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streapadair

Belgium

Doesn't seem to be a Belgium thread so far, so here's one.

August 2013, and after an excellent couple of weeks in the southern Swiss Alps the weather took a turn for the worse, and we decided to cut and run. Mrs streap fancied Belgium, Ghent and Bruges in particular – I wasn’t so keen, isn’t Belgium all flat and boring?, but as usual she prevailed (we’ll dodge the French autoroute tolls, it’ll leave a nice easy run to Dunkirk and the ferry . . .  aye, ok), so up past Basel and Strasbourg, clipping Luxembourg, round Brussels and into Flanders. And I had to concede that it was a good choice, Ghent is a great little city, so much to see that we never did make it to Bruges.

The old Post Office on Sint-Michielsplein.


Canal at the Graslei, with the tower of the 13th century Gravensteen, from where the Counts of Flanders flexed their muscles.


Sint-Michielsbrug from the Gravensteen.


Rooftops from the ramparts.


The Belfry is a 14th century tower which is a bit of a Ghent icon. The 300-odd steps are good exercise, and from the top you get to look down on the Sint-Niklaaskerk. And I was right about one thing, Belgium is quite flat.


The city has a tram system which started in 1874 and has never really gone away, though it nearly did in the 1980s before being revived.



Alternative transport.


There’s an alley off the Hoogpoort (‘Highgate’) where graffiti is not just tolerated but encouraged.



The 13th century Groot Vleeshuis (‘Great Butchers’ Hall’) in the Pensmarkt, where old trainers go to die.


There’s a wonderful veggie oriental restaurant in the Oudburg called The Panda, with tables outside on the canal bank, and we had quite a romantic dinner there. Ghent is great for veggie and vegan, btw, and every Thursday is Vegetarian Day.


There are several boats that ply the canals to show tourists the sights, and we picked the one where Bob Dylan was giving an impromptu concert.


Passing The Panda.


The Angel with the Gas Mask, outside one of the 3 beguinages (sort of nunneries) in Ghent. The boatman (he wasn’t really BD, you know) told us its back story but I don’t fully remember, something to do with the role of women in the Great War.


Graslei again, warm summer night.



Sint-Niklaaskerk with The Belfry behind it, and a shadowy Sint- Baafskathedraal further up the street. And a lens badly needing cleaned.


There’s a brilliant municipal campsite at Blaarmeersen, a short bus ride from the city centre. The annexe tent was a recent acquisition, and well worth it.


Dunkirk to Dover.
Jagz1876

Fantastic photos streapadair, Ghent looks really nice.
streapadair

Thanks. Yes, it is. Ghent was a major European city in the Middle Ages, second in size only to Paris. It had grown rich on the wool and textile trade, and there's any number of fine buildings from the period. Luckily it came through both World Wars almost unscathed

There's a Festival of Light every 3 years which must be worth seeing, but the next one isn't till January 2018. City's very bike-friendly too (apart from the tramlines).
st200

Nice set there,always fancied Belgium after watching the hilarious movie "In Bruges".
Doog Doog

Great set.

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