Caesar and the Ice Palace

By - December 5, 2005 (Updated: February 10, 2017)

Sunday was another festive day. How nice it is to be able to actually enjoy the holidays without fighting through malls trying to find the last minute gifts. It seems we really have lost the joy of Christmas in our frantic rush to get everything done. My Christmas rush was before I went back to Canada. Now, having that stress out of the way, I’m finding that the holidays can actually be fun… imagine?!

We loaded Caesar in the car and headed to Bruges. We hadn’t been back to Bruges since our first trip there two years ago. I had forgotten how lovely it is. Maybe some day I’ll get there when the sun is out…

Despite the rain, there was a festive air about the city. The shops were allowed to be open the three weekends before Christmas and about half seemed to be open on Sunday.

Caesar meets the Ice Princess

Caesar meets the Ice Princess

The lights were hung across the streets and a skating rink was set up in the Grote Markt. There were stalls in various squares selling Christmas goodies. Some were the real deal and some were the usual tacky junk. We scored some chocolate jenever (a lot like Bailey’s with an added kick) and some cherries in jenever. We lunched on Bratwurst (much to Caesar’s delight) and then decided to get out of the rain.

We piled back into the car and found our way to the station where the Ice Palace was set up. It was incredible. Ice carvers from all over the world (Canada too) had carved this fairy tale land out of ice and snow. It was wonderful. Caesar loved it (not to mention all of the attention he got… I should be charging people to take photos of him… I’d be rich).

The palace was interactive and a great place for kids (and big kids like us), with slides and tunnels and little discoveries around every corner. There was even an ice bar with jenever and mulled wine to warm your hands and tummy.

If you are in the area, it is well worth the 9 euro entry fee and dogs are allowed provided they are on a leash. Oh, and rain is not a problem as the palace is inside a climate controlled tent.

Meanwhile, back at home, our not so Icy Princess was enjoying her new palace. IKEA can be a very, very bad place.

The not-so-icy princess.

The not-so-icy princess.

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Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
- 22 hours ago


  1. Comment by Andreea

    Andreea December 6, 2005 at 14:15

    Hope you got a chance to go to the Chocolate Line 🙂
    Love the De Wolfe shop!
    Will also try out the Christmas market out this weekend, seems to be well worth a visit (unlike last year!)

  2. Comment by 23

    23 December 6, 2005 at 15:45

    Man, I need one of those tents with the ears…it’s so cool!

  3. Comment by Di

    Di December 7, 2005 at 09:58

    Hey, there’s an ice-skating rink in Grote Markt here in Antwerpen too … and rain and grey skies, actually.
    Love the tent.

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