Highly Recommended: Ghent


I know that Bruges gets all the plaudits, and I was gushing over the town just yesterday, but I have to admit that the neighboring town of Ghent really stole my heart. It’s lesser-known on the tourist circuit, but in some ways that makes it more approachable. It’s a big college town, with 60,000 university students making the town lively and youthful. Yet there is plenty of history as well, with more churches than you can throw a stick at, and castle to boot.  We decided to base ourselves in Ghent during our Belgium-escape, mostly because it’s central and we wanted to see both Bruges and Antwerp, and maybe a bit of Brussels if we had time. I would highly recommend Ghent for this, as the trains are fast, frequent, and cheap. The only drawback was that the nice bits of town are not directly adjacent to the train station – you have to take a tram back and forth, and we became a bit tired of the same scenery along that one stretch of track!

On the day of our arrival, standing in one of the main squares along the canal. The famous houses with their stepped roofs can be seen in the background.

On the day of our arrival, standing in one of the main squares along the canal. The famous houses with their stepped roofs can be seen in the background.

 

This is one of my artsy-fartsy pictures, because I was trying to catch the modern glass building showing the reflection of the cathedral opposite. And of course the tram wires criss-crossing everything!

This is one of my artsy-fartsy pictures, because I was trying to catch the modern glass building showing the reflection of the cathedral opposite. And of course the tram wires criss-crossing everything!

 

A fast-food truck outside the main station. I'm not sure if you can see it, but the lower-left is a sign for escargot! I just love that you can get the fancy-pants Frenchie food as street meat!

A fast-food truck outside the main station. I’m not sure if you can see it, but the lower-left is a sign for escargot! I just love that you can get fancy-pants Frenchie food as street meat!

Probably my favorite shot from Belgium, because it combines our obsessions so neatly. It's a tram-stop

Probably my favorite shot from Belgium, because it combines our obsessions so neatly. It’s a tram-stop

Inside the Ghent train station.  Yes, train station.  I know it looks like a cathedral, but I promise you that I haven't gotten them confused! There was lovely tile work, and the mosaics were stunning.

Inside the Ghent train station. Yes, train station. I know it looks like a cathedral, but I promise you that I haven’t gotten them confused! There was lovely tile work, and the mosaics were stunning.

Me. By a park. With a canal in the background.

Me. By a park. With a canal in the background.

The buildings in Ghent are all lit at night by special lights - it's a pretty cool city initiative and makes the city infinitely more approachable after dark.

The buildings in Ghent are all lit at night by special spotlights – it’s a pretty cool city initiative and makes the city infinitely more approachable after dark.

Okay, I know that last year in Japan I was obsessed with vending machines, and that phase of my life is over now. But I couldn't help taking a picture of this. It's a vending machine for fresh loaves of bread!

Okay, I know that last year in Japan I was obsessed with vending machines, and that phase of my life is over now. But I couldn’t help taking a picture of this. It’s a vending machine for fresh loaves of bread!

Fondue.  Amazing fondue. Cheesy, bready, goodness.

Fondue. Amazing fondue. Cheesy, bready, goodness.

Walking home one night we stumbled on this store! I wish we'd had a chance to go back in daylight to say Hi.

Walking home one night we stumbled on this store! I wish we’d had a chance to go back in daylight to say Hi.

The impossibly beautiful cityscape of Ghent. Talk about a great skyline....

The impossibly beautiful cityscape of Ghent. Talk about a great skyline….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted on 30/11/2012, in travel, Travel to Europe and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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