December 31, 2011

Antwerp Christmas Market

If you have the good fortune of visiting Europe during the Christmas season, I hope it's a country that has Christmas Markets. I wrote about my experience last year through three of Belgium's winter markets and a cozy German one. This year I got to Antwerp's on their opening weekend, went back to Brussels (too touristic) to scope them out again, and visited the Leuven market (best party scene, where most tents have students pouring out of them) as many times as possible.

Antwerp recently opened the MAS museum which looks like it was built out of Legos (Museum aan de Stroom, or museum on the stream), and you can visit the top of the building to get panoramic views on top. Of note were how reasonable the admission prices were, and that some levels are free (including the rooftop visit). The opening weekend had a light parade, and lots of steamy gluhwein everywhere. The food was nothing to write about - it was very boring, but there are lots of restaurants in the center. If you visit, make sure you pick up a Use-it map at the station or any of the tourist offices. Stay away from the shopping streets, they were too packed and busy.

De grootse ogen van Antwerpen
Ferris wheel at the market.

I MAS there
I MAS there with these beautiful lovelies.

Grote Markt
Grand Market or Grote Markt

A bolleke stage

De Pelgrom

If you are in the center of the city you must seek out De Pelgrom (The Pilgrim). It's a restaurant/cafe in a 15th century cellar that is almost entirely lit by candles.



Walking along the dozens of Christmas market huts.

Light parade.

Residents view of the light parade
Residents checking out the light parade.

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