So, I felt I should wait in the First Class lounge at Macnhester and take advantage of the snacks. Then when I got on the train, I realised I didn't actually have a first class ticket. Will have to try that more often... Penedelino pendelinoed me to Euston, and walked to St Pancras. Found myself arriving far too early. Did see an odd altercation where a policeman told a woman "I wouldn't do that", followed by the woman apparently doing whatever "that" was.
flickums arrived with plenty of time to spare, so we got a burger. I accidentally ordered off-menu. Apparently a bacon Whopper doesn't exist. Well, all I can say is, it does now!
It was finally time to go to the Eurostar terminal and so we went. Train whisked us to Brussels, while Flickums revised her highway code. We arrived late, walked to the hotel, because it was only walking distance away. Checked in. Discovered the hotel was rather nice, and collapsed in bed.
I wanted to go to Leuven because it's a bit different. So, after breakfast (included in price) we caught the train, and zipped to the next town along. It was Saturday so it was market day. Lots of junk, and a few stalls selling worthwhile stuff. Bought a Christmas present for my dad. We then found the Christmas market... Found a present for my mum. Found a pancake stall. Flickums bought be a glühwein but I didn't ike it. Then she felt terrible guilty so bought me a hot fruity drink that was nicer, but got fleeced with her change.
The reason I actually wanted to go was that it's a more traditional town than Brussels, with a nice university vibe, and there's the beguinage (Or the Groot Begijnhof since we're in Flanders). These days it's student accomodation, but the beguinage was a place that housed beguins - women who live in a religious commune but don't take the vows that nuns do. This particular one is a UNESCO world heritage site. I think it's worth looking at.
I learned that they light candles at 5pm, but it was nowhere near close to that time and there was nowhere near enough to do in little Leuven to occupy us until then, so we returned to Brussels, and looked around the St. Catherine Christmas market. Little Canada was still there. Flickums was still feeling guilty about buying me inadequate glühwein, and bought me another hot beverage - Canadian style. Which I accepted warmly. I bought some beer. One of them had a bar wench on the label, and I was strrongly encouraged to buy that. Flickums wanted to go to "Choco Nads" because she has a muture sophisticated sense of humour like that, and they sell nice chocolates. I wanted to go to the Delrium village for a beer. Delirium Christmas was nice and warming.
We went for dinner at the Cheescake Cafe, because it's a cafe that does cheesecake. More of a large restaurant than a cafe, to be fair. I had beer and steak, followed by a hot fudge sundae. Flickums had omelette and "pop" of some sort, and cheeesecake. Were knackered by this point so returned to the hotel for essential snuggles.
Had breakfast because we could.
I was planning to do the Brussels market today but we'd done that yesterday. Still, we went back for remaining purchases. Flickums was still feeling guilty about the glühwein, so bought me another. This one was actually really good. Had an edgy flavour, and genuine bits of lemon. Also tasted spicier as I got to the bottom. Very good. Flickums bought a goth Alice picture, and a Cinderella picture. We shared a fondue roll type thing. Then it was a matter of killing time until it was time to get the train. Stopped in various geeky shops. Belgium does have its comic tradition... Went back to Delerium cafe for more beer. Wish I knew what it was. Decided to walk up to the park and palace. Then checked tickets before we got there, and realised that I'd got mixed up over time, so it was probably a good idea to return to the station.
They've rearranged the Eurostar terminal! Apparently they're refurbishing, which is fine, but it does mean there are annoying queues and I had sore feet. Still, we got there with plenty of time to spare. Sat on the train and zipped home.
It was a shame we only had a day and a half to spend this year. We did do everything we wanted (I drank beer, fickums bought chocolates and had cheesecake) so it's not terrible, but I'd have liked to have been able to watch the parade. Maybe next year.