Tag Archives: Christmas market

A Walk in Bruges – Part 1

Lars and I had tried to visit Bruges before, but it is quite difficult to reach the centre by car. And it is an even a bigger challenge to get rid of your car. Late in December 2016, we decided to go there by train, because the train station is quite near the city centre.

Upon leaving the station, Lars and I decided to follow the biggest mass of people, assuming everybody would go where we were going. We soon got lost in the cozy cobbled streets.

Then, suddenly Lars and I found ourselves at the Old St. John’s Hospital Site. The Hospital itself dates from the 11th century, whereas the surrounding buildings are from the 19th century. Nowadays the site is home to a museum and is used as a congress and exhibition centre. (Source: Wikipedia)

As soon as we left the site, we stumbled upon a Christmas market. It was a quite small one; I am not sure if this was the one and only market or if it was spread all over the city. Anyway, as you can see on the pictures, it was very crowded.

And then… Lars and I got hungry and thirsty! We also decided to come back another time when Bruges was less crowded. The cab driver who took us back to the station told us that the best time to visit the city is the second half of January. Because of my accident, we had to postpone our second visit. And we will go back as soon as I can walk longer distances again.

Winter Wonders in Brussels – Photo Essay

Winter Wonders is the official English name of Brussels’ Christmas market and all its activities. And it happens to be our favourite event of the year!

Muntplein/Place de la Monnaie

This is where Lars and I started our visit. In recent years, this place has become the home for the ice skating ring.

Grote Markt/Grand Place

Does this location need any introduction? Anyway, we absolutely loved the Christmas tree, which originates from Slovakia.

Beurs/Bourse

Where people gather to celebrate… New this year: Impulsion, luminous and sound-animated seesaws!

Sainte-Catherine Church

Origami, an audiovisual show, highlights contemporary and traditional Japan. Stalls sell Japanese specialties.

Sint-Katelijneplein/Place Sainte-Catherine

Lars and I always end our visit to the Christmas market here. We had some pasta and a couple of “jenevers” before we returned home.

A Visit to Berchtesgaden

Lars and I spent most of our Christmas holiday in Berchtesgaden, a small town in the southeast of Bavaria. It’s a very touristic place, thanks to its surrounding mountains and especially the Obersalzberg, which used to be a Nazi headquarter. You can also visit salt mines or spend a day in Salzburg, which is about 30 kilometres away.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to visit all these interesting sites. After the brutal theft of my camera equipment in the station of Cologne, we spent hours on the phone with our travel insurance, who at the end didn’t help us at all. Afterwards, we had to travel to Salzburg in order to buy a new camera. And it took another half a day, before my Nikon was charged and I had become used to it.

Lars and I were very happy when we could finally visit and photograph the centre of Berchtesgaden and especially its old town. To my soulmate’s big delight the local Christmas market was still there.

It was about time to taste some glühwein! Until then, I thought that there was only one variant, so I was very happy when I could taste a white glühwein. And a couple of local liquors as well!

The cozy atmosphere at the market soon made us forget the bad start of our holiday…

After some time, we became hungry and started looking for a place to eat. The oldest inn of Berchtesgaden served delicious food and drinks at very reasonable prices.

And then, a last stroll in the old town, before the sun went down.

A Visit to the Christmas Market of Cologne 2015

The day after our visit to the Christmas market in Brussels, Lars and I took the train of 6.25 to Cologne. There are 5 Christmas markets there and we were going to spend half a day at the one near the Dom. We arrived around 8.45 at the main train station, which is located right near the mighty Dom. Though it was raining quite hard, the first look at the Christmas market cheered us up, especially when we saw the giant Christmas tree in the centre and all the beautiful lights, that spread a cozy atmosphere.

We still had to wait 2 hours before the market opened. Since we hadn’t had breakfast yet, we started looking for a pub or restaurant. The nearest one to the Dom that was already open, was Fruh. Lars and I enjoyed fried eggs with bacon and around 10.00 we tasted our first beer of the day. PS: we usually don’t drink beer that early, but I think the salty bacon made us extra thirsty!

Around 11.00 we finally hit the Christmas market! First thing I did: buying myself a Christmas hat…

It started raining harder, but we found shelter in a huge cabin, where they sold drinks and food from South Tyrol. Lars and I spent a really good time here!

When we were outside again, the weather had become so bad that we sought refuge in the Dom.

From the Dom Lars and I went straight to the restaurant, to get some rest and more drinks and food, before going back to Brussels. We stuck to Koelsch, a beer that can only be found in Cologne and had a Mett Happen, an open sandwich with minced meat.

In general, we loved the Christmas market in Cologne and plan to come back next year.

Christmas Market Brussels December 2015

I know I promised you more pictures from our trip to Italy in April, but a lot has happened since my last post. First of all, I decided to treat myself to a new pc, a MacBook this time. This means I had to get used to a new operating system, a new version of PhotoShop Elements and new video editing software.

Second, this week, Lars and I have been to two Christmas markets. On Tuesday, we visited the one in Brussels and one day later we were in Cologne. Two days of drinking and eating and a lot of walking around. After having spent about 3 months on the sofa, I really had to get used to some physical exercise again. Or in other words, my feet still hurt.

Anyway, without further ado, the pictures from the Christmas market in Brussels. We started at the Muntplein/Place de la Monnaie, where lots of people had fun on the ice skating rink. I, on the other hand, tasted a new drink, called ‘couilles de singe’ (monkey testicles). No idea what was in it, but it was very sweet. Lars stuck to jenever. It is actually quite hard to make a choice, when are dozens  of bottles on display…

Next stop: the Grand Place/Grote Markt with the traditional Christmas tree. There is only one stand here, a champagne and oyster bar.

Afterwards, we went to Bourse/Beurs, where Lars and I tasted Brazilian and Tunisian specialties. Tunisia, by the way, is the guest host this year.

And, last but not least, the Place Sainte-Catherine with the big ferris wheel and a big cabin with Swiss specialties. Lars and I however continued with our shots of jenever. And a big juicy hamburger…

We also shot a video again (with our new GoPro Hero4!):

One Day, Three Towns – Halle

Short post, today. Town number 3 is Halle.

A short post, because our visit to this charming place was shortened by the freezing weather – and the fact that I forgotten to bring my winter coat with me… Anyway, there was still a small Christmas market going on, which Ingrid would love to have visited. But I wanted to be in the warm car again, with the promise to Ingrid however to come back here … on a warmer day.