More than you’d expect, gifts for a journey

01.07.09 |

How many cities do you know that used to have a marketing moto as clever as: Hamilton, more than you expect? For five years it has not ceased to surprise me.

Thankfully in 2008, the Lonely Planet guide told its readers that Hamilton, New Zealand’s ‘main street has sprouted a sophisticated and vibrant stretch of bars and eateries that on the weekend at least leave Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour for dead’. This offering of more than one would imagine, sounds strangely similar to my experience of Belgium. It’s not the Netherlands or France. It’s not Germany or the UK and it’s not even linked to the wealth of Luxembourg. Instead people who haven’t been to Belgium don’t necessarily know it’s there and people who have, remember it for particular moments and experiences; amazing nights on the town, cathedrals, cobblestone, fast-trains through it, day-trips, fries and sauces.

New Zealand is a collection of islands; with differences prone to generalisations and stereotypes. The South has its mountains, the North has its geo-thermal wonderland. The large island off the bottom, few visitors see. It’s a world unto itself.

Friends of ours are moving to Belgium and we wanted to offer them gifts that would remind them of ‘home’ (wherever that may be). A Belgian and a Hamiltonian, New Zealander, surely those familiar with both will see the obtuse similarity.

Belgium, the Hamilton of Europe

If Belgium were New ZealandGifts for Lissa and Tim

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