Belgium Winter a Beautiful Winter Wonder with the Brussels Christmas Market
Connections by Avra traveled to Belgium to take in the culture and enjoy the famous Christmas markets that take place there every year. If Christmas is a favorite holiday of yours and you have thought about planning your travel around a Christmas destination, then Belgium is one of many places we at Connections by Avra Travel Agency recommend.
Belgium shares its border with several countries which is convenient when traveling around Central Europe. France is to the south, Germany in the east, the Netherlands to the North, and Luxembourg located along the southeast border. We traveled from Paris, by bus, to Brussels which takes about four hours. The bus fare is very affordable; 15 Euros per person. Other travel options are driving or taking a train which is both very easy and still affordable. Connections by Avra will be able to present all options, including luxury vacation rentals, to you along with our recommendations based on your desired preferred travel mode.
Belgium is uniquely known for many things. Particularly when it comes to certain foods. Thanks to Belgium, many countries around the world enjoy Belgium Waffles. Moreover, chocolate, fries, and beer are some of the other delights that you will be able to treat yourself while in Belgium. The Christmas markets offer plenty of these traditional foods and beverages. Warning: the following pictures may cause cravings and immediate hunger!
Belgium Waffles a treat to the World
A highlight of travel is visiting and learning about other cultures. Food is a big part of that no matter where you travel. For Belgium, waffles have become a staple in their cuisine over a long history. I think I can speak for everyone from around the world that we thank you Belgium, for your culinary and libation contribution!
Waffles in Belgium have been served to their people dating back to the Middles Ages. Originally, they were served by vendors outside of churches. Agriculture was a large source of the economy in Belgium which created easy access to barley and oats. Even back then waffles were so popular the King of France, King Charles IX, ordered that all vendors be kept a safe distance from each other due to their popularity.
The pictures above are of traditional Belgium waffles. They are generally topped with chocolate, cream, and fruits. They are also meant to be enjoyed with your hands. It's not uncommon to order a waffle and not be offered a fork because they want to make sure you eat your waffle the right way!
Belgium chocolate is truly amazing. For those that have a sweet tooth, you will be in heaven when you visit. As every corner in Ireland has a pub, you are never too far away from a chocolate shop in Belgium. It seems to permanently make the air you breathe in to have a slight aroma of chocolate goodness.
Belgium during the early 19th century colonized Congo and found a huge surplus of cocoa beans. What was usually reserved for only the rich, now was available to all. Suddenly, Belgium became the largest trader of cocoa and chocolate in the world.
But what really makes them so good and addicting? Belgium chocolate is made with particular ingredients and with a process that has been a tradition in Belgium since day one and is still used today. A law that was passed in 1884 which states that the minimum level of cocoa that must be used is 35%. This protects the purity of the chocolate by limiting alternative ingredients or by modifying the composition that you may find in other chocolates. It's also mostly made by hand in each of the 2,000 chocolatiers around Belgium. Along with all the unspoken laws and traditional recipes that are kept a secret, you are guaranteed a delicious treat.
For those that love a good beer, Belgium has you covered here as well. Belgium beer was enjoyed long before Belgium was an independent country. Many believed it dates back well before the First Crusade. During this time in Europe, beer was drank more regularly than water. Children, adults, and the elderly all were more likely to have beer in their cup than water. The reason for this was for sanitary purposes. The ingredients in the beer made for a much safer drink than the unsanitary water that was available.
Over the centuries, traditional brewing techniques evolved into what you are now able to enjoy today. Glassware has also become a unique part of the experience as well. When you go to a bar you will see beer enjoyed out of all sorts of glasses, cups, mugs, and goblets. With endless choices of unique beer to select from, you may want to make sure you have a taxi prepared for you when you're ready to go home!
Christmas Market: Brussels/Bruges
Christmas markets in Europe first became famous in Germany and then other countries caught on. Belgium has turned into a hotspot for Christmas Markets. Connections by Avra traveled to two markets; the first in Brussels and the other in Bruges. Bruges is a smaller town located an hour northwest of Brussels. We highly recommend if you go to Brussels to also make the trip to Bruges as well. It's close and absolutely worth your time.
The markets have mini chalets set up that offered all kinds of great culinary delights along with arts and crafts that locals are selling. The market offers perfect gifts for a loved one or something unique to bring home for yourself and admire. Christmas music plays in the streets and at night local bands will perform while you are able to enjoy a nice cup of hot wine if you need to warm up or of course a Belgium beer
Fun festivities such as light shows illuminating off the beautiful buildings in the city center of Brussels, as shown in the picture above, is an amazing spectacle. The market runs for most of the day starting around noon and will continue late into the evening and closing around 11 pm. The markets are free for anyone to enjoy and all the streets are closed off to motor vehicles. NOTE: most vendors only accept cash payments (Euros). Come prepared with cash because, as you will see from the pictures below, you won't want to miss out!
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year and offers a different experience when you travel. Countries from around the world are engaging in their unique cultural traditions that you may not otherwise be able to experience in the summer months. Connections by Avra has a great list of suggestions to offer you when you are ready to plan a trip for the winter holiday season.
Connections by Avra is a proud Virtuoso Member. By booking your next vacation to Belgium with us we offer exclusive amenities and upgrades from beautiful properties. Our travel specialists look forward to hearing from you.
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