Our third day was spent in the beautiful city of Ghent. We considered visitng Bruges instead, but locals said that Bruges is a town made for tourists and you feel like being on a theater show, while Ghent was as beautiful but “more realistic”. Also helped the fact of having a friend in Ghent who told he could guide us along the city and two Erasmus friends with whom we were having dinner that night. So we took the train in Brussels, incredible the temperature difference inside and outside the train, too warm! The first good impression of Ghent was its train station with beautiful paintings on the walls. The train station is not at the city center and we decided to walk there without a map, just asking people around. I recommend you to find a map, because we were kind of lost and actually sad because what we were seeing was not that great. We passed by the Faculty of Architecture and St Peter Church and then we finally fell in love, when we found St. Baafs cathedral, one of the most incredible churches I have ever been! After that we met my friend Koen and he showed us the best places around like the Belfry (bell tower, and actually there are just three left in Belgium from the medieval times), the town hall or the Stadshal, a wood structure to host events in the city but which is known by local people as the sheep stable.
As we were there in November and it was really cold we always had to go inside somewhere to warm up so we went to a bar where we drank some belgian beer, we tried some sweets and pastries and we drank some liquors.
When we were feeling better we went outside again to continue our walk alongside the water channels. We passed by the fish market, the castle of Gravensteen and the famous Graslei and Korenlei. Ask ten inhabitants of Ghent what the most beautiful place in their city is and nine will answer the Graslei. Today this medieval port with its unique row of historical buildings, reflected in the long river, is the meeting place par excellence. On the other side of the water is the Korenlei. All that remains of some of the original buildings is the outer walls! The best place to end our tour before having dinner with our friends.
If you liked this post and want to read more about my trips to Belgium or the neighboring Netherlands, you can visit the following posts: