Vacation Photos: Ghent

And now we move on to the Belgian portion of the photos. Situated halfway between Brussels and Bruges (it’s a 25 minute train ride from Brussels, and pro-tip, no one ever collects your train tickets in the country) in the heart of the Flanders region, Ghent is what I imagine Bruges was 10 years ago before tourists found out about it. It’s picturesque, untouched, filled with gorgeous architecture, winding canals, and super friendly locals who all speak Flemish. And at the risk of sounding wholly ignorant, it sounds like everyone is making fun of the Swedish Chef. The local speciality is a dish called waterzooi, which is pronounced exactly as it looks. Water. Zoo. EEEEE. It’s a cream-based fish soup, and it’s delicious.

We only spent 24 hours in town before moving on to Bruges. If I could change one thing about our trip, it would be to have spent more time in Ghent. We toured a castle from the 1100s, had a long and lazy lunch on the canal, bar-hopped with the locals, drinking tons of Kriek (sour cherry lambic!), and one weird guy befriended us and bought us drinks. We were convinced he was going to follow and murder us but really he was just awkwardly overfamiliar (he mentioned he had six kids. “Three boys, four girls.” At least we had math skills in common). We stayed in the most gorgeous hotel I’ve ever seen (where I left my macbook charger under the desk), never paid for the tram (I’m serious, it’s like tickets are optional in Belgium), visited the Design Museum, stopped into about 15 magnificent churches, and had a traditional Flemish dinner.

Ghent, man. It seriously charmed the pants off of me.

The foyer of our hotel. To give you a sense of scale, that archway under the stairs is 7 feet tall. 

Tomorrow, Bruges! I’m lining these posts up in the order in which we were in each city, in case you were curious.

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May 30, 2012 / art / photo / Travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 15

15 comments

  • Gorgeous photos! What a beautiful city! I’m drooling over the bread, skipped breakfast and now my stomach demands food ;) Ha, ha the Swedish Chef comment is funny. One of my friends speaks Flemish and for whatever reason sometimes she thinks I can speak it too and talks to me in Flemish. Sometimes I get the gist of what she is trying to tell me though ;) .

    • Ha, apparently all Germanic-based languages have some similarities. You would have been helpful to have on vacation with us! You should’ve seen our faces.

  • “We were convinced he was going to follow and murder us but really he was just awkwardly overfamiliar (he mentioned he had six kids. “Three boys, four girls.” At least we had math skills in common).”

    Hahahaha! I’m going to be laughing about this for days!!! :D
    You have the most hilarious encounters – you seriously couldn’t make them up.

    J’adore all the gorgeous details you photographed. I LOVE the cross-shaped window (I’m obsessed with crosses at the moment!) and the rainbow-painted door set in the grey concrete ………
    Ghent is so very pretty – the last photo looks like a sweet little dollhouse town and that hotel foyer? Wow! :O

    • Haha it’s funny now and we can laugh about it but we were both genuinely looking over our shoulders for the rest of the night convinced he was going to pop out of some corner with an axe!

      Thank you so much, Chi! I was worried these photos would be slightly anti-climactic after the Paris ones, but I really did love Ghent so, so much. You have to go and visit, you’d love it!

  • Oh boy it does look incredibly gorgeous there

    • It is! You have to go see for yourself ;)

  • it sounds like everyone is making fun of the Swedish Chef – hilarious.
    “Three boys, four girls.” – even better! so funny!
    And what a pretty place, it looks like it’s made from Lego.
    But search & destroy? Has George W Bush been there or something?
    so pretty! I knew absolutely nothing about Ghent so thank you for all the lovely picture chicken!

    • Hahaha hey! Only we Americans can make fun of that disaster-and-a-half. YOU didn’t suffer under him for 8 years, haha. But yeah, that sign made no sense to us either!

      Ghent is amazing! You have to go visit!

  • OH, purty! Well, for only having 24 hours in this beautiful town, you sure did get plenty accomplished. I loved that the random guy befriended you. It reminds me of the time we got lost in the canals of Venice (apparently an easy thing to do) and a local happily came to our rescue. It was late at night and our imaginations (aka American skepticism) got the best of us. We collectively thought: What if he’s leading us to an abandoned building where he and his gang will murder us. You should have seen the very confused look on his face when we told him we didn’t need his help anymore…We would figure out the rest of the way by ourselves. Poor guy.
    Goes without saying that I love your photos and storytelling, Erin.

    • “American skepticism” is EXACTLY the phrase I was looking for! Yes! What’s up with us always assuming that if someone is being nice we are clearly going to end up dead? I’m sure our Ghent guy, just like your Venetian local, was really a good guy and that our skepticism got the best of us. I loved your story, by the way!

  • FANTASTIC!!! For some reason the one with the cross reminds me of Twilight

    • Ha! I can see that.

  • Oh, lovelovelove! I love! I know I’ve told you that there’s a neighborhood in our town called Ghent and an area along the water called The Hague. Seeing these pictures, I can see why. My Ghent isn’t *nearly* as charming, but the feel is similar. Sort of. ;)

    I loved your bit about the overly familiar guy cracked me up. It, and Theresa’s story remind me of when Cal and I were walking along the Danube in Hungary and came upon a guy rummaging in the back of his hatchback. My immediate thought was, “Gypsies!” And we beat a hasty retreat out of there. I’m sure he was just getting out some fishing gear.

    • Haha, Ghent, VA! I actually found out about that place by accident when I was searching for apartment rentals to see how much it would be to live there (indulging a fantasy, plus I love real estate). I’m sure your Ghent has its charms, too :)

      Haha, Theresa really hit the nail on the head! American skepticism strikes again! That poor fake-gypsy!

  • […] time I’m in Belgium, I’m […]