We were really keen to try and see the towns of Ghent and Brussels whilst in Belgium. At least it meant a bit of time in the car and not the whole day on our feet – which believe you me was a plus point at this stage.
Having our own car and sat nav – which did Europe beautifully – was a great bonus. I put in the Graslei (the really pretty canal side street) and we were off.
We got to Ghent no problem but then the sat nav wanted us to follow a route which involved one way streets and roads closed for road works. Thankfully my poor navigation skills of the previous day had ‘healed’ and I was back on form. I had a good mental picture of where we needed to go and I directed us to a car park. We were dead proud of ourselves figuring out the directions in Flemmish and I figured we must be quite near to the Graslei. Quite near – how does 5 minutes sound!!!
I think the view that struck us as we rounded the corner towards the bridge is one which will live in my mind for ever. It was total and utter architectural overload in every single sense of the word. There were so many imposing buildings with huge spires and turrets all against a clear blue sky and as it was Sunday morning all of the church bells were ringing. It was one of those never to be forgotten moments. It wasn’t until I came home that I read on the Ghent website that the view from St Michael’s Bridge, where we were, is the most spectacular of all.
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, which are reflected in the long river, is the meeting place par excellence. Young and old, inhabitant and visitor, everyone meets on one of the many café patios or simply by the water. This is the thriving heart of the inner city.
The house of the Grain Weighers, the Guildhall of the Free Boatmen, the Spijker… every house on the Graslei has its own history. Together they form the story of the incredible blossoming of Ghent’s economy during the Middle Ages. On the other side of the water is the Korenlei.
We walked down Kornmarkt first – and yes there was a reason. Ever the planner, Nigel had done a little research of his own and found out that there is one of the four Starbucks in Belgium right there in Ghent. Oh yes.
So that was where we headed first and they were lovely girls in there.
Frap in hand we continued to enjoy the beauty that was Ghent.
The buildings are by and large original in Ghent, just restored, and they were stunning.Sorry - lots of pics ... we loved Ghent
It began to cloud over a little and I have to admit it was frighteningly cold. But we did enjoy our visit, rounded off with listening to some of the sung mass in St Michael’s itself before heading off to Brussels.
Just one more installment left for tomorrow.
New scrapping today from a different European city. This is made with a new collection called Cafe in Paris by Lara at Lara's Digi World
I used it to create a page remembering our vow renewal in Paris in 2011. How can that be three years ago - it feels like only yesterday
Today I am thankful for
- a quiet hour sat with both cats on my knee ... my but they are heavy
- bargains in town - cards and The Body Shop