Late that evening, we visited the Christmas markets that we breezed through the previous night, getting in easily with our Belgian digital vaccine certificates. They all turned out to just be big parties, with very little actual Christmas related items to purchase, other than Gluwein (mulled wine). We rode the ferris wheel at the largest Christmas market, which offered some nice views of the city. We observed that it was a fairly low city as the crow flies, devoid of skyscrapers. Brendan also walked through The Ice Monster ride which was a waste of money (someone apparently jumps out and tries to scare you). The Christmas markets were packed, and the craft kiosks offered mostly items made overseas and nothing unique.
For dinner, we decided on the Wolf food hall, a concept that we thought was trying to steal a little from Meow Wolf. It hearkened back to the wonderful experience we had in Lisbon three years ago to the day. You could order and pay for food online, but only after getting on Wi-Fi, yet you needed SMS to work to get on the Wi-Fi and they didn’t offer the option to send an SMS code to US numbers. Luckily, he merchants also let you order and pay at their stands. We both ordered Indian food that night (curry bowls), which was bland by American standards and definitely by Indian standards, but a nice change of pace from meat and potatoes. Brendan also got waffle bites and I got a cookie for dessert, as well as some cocktails from the bar. We were yet to find real, flavorful ethnic food, other than Italian.
Here are a few more pictures from across our wanderings that evening, as we enjoyed our final moments in Brussels.
That night, right before falling asleep, we had a proper travel freak-out moment causing both of us to toss and turn all night due to the stress. I was once again going over the Covid procedures for Switzerland, and with Omicron afoot, and because an early Omicron case was discovered in Belgium, it appeared that any traveler that had entered Belgium 10 days prior to entering Switzerland were being asked to quarantine for 10 days, regardless of the result of any COVID test taken upon arrival. We were not sure this applied to us, as we were traveling to Zürich from Luxembourg, and both Luxembourg and the United States were thus far on the “good” list. There was a lot of conflicting information, and no travel blog accounts of what it was like on the ground. As a result, we started to hyperventilate well into the 1AM hour actively, and then starting to work through contingency plans and trip pivots. The result of which was not a wink of sleep for either of us. We both at once point even had to resort to pulling out our Kindle to read and try to context switch, as indulging in the travel risk rabbit hole was doing us absolutely no good. We ultimately decided that we would probably be OK since we were coming from Luxembourg, and agreed that if asked directly whether we transited through Belgium in the previous 10 days that we would tell the truth and take the consequence. We would not, however, eagerly volunteer it.
The next morning after our final breakfast at Art de Sejour, we took one more lap around town before checking out, including another visit to see the outfit on the Mannekin Pis, as well as a stroll through the Galleries. You could say we spent our final moments in Brussels frequenting old haunts.
Afterwards, we checked out and then set out by foot (there was another small break in the weather) to the train station to board our train to Luxembourg and embark on the next leg of our journey. We booked first class for this train, and it was a nice experience – quiet enough to catch up some reading and not be overwhelmed by anxiety around our COVID procedural freak-out the night before.