A Travellerspoint blog

Belgium

GHENT

BELGIUM'S LESSER KNOWN GEM

semi-overcast 16 °C

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Today's adventure took me to the city of Ghent, about 30 minutes from Brussels ( unless, you end up on some bizarre slow train that kept stopping, like I did). The debate on the internet over which city is better, Bruges or Ghent, often ends with Ghent coming out on top and so I decided to check it out myself. To be honest, I probably enjoyed my day in Ghent more but the two cities have a completely different vibe and so both are worth a visit.

During the Middle Ages, Ghent was one of the richest and most powerful cities in Europe. This is obvious in the architecture which tells the stories of the rich traders in their design and the incredible number of churches, apparently built by the rich to ensure their place in heaven. The building are so ornate and the detail impressive. The city centre is car free so is lovely for walking.

The only thing in the city that didn't'appeal to me was this invention. I won't tell you what it is but rather give the same clues that caught my eye and cause me to go back for a look....and a picture.

I turn the corner, I see a man, who is sheepishly fumbling with his zipper. It catches my eye, I see wet concrete. I look to see where is he is coming from and I see this labeled, "Stad Gent"

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But here are all the things I loved about this gorgeous city.

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Posted by curlygirl 12:31 Archived in Belgium Tagged ghent belgium Comments (4)

BRUGES

BELGIUM'S POSTCARD

semi-overcast

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Just a 75 minute train ride away from Brussels lies Bruges, the capital of West Flanders in northwest Belgium. It is probably one of European's most loved and picturesque cities and certainly the most famous in Belgium. It is known for its beauty which lie in its canals, cobbled streets and medieval buildings. I spent the better part of the day there roaming around this city that has been on my bucket list for a long time. It did not disappoint.

I was most surprised to find virtually no French, which is widely spoken in Brussels, but rather a Flemish version of Dutch.

Although, I must point out, on this day of gratitude ( Canadian Thanksgiving), that I felt very thankful for my beautiful home city. There were times when I found myself saying, "Ottawa is almost as pretty". If you don't believe me, come join me on my nearby walk along the Ottawa river.

I was also grateful that my one chocolate treat today was worth every single calorie.

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Here's Bruges through my lens. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Posted by curlygirl 10:29 Archived in Belgium Tagged europe belgium bruges Comments (5)

BRUSSELS - FIRST IMPRESSIONS

overcast 10 °C

Fortunately, I am the forgiving type who can put the past behind me because Brussels had really pissed me off in the first 2 hours. She has since made up with me with promises of more good things ahead.

It has been a long time since i have been to a European airport, beside Heathrow, that just can't handle the arriving passengers. The immigration line up for the Non-EU types was brutal with 3 agents working, later joined by a 4th. Once that was done, after more than 90 minutes, I grabbed my bag and checked with information. I learned a taxi would be 50 euros+ or the train 10 euros + a ten minute walk. I opted for the train. I went to buy my ticket, The line up at the desk was huge so I make some guesses at the machine and got a ticket. There was no one to help, not even to figure out which train was although displayed, was so cryptic, about 6 strangers gathered with me and we made a guess. By the time I got to the main station it was raining so I figured i would hop in a cab. The 5 euro ride cost me 10. The driver was clearly pissed he got such a close fare, he said he had no receipts, he had no change for a 20, asked if I had a credit card, then could not get his machine to work. Not a good start.

But the hotel is nice and in a great location. I opted to take one of their smaller rooms so I could check in right away and have a nap (hey have since offered to move me but it isn't worth the trouble).

So after a three hour nap, I headed out to see if Brussels was what I expected.

What did I expect?

1. Beer - lots of it
2. Chocolate - lots of it
3. Moules - mussels
4. Frites - fries
5. Lace
6. A big square with old buildings.
7. Small boy peeing

What did I see?

1. Beer - lots of it - lots of people drinking it.
2. Chocolate - lots of it. and the hot chocolate....hot milk served with chocolate pieces to melt. I will be having that sometime. Chocolate shops everywhere.
3. Moules - mussels - ate them...yum
4. Frites - fries - came with the mussels.
5. Lace - yup
6. A big square with old buildings - yup
7. Smaller boy peeing - much smaller than expected. Also wearing one of his many outfits....and replicated everywhere in chocolate
8. Waffles.....how could I have missed this? Almost tripped the skinny bitches eating them.
9. Marshmallows everywhere. This may be a problem. Anyone who knows me, knows that marshmallow is my favourite food.

I mostly windowed shopped. I ate no chocolate, no marshmallow and no waffles, but I would sure like something now. Too late, I am in bed.

Here are some pictures of my window shopping to see if it lives up to the stereotypes.

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This says, don't squeeze the marshmallow. is that really necessary?

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Giant meringues ...i love them too. similar to marshmallow. Nope, didn't have one.
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The Grand Place. A typical giant European square.

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Charles Buls, mayor of Brussels in the late 1800s.

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The long galleries, our shopping centres,

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Belgium waffles come from Belgium...duh?

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Peeing boy (Manneken Pis)

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I might get escargot. mmm

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There are still many streets closed and have barriers since the big attack here.

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I still suck at selfies.

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Here is my supper.

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Posted by curlygirl 16:32 Archived in Belgium Comments (1)

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