Sep 2, 2016

Day 3, Ghent - The Hipster Sleepy Hollow of Belgium

Have you ever watched a movie set in 18th century, little sun shining over the town, but clouds looming at large, hinting at rainy evening ? The bell tolls, women and children going towards home and men head to town bar. A castle in the backdrop, sound of horse carriage on the cobbled streets and mist starts to gather. Ever wished to visit this old town? Then put Ghent (or Gent) on your list - misty, charming and undiscovered.

40 minute ride from Brussels Midi to Gent St Pieters station for 11-12 euros and you get transported to a town with old historical buildings but strong student population. That's why I call it the Hipster Sleepy Hollow of Belgium.

Beauty lies in old secrets

Start walking and discover me

The first thing you notice is less tourists, so many young students, hidden graffiti peeking out sometimes and spires of old era. The weather was bit grey as it was cloudy, drizzling in between but we thoroughly enjoyed it. While asking around, we met this really helpful student at the station, who directed us to the Gravensteen Castle and boarded the same bus with.  He did not recommend the castle much but understood our touristy excitement. Haha. Well who leaves a middle ages castle on their first Europe holiday.

Gravensteen Castle (Caste of the Counts)


What you cannot miss is the design and Dutch architecture on every corner and door. Stepped gable house facades and the warm palette of red, brown, orange mixed with charcoal and grey.



Those doors and bicycles, so European


Beguinage, Ghent
 We took a bus near Beguinage to city center and then covered everything around by walk. Don't we just love those town where you can do that. Walk, ponder, chill at a cafe, repeat.

Those canals, they just flow

Belfort, Ghent



St. Bavo's Cathedral




Modern architecture blended into old times

City Hall or Stadhuis
Ghent was one day trip for us and I feel it was a good decision to drop Antwerp and visit this gem. I looked through my folder and after Paris, the best photos were taken here. Shops started closing around 5pm and then you see a lot of young crowd going back to there places. Eateries remain open though. In a day walking along the medieval streets, we were able to see the houses, tapestry and handicrafts in shops, ate lunch at random cafe and bought Speculoos. It became quite rainy around 7pm, we were leaving but had seen the secret of Belgium. Happy souls :)

Adieu Gent, until we meet again :)

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