Tuesday, December 01, 2009

It's beginning to look at lot like...

A couple of weeks ago, I left a grey and drizzly Brussels behind and returned on Saturday to a city transformed into a magical winter wonderland. This is the beauty of the annual Christmas Markets. You kind of want the days to be grey and drizzly because it just adds to the cosiness of walking around all bundled up, sipping on a cup of hot chocolate or vin chaud.

Jason picked me up at the airport at about 7:45 on Saturday morning. I was slightly delirious after my overnight trip through the skies over the Atlantic. (To be frank, I had taken slightly more than the recommended dosage of my over-the-counter sleep aid. Yet, sleep I did not. I think they should change the name of these dolls to delirium aid.)

If you want solid proof as to just how out of my mind I was, listen to this: Jason dropped me off with my suitcase at the door to our building and went to park the car so I wouldn't have to schlep from the parking deck back to the flat. Because Jason is The Best Husband Ever, he walked to McDonald's to get me an Egg McMuffin before returning. I took three weak little bites and said something like "This is too hard. I can't do this right now. I need to lay down. Can you save this for me?" And then I promptly walked to the couch and passed out cold. I had never been presented with an Egg McMuffin I couldn't finish.

Jason let me sleep for a few hours and then dragged me off the couch and made me get ready. It was Christmas Market time.

We walked the stalls, trying to decide on our PON (Plan Of Noms). But when we made it to the onion soup stand, I was done for. I do so love me a good onion soup. Though I still look slightly delirious, I assure you that I enjoyed my soup to the fullest.

After we had exhausted the market stalls, Jason took me to the Grand Place to see the giant Christmas tree and the musical light show they project onto the Town Hall. 'Twas glorious.

We stopped for a hot chocolate and a giant chocolate St. Nick. (Nom nom nom.)

Sunday, Jason let me sleep in but I awoke refreshed and ready to tackle the market with gusto (and consciousness) this time. I barely remember Saturday.

We stopped for a while to watch the skaters at the ice rink and found ourselves enthralled with a couple of them. They were both wearing their own headsets and really getting into the groove of whatever music was coming out of them. Jason and I played a pretty fun game of "Speculate What Song is Playing". I mean, these guys had moves. There were twirls and zigs and zags and arm gestures and all in all, very fancy footwork. You can tell he's feeling it:

We soon discovered that these two guys were together. The other one, below, was quite the showman. He carried a little napkin in his hand and used it as a prop, waving it all around, to give his routine some extra flair.

And just past the ice rink was the pièce de résistance...the ferris wheel. I have a well-documented passion for these beauties and I could not wait to ride.

Check out this ah-maz-ing sky. Dusk was at its most perfect while we were queued up and during our ride.

An aerial view of the market from the top of the wheel. If this can't get you in the Christmas spirit, you've a heart of coal.

Props to Jason for capturing this at exactly the right moment. Glorious! Almost makes me want to break out into the Hallelujah Chorus.

And after the ride, we warmed ourselves up with some Christmas beer. Yes, you read that right. Christmas beer. This is quite a unique thing about Beergium. The Beergians love beer so much (and produce most of the world's finest brews), that every year most of the breweries make a special Christmas beer - available at this time of year only. Now that's a good thing, Martha Stewart.

One last stroll to admire the lights and then we were in for the night...

Christmas movie season has officially begun. We kicked it off this year with Home Alone. I bought it last year when Target throws out a bunch of DVD's for $5 but I had forgotten just how funny that movie is - such a classic! There are very few problems in this world that a cup of Swiss Miss Marshmallow Lovers hot chocolate and a holiday movie can't fix.

There will be much more Christmas Market madness as we travel to Dresden, Germany this weekend and maybe to Rüdesheim the weekend after that. How much Christmas can one girl handle? Stay tuned to find out.


Alice said...

I think I just falalalala'd in my office after reading this. Thanks for sending out the Christmas spirit!

Anna said...

Hey Heather, are you thinking of going to Paris soon? Paris at Christmas > EVERYTHING ELSE.

Heather said...

Anna - no time this year as we head back to NC on the 19th. But you've convinced me to put it on our "Travel Musts" list for the near future.

I'll admit, I'm skeptical because I personally think Germany has got Christmas-ness locked down - but if you've been to both and say Paris is better, I'm game to see for myself...

Suze - Cheshire, UK said...

Heather - I know the track he's listening to... It's got to be: Cliff Richard's "Wired For Sound". You tube for the music video if you don't know it and I'm sure you'll agree that's it.

Heather said...

Suze, Jason and I were thinking along the lines of Sade but you have hit the nail on the head. That's it, I'm certain.