Travel: Christmas Markets in Belgium

Now I may have mentioned that we love to travel, something which the husband instilled in me and now we are instilling in the toddler terror.  Love it.  And with that in mind I was recently reading a series of posts by a fellow expat blogger Chantelle over at Seychellesmama about her trip to Sri Lanka which got me thinking that although the toddler has a fab country count and we have taken numerous photos I haven’t actually written a record of what we have done in each country for him to look back on.

So I thought I’d start at the beginning.


The toddler terrors first trip was planned while he was still in the womb!  I went out for a girls lunch, as you do when you first go on maternity leave without babies clamouring for attention, and as I was walking home I received a call from the husband.

“Fancy taking bub to Belgium?”

Do I fancy a trip to the Christmas markets in Belgium?!  Oh yes.  Do I want eat as many waffles as possible?!  Oh yes.  Mulled wine?!  Need I say anymore….

And so when I was 6 months pregnant we booked our first trip as a family.

Fast forward to taking an 8 week old away!

We were living in London at the time so in theory it was an easy trip from Clapham Common station to St Pancras to jump on the Eurostar.  In theory.

What actually transpired is that we had what felt like a million bags (it was in fact 2) and a massive pram as well as the small child in our care.  And the tube at Clapham Common station doesn’t have a lift, just a lot of stairs.  And I left our passports on the table, oops, sending the husband sprinting home to get them after hauling the million bags down the steps, and the baby, and the pram…..either way we made it across London relatively unscathed.

And into St Pancras, again relatively unscathed and with the baby finally asleep!

Now I can’t fault the experience of heading through passport control, the staff were EXCELLENT.  They scanned the pram separately with sleeping baby inside and then we went through the body scanner and were on the other side ready to roll.

A massive commotion jumping on the train which involved some great maneovering on the husbands part lifting each suitcase and the folded pram on while I watched with the baby in the baby bjorn (this was before I discovered the Ergo) much better in my opinion!  So we all made it on the train no harm done.  And then it was a quite enjoyable train ride all the way through into Brussels.  The baby slept and looked out the window, we excitedly chatted about what we would do when we got there.

And get there we did.

And it was freezing.

Still, we headed across Brussels to our Hilton no harm done.  The room was lovely and spacious, the cot was set up ready.  And we indulged in the lounge bar downstairs with a little drink or 2 to warm us up before heading out into the night.

 

 

We went off into the night and enjoyed bratwurst, mulled wine, chips and mayo (totally Belgium!) and a waffle on our walk back to the hotel.  All of this from street stalls, the original plan was to go and find a restaurant.  However, the massive pram didn’t fit anywhere.
DON’T TAKE A PRAM TO BRUSSELS!!
Invest in a GOOD carrier.
The next day we caught a train to Bruges and the famous Christmas markets there.  Again we found the same problem with the massive pram.  However, we did manage to squeeze into a lovely cafe to warm up with a famous hot chocolate.
A walk around the markets, looking at the fantastic buildings surrounding us, partaking of another mulled wine or two….

 

The baby sleeping through most of the day….

 

Then we headed back to Brussels to recuperate for our final day.
I probably haven’t mentioned here before that the husband is a huge football fan, most specifically a huge Manchester United fan….and it appears the toddler needs to follow in his footsteps.

 

Now what does this have to do with Belgium?  Well the second day there we ditched the pram and went with the carrier.  Walking the streets of Brussels to find a pub….to watch the United vs. City derby.  Which we did.  With our 8 week old.  Who had just fallen asleep when United scored and Daddy woke him up jumping round the pub (along with many many others) now I have no memory of the score here but I assume they won as the husband didn’t sulk the rest of the trip!
So after the pub we continued walking the streets, exploring new markets, and not being hindered by the pram this time…

 

 

Then it was the journey back, 2 very tired boys on the Eurostar…

 

And a tip from us to try and not coincide your train to get back at peak hour on the tube….people don’t like you with lots of bags and a pram!

And that’s the story of the toddlers first trip abroad, waffle and mulled wine filled with various shades of pram rage…..

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3 Comments

  1. August 12, 2015 / 12:48 am

    I think traveling with babies scares a lot of parents. Most put it in the too hard basket and yes at times its not easy but by all means it can be done and should be done. In 2006 we bought a 10-month-old to Europe from Australia. 26 hours traveling time then pushed her around Europe, Amsterdam, Prague, Paris, Budapest and Munich for 5 weeks. It was hard but worth it. I love families that travel

  2. December 17, 2015 / 12:59 pm

    Looking back, I wish I’d done more travelling when my girl was that little – she wasn’t always the best daytime sleeper (understatement) but in some ways it’s so much easier! Big prams aside… Sounds like a fantastic trip and top marks to your now big boy for sailing through it all. Thanks for linking up to #citytripping
    Cathy (MummyTravels) recently posted…Nine ways to save money on a city breakMy Profile

  3. December 17, 2015 / 10:58 pm

    Brill post! Little babies are so easy to travel with! It’s just all the other stuff that come with them…pram included. Glad you had a fab time…the whole train, passport, baggage scenario made me giggle…amazed you made it on time! What I loved about going when my daughter was young was being able to still have a ‘grown up’ holiday with my husband because, as you say, they do sleep…a lot. Thanks for linking to #citytripping xx
    Wander Mum recently posted…City Tripping #6My Profile

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