Visiting Christmas markets has been on my travel checklist for a while, but I never had the time to make that a reality. A month ago I saw a great fare too good to pass up, and I bought the ticket without much thinking. I needed a real break – alone – and this was going to be it.

My main destination was going to be Strasbourg, France – where the largest Christmas market in Europe started since 1570. I then added Salzburg and Vienna to the equation and my general itinerary was complete.

In getting to Strasbourg, the airline gave me a bizarre routing which required me to stay in Brussels for 21 hours. Since I had a friend in the city, I was very happy to take the option (and it was a cheaper way to get to Strasbourg for that matter). I was told that there’s also a Christmas market in Brussels, so it would be a nice addition to my trip.

After arriving, my friend said that it would be better if we visited Ghent, which is the third-largest city in Belgium. So here are some photos from Ghent. Since it’s in Flanders, Dutch influences are the norm in the architecture.

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After a nice dinner in Ghent, we were back in Brussels, but this time to check out the Christmas decorations at the Grand Palace and walk the local Christmas market. Unfortunately for me the markets were already closed by the time we got there – but we were still able to find a stand which offered the hot wine called Glühwein as a part of the Belgian holiday celebration.

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In a few hours, I’m off to Strasbourg!

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