Holiday Recap 2009

By - January 4, 2010 (Updated: November 25, 2014)

Christmas in Grand Place

Christmas in Grand Place

Wow. Does anyone know where 2009 went? It was supposed to be a quiet year around here…

First of all, I want to wish everyone a very happy New Year and I hope you had a great holiday. I had grand designs of Christmas posts but unfortunately they never came to be. What you get instead is this rambling recap of our holidays.

Andrew and I had a great Christmas and were happy to have my sister-in-law Kate join us for over a week. She and I visited a few of the museums that were on my to-do list: The BELvue Museum, The Coudenberg (underground remains of the former Palace of Brussels) and the Royal Museum of Art and History – all of which I plan to do longer posts on at a later date.

When we had enough culture, we made time to shop and had two visits to the Christmas market. We saw the light show in Grand Place while enjoying oysters and champagne (how civilized is that?) and noshed on sausages bigger than our heads (not so civilized).

Oysters and Champagne

Oysters and Champagne

Christmas day was spent as it should be – with family, friends and food. Five of us shared a feast that could have fed twice as many. We had turkey, 2 kinds of stuffing, cranberries, and loads of veg. It was all topped off by a delicious dessert supplied by our neighbours. (Recipes are coming soon too). We celebrated long into the night, (er morning), with wine and guitar music.

We spent Boxing Day sleeping late and packing. The next morning we were up well before the sun for a quick trip to London. It had been a few years since I last visited London and I wasn’t disappointed.

Christmas Feast

Christmas Feast

Despite the cold we had dry weather and were able to take in some of the sights. We visited two exhibitions at the incredible Victoria and Albert Museum, braved the crowds for some Boxing Day sales at Marks and Spencer, dined on curry and fish and chips, saw some of the sights lit up at night and scored tickets to see Chicago.  It was a great couple of days that were only somewhat hampered by raging head-colds.

Once we saw Kate off at Heathrow, Andrew and I endured the latest increased security checks instituted by United Airlines, which resulted in a very delayed flight home.

Christmas in Grand Place

Christmas in Grand Place

Our New Years Eve plans were thwarted by the aforementioned head-colds. In fact I spent a good few days hibernating with books, cats, and hot drinks for a well needed rest.

This week, we’re preparing for a trip to Las Vegas. Although it’s not a place I’ve been itching to visit, I’ve been a bit more excited as we’ve made plans. True to form, many of our plans revolve around dining. I’ve already reserved us a table at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon and I have a long list of other possibilities. We are also planning a side trip to the Grand Canyon, a place I haven’t been since I was about 4 and Andrew has never seen.

Kate and Andrew love London

Kate and Andrew love London

In fact it’s hard to believe that we are planning this trip now, an entire year after our trip to San Francisco. 2009, the year of few plans, turned out to be one of our busiest yet.

I spent the spring photographing flowers in Groot-Bijgaarden, Keukenhof and Aalsmeer. We had a hedonistic week of wine and food in the south of France for Bastille Day. We visited Berlin for the first time, spent time in Ireland with friends and flew home to meet our brand new nephew. I participated in my first Art Show and was hired to photograph Nigel Barker. All in all it’s been a pretty incredible year.

I wish you all the best for 2010. I’m excited to see what it has in store for us all!

If you like this, you might like:

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+
It's after Halloween so I can officially share Christmas Markets now right...? 🎄🎅 - 1 week ago


  1. Comment by Roz Parkinson

    Roz Parkinson January 4, 2010 at 14:25

    Happy New Year………..can’t wait to see how you interpret Las Vegas
    with your camera…….have a great time!

    Roz, Montreal

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison January 5, 2010 at 11:21

      Thanks Roz! Happy New year to you as well!

  2. Comment by Laura

    Laura January 5, 2010 at 10:23

    Wow! Nigel Barker off of Amreicas Next Top Model? That’s very cool!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison January 5, 2010 at 11:22

      That’s the one 🙂 He was in Bxl for a gallery opening. Unfortunately no one seemed to know anything about it until after it happened.

      • Comment by Laura

        Laura January 5, 2010 at 20:40

        Brilliant! I just told my boyfriend and he queried whether I meant “Noted fashion photographer, Nigel Barker?” – I think I’ve probably made him watch too much ANTM…
        .-= Laura´s last blog ..Wired! =-.

        • Comment by Alison

          Alison January 6, 2010 at 10:16

          Haha, The funny thing was I had never watched ANTM so I was really surprised that all of my non-photographer friends knew who he was. 🙂

  3. Comment by expatraveler

    expatraveler January 10, 2010 at 17:54

    Wow Alison, I looked at your post yesterday when I was pressed for time and told myself I must come back and enjoy it. I was so happy I did!!!!

    Your Christmas of course sounds incredible. And now you guys are off to my side of the world, and even in the same time zone. I’ve been considering this vacation for quite some time because of the great discounts. Now I’m hoping to hear some of your recommendations from the trip to Vegas!

    And your Nigel Barker photograph… That’s just plain awesome! Can’t wait to read more about 2010 and everything that has just passed!
    .-= expatraveler´s last blog ..I’m Breaking a Bit =-.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison January 12, 2010 at 01:15

      Thanks! So far Vegas is fantastic. Great weather, great food and lots to see. I’ll be blogging more about it soon but I can definitely recommend it so far!
      .-= Alison´s last blog ..Holiday Recap 2009 =-.

  4. Pingback: Expat Christmas Traditions | Expat Life in Belgium, Travel and Photography | CheeseWeb

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