So earlier this month we went for a long weekend in Brussels. I lived in Brussels a long time ago and I haven’t been back for years, so I was really looking forward to the trip. Little did I know it would be taking place the weekend before we moved house!
Grand Place at Christmas is always good value. It’s not filled with Christmas Market stalls, so you can move around, there’s a son et lumière and a crèche with live sheep (no really – apparently they used to have other animals too, but people would steal them!)
The main parts of the Christmas Market are around Bourse (the Stock Exchange) and Place Ste Catherine (lots of fish restaurants). It blows my mind that the Boulevard outside the Bourse is closed to traffic – it used to be a super-highway!
We didn’t go on the big wheel because it was absolutely freezing and blowing a gale!
Now, these daisies were up on the inner ring road near Trône metro station and I’m not sure if they are Christmas decorations or there all year round. It certainly wouldn’t be unimaginable for the Brussels local government to decide that junctions could do with brightening up. This is a country that used to put heart-shaped filters over red traffic lights at Valentine’s. I wonder if they still do?
Finally, one of the new European Parliament buildings. It’s not Christmassy, but I love this rainbow effect!
This month, I’m again attempting to blog every day to turn this corner of the internet into a sort of advent calendar. Posts will be tagged ChristmasCountdown2015 or you can look at the calendar in the sidebar ⇒
One of my favourite types of blog posts to read is a round-up of links and stories from around the web. This month I’ve read little beyond news reports about the Paris attacks, Belgian lockdown (we are visiting next month) and the debate around air strikes in Syria. This article struck me particularly: “Bombing civilians will recruit new terrorists.”
One of the best things about Christmas Markets: it’s completely justified to walk around with an alcoholic drink in your hand. In fact, given the cold, mulled wine is an essential.
Funny story – T was in Bournemouth last weekend and was drinking glühwein at the German Christmas Market there. The drinks were served in these little china boots with Christmas scenes on them, for which a security deposit was held. After einige weins, T reasoned that the deposit meant you could keep the boots if you wanted to. So now we have some new decorations for the house and T has a sticky coat pocket!
Unlike many German-themed markets around the country, the Bath Christmas Market is all about local products from local businesses, and the focus is on high-quality products with a real provenance and connection with the region.
That means the money local businesses make stays in the local economy.
My top tip for the market is to come first thing in the morning and to visit the main square by the Abbey first – that’s the square with the double rows of chalets where it can get so packed it’s hard to move! Also, check out the map on the Market website to see which stalls you want to visit first.