Another day spent exploring another corner of Belgium. Bastogne, a WWII site, is not far from our home base, but we decided two battlefields was enough and opted for exploring another charming town. The winner of today’s destination lottery was Ghent! Ghent is not as picturesque as yesterday’s Brugges but it certainly was just as interesting.
Every adventure starts with the fun of trying to figure out exactly where you need to be. What is easy is getting within close proximity – finding the parking and the actual thing you want to see takes minutes at staring at maps, looking and the sun, trying to find North and wondering if solstice affects the suns angle. It is very comical and never changes.
Ghent had a number of plazas used as markets in the olden days as well as plenty of canals. Not sure if the health department has the same rules in Europe as the US when it comes to food storage. Then there are the churches – huge gothic churches. The ones we toured really didn’t offer anything new that we have not seen before. The St. Bavo church did have a couple of art treaures – an alterpiece by Van Eyck and a Rubens. You have to pay to see the Van Eyck or you can see a copy hanging in the same spot where the original used to hang. Guess what we chose?
As we get into spring we are noticing a slight shift in the tourist crowds. Mainly, they are becoming more aggressive. Everywhere we have been there are large groups being led by someone with a head set and a stick with a colorful flag of some sort so they are easy to follow. Usually you just wait for tem to pass. Lately they seem to be pushy, get in the way and they are loud. For example if we are in a museum or church admisring something and it is the something a tour group wants to see they pretend youa renot there and step right in front of you or push you to the side. The leader then starts talking loudly and dancing around in front of the object. The tour groups definititely get their moneys worth – but they are not very considerate of other tourists. They also do’t follow the “no photos rules”
We had time to tour the Castle of the Counts which had a lovely torture device collection. This castle is exactly what you envision a broody castle should look like. It is almost like it was made for a Disneyland ride. There were plenty of steep spiral staircases and large gloomy rooms for us to appreciate. The top ramparts made for excellent vantage points for photos.
Sadly we ran out of time and did not make it to the museum to see fine Flemish and Dutch art. You can just imagine how torn up the children were at this turn of events.