What better way is there to start the Christmas season than visiting proper European markets? Absolutely nothing. Especially when they’re in Belgium.
The plan had been to be super organised and have weekend capsule wardrobes planned with all the warm clothes we could ever need. Clearly that didn’t happen. There was minimal planning and an emergency ASOS shop. I accidentally booked a ridiculously early flight so it seemed like the most logical option to stay at an airport hotel the night before. Great plan. Got a whole 3 hours sleep. Probably the most expensive sleep ever. But it did save having to get on a crazy early train.
Clearly the best way to pack for any trip is to throw everything in sight into a couple of cases then pack at the first hotel. That’s how everyone else does it, right?
I don’t think we did such a bad job really. Plenty of jeans, jumpers and layering tops. What more could we have packed? Except maybe thermals and balaclavas? I feel the need to point out, we did all this packing in matching onesies (my first but quite possibly not my last, I’m a changed person)…
Second accommodation of the trip was in Antwerp. I was promised the most amazing house shopping I’ve ever seen. Turns out a lot changes in 3 years. All the cool, vintagey shops have been replaced with designer furniture and coffee shops. But, it’s still a beautiful place to visit. The day and night were pretty much filled with beers, wandering, snow, and a very disappointing espresso martini. What more could you ask for?
I’ve been visiting Brussels since I was tiny. It feels like I’ve partly grown up there over the years so it feels so special every time I go back. At Christmas it’s like going home to a winter wonderland, and I’m possibly the least Christmassy person on the planet. I love it.
I blooming love this place. I don’t think I can express it enough.
The next few days in Brussels pretty much carried on the same routine of beers and wandering but with the added extras of one amazing mum like lady and her gorgeous dog.
So like I said, plenty of wandering and shopping. We found so many super practical things that would definitely fit right into the house. All the things that would obviously be perfect for taking back on the plane and wouldn’t raise any eyebrows through security or at any point.
Or maybe we failed at actual shopping again. Oh well. How wrong would it be to have a stuffed turtle in the living room while watching Blue Planet? Pretty wrong, yeah? Good job it wouldn’t have fit in my case then.
I also feel the need to point out that Brussels is just a little bit mental. One quick walk through the main square and we ended up in the middle of a parade of the giants, a sighting from St. Nic himself and a peek at the moon…
This literally happened within about 20 minutes. There was a parade with dancing giants (which are a completely normal thing), sweets being thrown from a balcony (pretty hard sweets from the sounds of the thuds), then a giant moon just chilling out under an archway. All completely normal there, but absolutely mad when you think about it.
The absolute crowning jewel of this trip was the light show in the Grand Place. Amazing.
I feel like this video really didn’t do it all justice. Being stood in the middle of a square completely surrounded by music and coordinated lights was just incredible. The attention to detail is mind blowing. Every gargoyle, turret, window and facade was lit perfectly to the music. We must have stopped at least four times to see watch, and each time it was mesmerising. I’m fairly certain there’s nothing like that in England.
To sum up this very late post (it’s about 2 weeks since this trip actually happened), I’m still not a Christmas fan but this trip did make me feel very festive. Can’t actually promise there will be a tree up in this house in the next seven days, but if by some miracle the Brussels Christmas magic has brushed off on me, there will be a short lived tree update very soon.