Friday, December 26, 2014

The Snow & Ice Sculpture Festival, Bruges 2014

First of all, happy 2nd Christmas Day from the official, national holiday!  We're still full of yesterday's drive to Kinderdijk to see the sunrise between 8:15-9:15 a.m.  But that's my next post.

Today it's a gift of WINTER from when we went to the Christmas market in Bruges, Belgium, on Saturday, November 29th.  I wanted to make this a separate post because...well, just because.

Since our hotel was in Ostend for our 4 nights, we decided to take the train to Bruges,
only 15 minutes away.  It was a no-brainer for the car and parking and hassle.
Ostend's train station from 1913 is gorgeous!

Astrid had already researched the Snow & Ice Sculpture Festival in Bruges before our trip.
It is literally just outside the Bruges train station.
It was a no-brainer to see it, even at €15/€13 each, because of the theme:
Ice Magic:  The Land of the Hobs, based on JRR Tolkien's Hobbit stories.

Where do I start?!  The Magic was everywhere.
Do you see a wizard?

Photography was challenging, not only because it was cold (-6° C = 21.2° F)
but because the lights kept changing color.

Do you recognize anything from the Hobbit stories?

The dwarves and trolls and goblins, for instance.

This archer was one of my favorites, even though he didn't come out well.

 The detail was incredible.  This is all ice, Folks...

...except for the chandelier, I assume
(300 tons of crystal-clear ice and 400 tons of snow in 12,000 sq. meters of space). 

It was so C.O.L.D. we had to stop for some hot Glühwein midway through.
Seriously.  It's been a long time since my hands have been that cold.
Have you ever been to an ice bar to get warm?  HA!

It was easier to get chummy with the natives once we got warm(er).

But Astrid was the true hero when she was willing to do the ice slide.
The left image was one we bought for show-n-tell (why not!), since we're both in it.

And lucky for me, I actually caught her!  You get the feel of it, don't you.

After the show (totally worth it) we then walked into Bruges for the Christmas market,
which I've already shown you here.  It was such a beautiful day.

By 5p we were ready to go back to Ostend, catching the 5:29 train, from where we started.
Look how the tents were lit up for the snow and ice festival.

It all really was magical and we're so glad we did it.
Merry Christmas, everyone!


  1. WOW! What a treat! Merry Christmas - again! :)

    1. It was a great way to start off our very Christmassy day in Bruges, Robin. Thank you.

  2. It was a treat indeed. I never saw an Ice Festival before, it was impressive and cold, but oh so fun. We were lucky to early. still able to walk and see everything.
    The Glühwein was a very welcome treat and the ice-slide....... who does not want to be a kid again (grin)
    I am already looking forward to our next Christmas Market, where ever that will be, but first a new knee.....

    1. I have seen ice sculptures on the big cruise ships, Astrid, but this was a HUGE exhibition in I've never seen like it before. I'm glad we decided to spend the money to see it because we'll never forget it. I especially love that you're always willing to be a kid. You'll NEVER grow old! :)

  3. A perfect holiday blog post, and ice sculpture should be environmentally friendly and easy to clean up after. Great post! Have a very merry Christmas and a very happy new year.

    1. Many kind thanks, Ted. And the same to you and Jane!

  4. I can see why you wanted to make this its own, wow, wow! We have a winter festival here with a small version of this, but oh my I just love the creativity and talent of ice sculpture!

    1. I'll never forget it, Donna. And to think it all eventually melts and is "lost." Thank goodness for photography, even if it doesn't do justice to the subject!

  5. This must have been truly magical! So fun that Astrid went down the slide and that you caught it on video!

    1. It definitely was magical, Ruth! And you know that Astrid...always a good sport. :)