In Bruges this month international visitors will see the opening of the 10th annual Snow and Ice festival. Every year a large purpose built marquee is erected infornt of Bruges main train station. Inside the marquee is a fabulous dispay of ice sculptures.
The 300 tonnes of ice that is used is carried around by fork lift trucks that run on gas. This stops the fumes and gases burnt in a normal engine from polluting the ice and discolouring it with soot.
Once in place a team of around forty highly skilled ice sculptors set to work in a constant -5 degrees! The sculpting takes around four weeks.
The ice blocks are up to 2 metres high and can weigh as much as 2 tonnes each. There are no hard and fast rules for sculpting but generally most sculptors tend to work from top to bottom. As if the blocks weren't big enough some sculptors choose to fuse the blocks together with heat leaving a seam free finish.
Once the ice was natural blocks, but today the ice is made using a special technique in Flanders. This allows the ice to be frozen leaving no air bubbles, and this gives the sculptors a fantastic product to work with.
In addition a further 400 tonnes of snow is needed to complete the backdrop and the sculptures. This is ground from additional ice by special grinding machines!
Creating this spectacular display are the best sculptors from China, Canada, The USA, Russia, Sweden, Finland, the Ukraine, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium.
The Festival celebrates the theme 'Around the World' this year and takes the visitor around 20 different countries via sculpture.
Should you want to visit the display is Open Daily from 10 am until 7pm. From the 26th November until the 16th January 2011. Well behaved dogs are permitted as long as they are on a lead, and the whole display is accessible for wheelchair users.
Adults are 13 Euros
Children 9 Euros
and Senior Citizens (60+), Students and Wheelchair users are 11 Euros
The Christmas Markets and Public Ice Rink are only five minuets walk away too.
For more information;
To Visit Snow and Ice website or email email@example.com
For Flights please see Cheap Flights. At the time of writing a return ticket from Cardiff Airport at the time of the Snow and Ice festival would be £139pp approx
Where to Stay The Metrople a luxury hotel from 115 Euros...others to suit all budgets are available
Member since: 10th May 2012
I used to run the bestofswansea.