Christmas in Belgium

December 18, 2015

So, finally, Christmas is here! 

Bologna has been looking more and more festive over the last couple of weeks, but I've been almost too busy to notice - December exams might mean I don't have to study over Christmas, but it's meant these last few weeks have been crazy. But I said arrivederci to Italy for a month and flew home last night, ready to relax for a while! 

This post is a little late, but a few weeks ago I went to visit my friend Meg for the weekend, who is studying abroad in Belgium. Belgium is pretty infamous for it's Christmas markets and chocolate - two things that I very much wanted to experience - and December was the perfect time to do that. I also hadn't seen Meg for July so it was time for a good catch up...

Unfortunately, my flight was five hours delayed - cheers Ryanair - and I was still feeling pretty ill from all the fatty foods and wine I'd consumed in Florence. So my first night was a bit of disaster, but luckily I was feeling better the next day, and ready to start exploring!

I've never been to Belgium before, but one of my friends from Bologna is from Ghent and never stops going on about how great it is. Meg is studying in Leuven, which is known as "Belgium's Oxford" apparently, for its beautiful university buildings. We started by having a wander around the old part and, for once, the sun was shining!
 After a few hours we started getting a little chilly, and obviously there's only one remedy for that. Hot chocolate...
 Before climbing all the steps up to the Bell Tower in the university library, which had a great view of the whole of Leuven...
 On the way home, we made a pretty great discovery... Christmas trees in the local supermarket were only 8 euro! Obviously, this was a total steal and we totally had to buy one. We then realised that a) we had nothing to decorate it with and b) we had no way of getting a big, muddy, spiky tree home.

(Luckily, Meg is surprisingly strong and managed to carry it the whole way on her back.) 
 That evening we made some fajitas (hooray for food that isn't Italian!!) and went out for a drink with some of Meg's friends. Leuven is a really cute little town, with both gorgeous old buildings and great places to eat and drink.

The next day we went to the Christmas markets in Brussels, which I was super excited about. 
 Brussels is pretty different to what I was expecting - a lot more concrete and modern than I thought it might be. However, the Christmas markets were absolutely beautiful, and so, so festive - just what we needed! 
 The best part was the light show in the Grand Place, which happens every day during Christmas. The square in stunning, and even more so when its lit up to music...
 Meg and I couldn't bring ourselves to leave for a pretty long time... until eventually, hunger and thirst drove us to find some mulled wine and Belgian waffles. No regrets. 
That evening we were exhausted, and settled down with a bottle of wine in front of Frozen, followed by The Holiday - the perfect end to a festive weekend!

I'd absolutely recommend Brussels for a Christmas getaway - it might not be Germany's famous Christmas markets, but they're pretty good. And you can avoid Ryanair and get straight on the Eurostar from London - what could be easier than that?

No comments :

Post a comment