Brussels and no sprouts!

Saturday 4th December

Woke this morning to heavy and steady snowfall, so after much discussion it was decided that we would have a day in the van and not venture out at all. An ideal opportunity to catch up with chores, besides, it was damn chilly.  Oh and we also had a problem with our grey waste water tank  – the outlet pipe and valve were frozen solid!  So all in all a day of doing very little, apart from venturing out to the supermarket down the road and general chores.  By late afternoon the snow had stopped and it started to rain, which of course meant that the temperature was a little warmer.

Sunday 5th December

It rained all night which has of course melted a lot of the snow, but it also meant our waste tank was unfrozen and we could empty it, also the lock for the water inlet was unfrozen which meant we could get that unlocked and get fresh water into the van.  

Those chores done, it was off to the bus stop to catch the bus into the train station, then an hour train ride into Brussels.  Cost of the return train trip?  14.50Euro for the two of us….one of us got a very cheap deal as he is over 65!  A very pleasant train ride into Brussels. Have we mentioned previously how much we like train travel? and how it is a shame that Kiwi Rail does not get its act together and supply a decent rail network throughout NZ!

Oh, off that hobby horse and back to Brussels.  A lovely city, easy to find your way around and of course it just so happens that they have a fabulous Christmas market.  The atmosphere is just magical, especially the lights and the decorations, and the snow! We savoured Belgian doughnuts, Belgian frites and of course just a little bit of Belgian chocolate!

buildMagnificent building in the main square in Brussels

men Peopled by these personages, who they are I am not sure but they stand along the whole front of the building

swanA swan beautifully decorating another of the buildings

There was a large ice-skating rink set up in the square as well a a large Ferris wheel.

ice skating b

Also there were two carousels both of which had very distinctive seating, creatures and machines the like of which have not been seen before

scarab

emu

We also found the statue of the famous Manneken Pis fountain, a statue of a small boy happily peeing into a pool. Apparently he is “dressed” regularly and of course at the moment he is dressed in his festive outfit.  The fountain was not running though, I guess due to the cold.  Funny, but the cold has the opposite effect on me, it makes me want to go more often!

   pissing mannekin    

Time to head back to Brugge on the train…..have we mentioned how civilised it is to travel by train?  Back onto the bus to head back to the van, but on the way through the centre market of Brugge, the lights and the atmosphere were too much to resist so we hopped off the bus to soak in a little of it. 

Bruge 1Typical street

the jolly

ice skatingIce rink

Oh and did we mention the Belgian chocolate shops?  they have  a few in Brugge as well!  Here is one of the best efforts we have seen.  A xmas dinner totally created out of chocolate!

xmas diinner

chocolate 1

Also spotted in a xmas shop were these xmas decorations.  They rotate swirling the characters round on each level.  The whole thing is driven by the hot air rising from candles placed on the base under the blades, with the hot air providing the driving force.

rotary trees

Tomorrow we head towards Germany, though Aachen (on the border of Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany) and onto Koln.  Who knows where we will end up.  We hear there may be another Christmas market in Aachen!

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2 Responses to “Brussels and no sprouts!”

  1. Ruth de Bray Says:

    You have soooooooooo changed my mind about wintering over in France. Anything under 20 and the whinging begins. You can have the snow. I am in Brisbane awaiting babe number 2 and it hot, hot hot. Roger arrives 19th Dec, keep warm

    Much love to you both

    Ruth

  2. Bernice Says:

    But it’s very pretty!! And the Christmas markets are magical, you just have to dress appropriately.

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