. You can use them to set up your own cycling trip, calculating the exact mileage of each length between nodes. Signposts along the way show both the node numbers and directional arrows. Also included on the site are proposed cycling routes, GPS routes, a list of bed-and-breakfast accommodation in Flanders, and a store for maps and guides.

Run the Matterhorn

Put your running skills to the test this summer by joining the International Matterhorn Run in Zermatt, Switzerland, on Aug. 22. The 8-mile route that starts in Zermatt and goes up to the Schwarzsee (about 8,471 feet above sea level) boasts some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the world.

The entry fee is 10 Swiss francs (about $11). See


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