Ghent

At the end of my few days in Ghent – very cool town. I’m staying in a hostel that is right in the City Center, is the 3rd oldest building in Ghent (impressive especially considering Ghent has been inhabited since before the Middle Ages). Moreover, it is on the canal, right next to the St. Michaels Bridge, and has a view of all 3 towers in the city.

The view from right outside the door of Hostel Uppelink
The view from right outside the door of Hostel Uppelink. The Belfry tower that I climb is the right-most tower.

Day 1 in Ghent:

After I arrived, I grabbed the map and went on a walk. Since I hadn’t eaten anything yet, and had yet to eat frites (fries), I tracked down a Frituur. I found Frituur Jozef’s cart and had great fries! Very crisp, golden on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside. They even came unsalted if you so wished! Love it. The sauce game is big when it comes to frites – I had the belgian specialty sauce. Its kind of like a gravy.

zeee fries
zeee fries

Ghent is really cool at night – all of the buildings and towers are lit up – which looks especially cool on the Graslei (the port/area on the canal) because the water reflects the buildings. Ghent has a light festival every 3 years and I bet it really worth watching.

Day 2 in Ghent:

On my morning walk, I ran into an elderly-ish man. He looks right at me and says “tourist?”. So we talked for a few minutes – very nice person. He told me all about how the US and Ghent are connected by the Treaty of Ghent which ended the War of 1812. He was appalled that I didn’t know that from primary school and wanted to take me into the Town Hall to show me some of the artifacts, but it was Sunday so he couldn’t. But he did suggest I go to Holy Mass at one of the cathedrals so I could listen to the Gregorian Choir. I couldn’t make it to the mass but if I’m here again on a Sunday, will be on my list! Sounds beautiful.

After our chat, I went to the Belfry and climbed the tower. Great views, for really not very much work.

View of Gent from the Belfry
View of Gent from the Belfry
View of St. Nicholas Church from the Belfry
View of St. Nicholas Church from the Belfry

After climbing the Belfry, I went to my new favorite restaurant. Its called Soupelounge and they have 4 types of soup that change each day, are served with various toppings, an apple, and 2 little breadrolls. For only 4 euros. As if I needed another reason to eat soup.

I visited the castle in Ghent next. The castle is literally right in the middle of the city, kinda crazy. Its called the Gravensteen and it is from the Middle Ages. Honestly was kind of a waste of money to visit it + I don’t feel like I need to go to many castles again. It could have been cool if they had more information on the way the castle was built for various functions, what happened there, etc. but the theme was death. So there was a lot of information on various traditions surrounding death from the Middle Ages until now, a torture museum, and things of that nature. It wasn’t interesting to me, but I am sure Julie would have really liked it.

View from one of the mini-windows on the top of the Gravensteen. The tower is the Belfry Tower I climbed
View from one of the mini-windows on the top of the Gravensteen. The tower is the Belfry Tower I climbed

Gent has days where no cars are allowed in the city center, and on those days they have markets, festivals etc. This was one of those days, and the start of a peace initiative by the city, so they were having a free concert on the Graslei. This was great because it was sunny and beautiful outside, and I could sit and listen while people watching. But this wasn’t any concert – they loaded a grand piano into a gondola and were going up and down the canal. In the gondola. With the piano.

magic gondola piano
magic gondola piano (also, please note: this is the view from my window)

Day 3 in Ghent:

I am moving to my new home base today, I’ll miss you Soupelounge and Potatolicious. Haubourdin or bust!

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