Sunday, 11 December 2016

Blogmas #11 City Hopping – Brussels

Travel, Belgium, Brussels, Blogmas, Christmas, Christmas Markets, City Hopping
Travel, Belgium, Brussels, Blogmas, Christmas, Christmas Markets, City Hopping
Travel, Belgium, Brussels, Blogmas, Christmas, Christmas Markets, City Hopping
Travel, Belgium, Brussels, Blogmas, Christmas, Christmas Markets, City Hopping
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

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