Christmas Countdown | 18 | Brussels Christmas Lights

Grand Place at Christmas jennybegoode.wordpress.com
Grand Place at Christmas

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!)

Grand Place at Christmas jennybegoode.wordpress.com
Grand Place at Christmas

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!

Bourse at Christmas jennybegoode.wordpress.com
Bourse at Christmas
Ste Catherine at Christmas jennybegoode.wordpress.com
Ste Catherine at Christmas

We didn’t go on the big wheel because it was absolutely freezing and blowing a gale!

The Grande Roue jennybegoode.wordpress.com
The Grande Roue

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?

Christmas daisies? jennybegoode.wordpress.com
Christmas daisies?

Finally, one of the new European Parliament buildings. It’s not Christmassy, but I love this rainbow effect!

European Parliament jennybegoode.wordpress.com
European Parliament

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 ⇒

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Interesting links this month

Paris in mourning
Paris in mourning – photo from Twitter
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.

Here are a few less serious links:

December Third – mulled wine

Mulled wine at the Bath Christmas Market 2014One 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!

December Second – Bath Christmas Market

Stalls at the Bath Christmas Market 2014One unmissable event that December brings to Bath is the Christmas Market. Love it or hate it there’s no getting away from it!

I love it actually and all the more so because it’s home grown. As the local paper says:

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.

The market is on until 14 December 2014.