10 Convincing reasons to visit Ghent, Belgium (part 2) - Visit Gent

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10 Convincing reasons to visit Ghent, Belgium (part 2) - Visit Gent

10 Convincing reasons to visit Ghent,

Belgium (part 2)

by Emiel on October 6, 2012

A kind of climax.

“Look at how this over-enthusiastic blogger writes about Ghent”.

The Belgian national newspaper and website De Standaard linked to part 1 of my story about

Ghent in one of their weekend features. This resulted in a huge peak of visitors and hundreds

of shares on Facebook and Twitter. This kind of exposure boost is truly sort of a climax….for

a blogger.

“Looks like we’re gonna be welcoming some more tourists in the years to come.”

Not only I wrote about Ghent that weekend, also the Guardian and the Telegraph thought the

city was well-worth the attention. I hope the people of Ghent are happy with all the attention

as well. Yeah, must be!


Anyway, did you like part 1 of this post I guess it already covered most of the highlights of

Ghent, but I do want to share 5 more reasons you need to go and visit. Let me know if you

agree or not by leaving a comment!

6. Food

“Real authentic Ghent noses! Traditional Belgian delicacy! Only…€ 5 for a bag!”

Of course I couldn’t resist buying these (quite expensive) Ghent noses (Ghentse neuzen). It’s

indeed a traditional Flemish candy: cone-shaped with tastes of raspberry. The outside is hard,

but the inside is very soft. You can buy them on the street at typical stalls selling only Ghent

noses. My daughter loved them, my son didn’t care.

What else is nice You can imagine: when in Belgium you have to eat waffles, chocolate and

fries! I am not really talking haute cuisine here and I know it’s very stereotyping, but these are

the snacks that Belgium (and Ghent) has become famous for.


My personal favourite: waffles! The smell of freshly baked waffles, on the side of the street.

Oh man, a warm waffle with chocolate, sugar or honey, you can wake me up any time for one

of these!

7. The city’s D&A: Doors & Alleys

You recognize the situation: a person is taking photographs of something. But what You stop

and look. Following the line to the point where the camera lens is aiming at, you watch….and

see nothing, nothing special. What is the subject of this photo


I am such a guy. I am that guy people look at when I take pictures of places and things that

other find utterly boring. I just love details and typical sceneries that others tend to pass by.

My favourites are alleys and doors. In Ghent I passed many doors where paint was blistered

off and other ones showing a true love for modern design. Every picture of a door has

something mysterious and you want to know the story of people living behind it. Same goes

for alleys: what is happening just around the next corner


8. Drinks, company, smallest bar, students (Ghent is a party)


Ghent is a party. With 65,000 students (on a total of 250,000 inhabitants) it’s lively and full of

action. In summer there are plenty of festivals, like the Ghentse Feesten and Odegand. De

Ghentse Feesten is a truly popular event, drawing many people from out of town to Ghent.

Maybe even too many


There is no country in the world offering such a variety of really tasty (and strong) beers:

Belgium. I spend one evening in the Dulle Griet where they offer a beer menu with 250 (or

150, but I forgot about the numbers) types of beer! Luckily I had my online friends on Twitter

and Facebook to guide and advise me.

Entering The Dulle Griet you enter a lovely old bar. The smell of beer and wood covers you

like a blanket. People at the bar, just enjoying a beer where nothing else is more important.

The Dulle Griet is famous for one special beer (Max) that is served in quite an impressive

glass. It’s a 1,2 liter tube held in a wooden rack. It’s so expensive, the waiter will ask for your

right shoe as deposit. He will winch it to the ceiling and you will get it back only after

finishing your beer.

Other bars that are more visited by locals are Pink Flamingo and Parels (a unique bubble bar,

but absolutely not over the top or designed with the latest style trends!). Both are surely worth

a visit.


9. Saint Bavo Cathedral and the Mystic Lamb (and the Belfry tower)


Back to history! Visiting Ghent without entering St. Bavo Cathedral is unthinkable. Before

entering, go up the Belfry tower first (picture above), which is opposite the cathedral. You

will have a great view of the cathedral. Once inside enjoy the great pieces or art that are

displayed (there are audio tours available). I was impressed by the Altarpiece and La Bestia…


Ghent Alterpiece (or Adoration of the Mystic Lamb)

This is considered to be a Belgian masterpiece and one of the world’s treasures. It consist of

24 panels, showing God, Jesus, Virgin Mary, John the Baptist, Adam, Eve and of course the

mystic lamb. Impressive painting…if the chapel with the original piece is closed, you can find

a copy in the back of the cathedral…


La Bestia

Cool, an abstract form that reminds us of a wounded animal, standing on a pedestal and

bathing in a pool of red engine oil…La Bestia by Bassiri dates from 2004 and is truly

‘emotionally-charged material’. For lovers of extreme art.

You know I’m a big fan of details and here’s one to be found near the entrance to the Belfry

tower. This sculpture is called the Mammelokker and depicts the legend of a prisoner, Cimon,

who is sentenced to death by starvation, but survives and ultimately gains his freedom thanks

to his daughter Pero, a wet nurse who secretly breastfeeds him during her visits. For lovers of

Roman legends.


10. Design

I wrote about design and art in an earlier post. Just wanted to share again that Flanders (and

specifically Ghent) is an important area for the design industry (first fashion but also

furniture). Flanders is home to 12,000 design businesses and the design museum in Ghent is a

great place to get introduced.


Ghent is just big fun!

Yes, I am over-enthusiastic, but great cities are intoxicating. I could choose city trips over any

beach destination, you

Ghent is a rebel. Ghent is a party. Ghent is an architectural masterpiece.

Hope you enjoyed the reading and now go and put Ghent on your upcoming European

itinerary!

Thanks again to Tourism Flanders inviting me for the trip to Ghent.

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