A Short Stop in Ghent - Visit Gent

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A Short Stop in Ghent - Visit Gent

Sunlight GhentView of GentArt GentgentA Short Stop in GhentPublished 21-08-2012Follow @by TravMonkey+ comment nowI admit that I’m not the type of traveller who likes to plan or research much.I’ve been known to get off a plane without knowing where to go or where to stay. For me, part ofthe adventure is in the surprises that you find and I find so many more when I’ve done little to noresearch.I was on my way to Antwerp for Flanders is a Festival but was due to spend the day in Ghent(organised by visitFlanders), I hadn’t really read up on the sights and attractions before hand.Perhaps, because it’s so easy to get real knowledgeable recommendations via social media thesedays that I don’t think I need to read something that may or may not be outdated?The Ghent TramAt Gent-Sint-Pieters train station I eventually gave up trying to figure out how to pay for thetram and boarded. Recovering in the air-con from the humid heat outside I reluctantly jumped offright in the centre. I felt a little guilty about not paying but managed to convince myself it wastheir own fault for not making the ticket machine obvious to clueless tourists like myself.Stunning ArchitectureI wasn’t expecting that much from Ghent, I’d heard that it was a nice place but hadn’t really hadany urge to visit. From the moment I stumbled off the tram on the cobble like streets with abackpack loaded with blogger tech and a wheelie suitcase, Ghent’s beauty dawned on me.Beautiful architecture was in font, to the left and all around me as I wandered in the direction ofmy hotel (hotel Monasterium Poortackere). I crossed what I later realised to be St Michael’sBridge in the blazing sunlight. On the river below, locals and tourists relaxed taking in the sunwhilst watching the boats meander past, at this point I realised that I really should have dedicateda day or two to this quint and historical city.Hotel Monasterium PoortackereA just a short walk from St Michael’s Church, Hotel Monasterium Poortackere was my hotel forthe night. The hotel is a former monastery that had been home to 6 nuns up until 1998, it is aunique place to stay whilst it Ghent. Rooms are quite basic but in keeping with being a formernunnery and it makes a change from staying in characterless hotel chains. The hotel even has itsown chapel and is well located for those looking to wander to the historic centre of the city.The Historic CentreIt takes me a while to adjust to heat and it was an especially hot humid day due to a heat wavehitting Europe, never the less I wanted to make the most of my time in Ghent so I grabbed thecamera and iphone and headed to the historical centre. Strolling around this area you candiscover numerous churches, museums as well as cafes and restaurants. My highlights were thebelfry for its beautiful views, the Gravensteen castle and the Saint Bavo Cathedral – home of thealtar painting “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb”.


Belgium BeerAfter a busy afternoon of sight-seeing around Ghent I needed to cool down and rest my wearylegs. I found a seat outside Delirium bar and ordered a 7% Orval beer, it was a great spot forpeople watching.Chez LeontineChez Leontine has excellent views situated overlooking the river and Groetenmarkt and is a greatplace to relax in summer. They serve typical Belgium food such as mussels, rabbit and the beermenu is so extensive that I simply asked for a recommendation to accompany my steak. Portionsare substantial and the food is excellent. Highly recommended. If you’re feeling adventurous youcan also wander next door to Dreupelkot where there is a large selection of jenever (gin) onoffer.Overall, Ghent is a wonderful city. The perfect place to spend a weekend leisurely wandering thestreets, visiting stunning churches, museums, cafes and sampling some of the wonderful Belgiumbeers. I wish I had much more time to spend here but I’m sure I’ll be back in the near future.Chez LeontineLooking for more on Ghent? Take a look at what I got up to in Ghent from our live bloggingcoverage from Ghent

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