It rains a lot here. Like everyday. At least once. The surprisingly nice thing about the rain is that once it finishes raining, the sun shines bright and clear blue skies appear. It is normally at this moment, that I decide to venture out for the day, to get some fresh air and bamb! It is raining again!
My advice to those who visit Brussels: be prepared for rain. Make sure your coat is waterproof and always carry an umbrella.
I visited Brussels several times between September and December 2015 to organise James’ arrival and purchase furniture for our new home. I was quite lucky, as it seemed to only rain when I was indoors. Now, I have become accustomed to the rain. Last week, the rain, rather excitingly turned to hail and by the weekend it was full-on snowing. I loved waking up last Friday, I was still half asleep when I crept into the kitchen for my breakfast, I was blinded by the winter sun reflecting off the neighbouring rooftops which, were glisteningly white, as if they had been adorned with the brightest fairy lights.
In December, in preparation for Christmas, James and I, with both family and friends ventured around some of the city’s fantastic Christmas markets. When James lived in Vienna, we made it a priority to visit the best Christmas markets and try all of the gluhwein. Thus, I considered myself quite the experienced Christmas marketer. I was thrilled to learn that Brussels had plenty of Christmas markets to offer. The city centre almost feels like one giant Christmas market. As you walk around the streets, you pass from one market to another guided by the various eccentric lighting displays.
If you are visiting Brussels, you will inevitably visit Grand Place. It is especially spectacular at Christmas; in the early evening the golden buildings are ablaze with an amazing lighting and sound display, there is a life size nativity set (which, on occasion, has live animals) and a giant Christmas tree (below). The magic in the atmosphere of Grand Place certainly inspires some Christmas spirit.
The best Christmas market that we found was at the Place Sainte-Catherine. Located in the heart of the city centre. There are a range of stalls selling gifts, traditional market food and most importantly, Vin Chaud.
I was enjoying myself so much I barely took any snaps but here are two to give you a glimmer of the market.
I do not want to wish this year away but, I am looking forward to this Christmas. By then, we will know the city better and we will be able to explore more of the Christmas markets – and share some Vin Chaud with friends, old & new.