Almost a month after its launch, I finally managed to check out the yearly Winter Wonders for myself! Over the years, it has become an institution here in Brussels, almost a ritual.

The Grand Place, Bourse & Ste Catherine areas are covered with lights. The buildings look like they’re dripping golden sparkling drops. If you’re used to walk around the usually less twinkling streets, you’ll hardly recognize the place.

Our Grand Place is particularly stunning this year. Music, lights, a beautiful christmas tree… not like the awkward thing they tried last year, remember? It was like nature meets cubism meets electrabel. I mean, it’s cool to be avant-garde, but it’s even cooler to know when it’s appropriate to be and when not.

The next step was to walk towards the Bourse, where the little wooden cabin path starts. Oh, you know, the perfect excuse to start drinking right from 6 p.m. Between the vodka shots, the mojitos, the mulled wine, the champagne… it’s like they’re paving the way for you to reach drunksville. And of course the weather is cold so you definitely will want to warm yourself up.

But hey, the good news is there is also plenty for you to fill up your stomach and mitigate the effect. Sort of. You will be losing your mind and sanity over the dozens of possibilities: churros, snails, mushrooms, fries, hot-dogs, boudin géant, Savoyard fondue, sausages, waffles… and so on. Not the finest of the finest, but as I mentioned before, it’s cold… no salad will do to keep you warm!

As the wise people we are, Nico & I grabbed mulled wine glasses, but of course, in all moderation. Ok, we later had two more. Does it count? Note: walking in Brussels’ paved streets with heels, holding a glass and a camera is NOT something I would recommend. Unless you’re ok with spilling wine on yourself and not being able to take decent pictures.

Cheese-lovers, pay attention here. This year, the Brussels Winter Wonders served you right: close to the ice rink stands a huge Swiss chalet. Not only it brings a lovely alpine atmosphere, but it also – and this is the best part – suggests all things cheesy, in a good and delicious way.

My opinion on the Christmas Market is twofold. As much as it does make for a lovely and pleasant little walk in around a very illuminated Brussels, I think it lacks surprises. I feel it is exactly the same as last year, and the previous year, and so on. Of course, Christmas undoubtedly has its share of tradition, but a little fresh breeze here and there wouldn’t hurt.

Anyhow, there’s only 14 days left for you to go and stroll around the market. Santa will know whether you went or not, so be careful if you want that gift under your tree!