On the eleventh day of Blogmas... Fresh from my trip to Brussels, find out this evening what I got up to.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Ash wanted to go to the Christmas markets (I can definitely see this being a little annual outing) so I booked the Eurostar and hotel for a night. We did really well with the train times, allowing us two full days pretty much to explore – and to be honest, that was enough, we didn’t need another night.
First up, I’ll mention the hotel because it was lovely and in such a good location. We stayed at the Novotel Brussels Midi, just around the corner from the main train station in Brussels. It was about a kilometre to walk into the city centre to the markets and it only took 15-20 minutes – so not bad at all.
Our first stop once we had checked-in and dropped the bags off was Grand Place: a really lovely square, complete with cobbles, horse & carts and the most beautifully decorated Christmas tree. I was surprised there weren’t any of the wooden huts in this area, but when it got too cold, there were bars and restaurants to dive into. It was also a really good starting point to explore the side streets. At night, there was even a light & music show and it looked even more spectacular then – with the buildings illuminated, the Christmas tree had much more impact.
We also went ice skating – and I’ve honestly never been so petrified of anything in my life. Ash has ice skated loads before and been on skiing holidays but I was an absolute nightmare. Initially I struggled to stand on the ground, let alone the ice and as soon as I hit the ice, I felt so wobbly. Eventually I managed to skate a lap without holding on to anything and at least I didn’t fall over! I think I ended up being too over-confident and tried to whizz around as fast as I could. I would love to go ice skating again, though.
On the second day, we ventured to the other side of the markets – and Place Sainte Catherine was so much better. There were a lot more stalls selling goods from local delicacies and handcrafted toys to bags and accessories. Although we didn’t buy anything, it was still nice to walk around and have a mooch. There were also plenty of food & drink stalls for that little pit stop. At the end of the markets were a few attractions: a big wheel, a carousel, a giant slide and an inflatable ‘ice monster’. The carousel looked very dated and almost like a decorative feature, rather than something to actually ride. We did go on the big wheel though – the views weren’t the best as the outskirts of the city are a little rundown.
We ate and drank so well – cups of mulled wine, Irish coffee and amaretto hot chocolate went down far too easily but warmed the insides. Of course, we had to have a cone of Belgium fries – and I even tried Raclette for the first time... the hot sandwiches with pickles were to die for!
Have you been to Brussels before?
Love, Lucy xx