Christmas markets Brussels and Bruges
123 people found this review helpful
December 16/17 2014
Bruges and Brussels
We decided this year to travel to a Christmas market using the Eurostar and were able to visit two in one trip.
We caught the Eurostar from St Pancras at 9am. I have to say we were not impressed by the organisation (or the use of English ) at St Pancras – Eurostar seems more ‘French’ run than British. An air of quiet chaos would be the best description and I was quite relieved to board a full train without mishap. The journey was comfortable though there is very little leg room if on a table seat. We arrived at Brussels and were directed by a member of station staff to our platform for Brussels and picked up our connection with relative ease. Arriving at Bruges Station (on the south of the city) we had minor difficulty using our map (mainly due to its small scale and the fact our hotel was slightly off it ) but once en-route we walked the 20 minutes to the hotel ‘Olympic’ with relative ease. As we were only going over night our ‘luggage’ consisted of two small day sacks.
The Hotel Olympic was clean and comfortable and welcoming. The receptionist was able to provide me with a plug adaptor (as I had forgotten ours ) so charging the camera was not going to be an issue. The hotel then proved to then be only 10 minutes’ walk from the centre of Bruges itself from the north east and we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening wandering the central streets of this most beautiful town. The Christmas market itself was relatively small but we had our requisite glass of gluhwien and the stalls covered most of the usual range of goods but without the repetition of a larger market. However what made the trip special was Bruges itself. It was decked for Christmas with numerous high quality Christmas shops and the chocolatiers were all decked out for the festive season. The main square had a huge ice ring lit by lights that glittered like thousands of diamonds and the buildings were all lit up in celebration.
We dined in the ‘Moules et Poules’ restaurant but I would not recommend Mussels cooked in Belgian Blonde-type Beer, somehow, for me, it just doesn’t work – the ‘Tartiflette Savoyard’ we had had earlier in a street-stall by the ice rink was a better success.
The following morning, after a respectable breakfast, we spent the morning walking round the outskirts of Bruges following the canal that rings much of the city, seeing windmills, and turntable bridges(in operation), before cutting back into the town for a last look at the main streets and the frequent horse traps passing by (and to buy Sam a chocolate Santa). We resolved to come back in the spring/early summer in the future to see it in a different light and when you are able to do canal/waterway trips in the flat boats under the low stone bridges of Old Bruges.
We picked up a train back to Brussels just after midday which than gave us four hours in the city before our connection back to the UK. This allowed us the brief walk down from one of Brussel’s stations into the main town and through the ‘Grand’ Place – which certainly lives up to its name (even in a gloomy light drizzle ) – and onto the Christmas market. This time it was on a much bigger scale and well sign-posted, with a full range of stalls apart from a complete lack of wood carvers. Another glass of Gluhwein! (essential on a Christmas Market) and we soon found it was time to head for the Eurostar Station. This proved to be quite a long walk along a very busy main street and we had hoped to find an inviting small eatery on the way – but failed – so satisfied ourselves with a noodle dish at the station itself.
The train was delayed somewhat amidst the similar quiet chaos we encountered at St Pancras but eventually we boarded and were soon rushing through the dark and back to the UK.
123 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.
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