We got up, grabbed some free breakfast from our hostel, and checked out, bound for Ghent. We made the short 10 minute walk and were lucky enough to catch a train without having to wait too much. The ride was short and the landscape pretty, rolling green hills whizzed by as we made our way. Before long we had arrived in Ghent, ready to explore. We dropped off our large bags in lockers at the train station and headed to catch a tram into town. We were a little confused as it was not clear how we could buy tickets, but eventually we figured it out and were even able to help an older British gentleman with his transit too.
We passed by some awesome-looking buildings on our way into town. We eventually decided we were close enough and hopped off the tram so that we could find some lunch. We found a place serving bagels and each ordered two, with various toppings. After our tasty bagels, we left the shop. We had literally no plan. Our only goal was to experience the town and life there.
We set off on foot and found several beautiful churches neatly in a row. An ornate town hall, and some interesting public spaces. We explored the streets for more than a few hours, stopping for pictures and occasionally to grab some chocolates. We found a neat food market which had taken over an unused church building, climbed the tower at the town hall, and found a large medieval castle which we spent some time touring. Ghent was really an unplanned trip but the town surprised us with how pretty everything was.
The castle had the stereotypical grey stone construction, battlements, a keep, and nearby water. Everything you’d expect from a European fortress. There were a few cool exhibits inside and the view from the top was a nice benefit too.
We also liked how “normal” the town felt. There were few, if any tourists besides us there, and it seemed like we were a little out of place taking pictures while everyone went about their daily business. We did find other visitors at the castle, but to me the most striking thing about Ghent was how off-the-beaten-path it felt.
In Ghent it seemed like every turn we took led us to another picturesque street, plaza, or crazy-looking building. I know it seems like we didn’t do much of anything while we were there, but just navigating the streets seemed to be the thing to do.
Sorry for the short post, but I think this story was best told through the pictures. Ghent is such a pretty town, I highly advise making the trip if you happen to be visiting, it is right between Brussels and Bruges and is therefore highly convenient for Belgium.
We left in the late afternoon, grabbed our bags and caught a train to Bruges. Bruges was quite the town, but you’ll have to wait for my next post to hear about it. Until then,
Best wishes and safe travels everyone,