03 March 2013

Ghent (Gent, Gand) - Sundays in My City

Ghent is about a 2 hr drive from me. Like many Belgian cities and towns, it has derivations of its name in Flemish (Dutch) and French. Ghent is no different. Also known as Gent or Gand (in French).  In Flemish it's pronounced with a guttural "G" like you're clearing phlegm from your throat. Belgium is divided into two distinct regions: Flanders and Wallonia.  The Flemish speak Dutch and the Walloons speak French. Flanders is, in my opinion, the much nicer side of Belgium.  It's been the more prosperous of the two and has nicer architecture and better infrastructure.  It's cleaner. There's not much of a unified government in Belgium so Flanders and Wallonia operate largely separately.

Ghent is the largest city in East Flanders and is located at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys.  In the Middle Ages it was one of the largest and richest cities of northern Europe. It was occupied by the Germans during both World Wars but escaped severe destruction and was liberated by the British in 1944. Today it is a busy city with a port and a university. Its center is the largest car-free area in Belgium making it a nice place to wander even though it was quite cold and windy.

Museum of Fine Art

There was a bike race in town.
At a university coffee shop.
Belgian chocolate is world-renown. Even the tiniest shop has an amazing array of chocolates to choose from.

Palace of Justice

The Gravensteen Castle (think "Tower of London" but on a smaller scale).
The Ghent Lion
Ghent Train Station
SIDE NOTE: There was a light dusting of snow when I woke up Saturday morning. Nothing really. But when I went to the garage to leave I realized I'd left my bicycle out all night. Unlocked! And no one stole it!  When we woke up Sunday morning there was a good 6" of snow in Ghent (not a flake had fallen when we went to bed). Upon returning to the Netherlands it was clear it had snowed the whole time we were gone.
OOPS! Left it out all night!

Arriving back in the Netherlands
The back yard when I got home.
What the entrance to the construction site looked like. I had to walk with my bike most of the way down this street because it was unplowed and I fell a couple times trying to keep the bike upright.
Pushing my bike across the construction site...snow way too deep to ride.

 I hope you enjoyed the tour of Ghent.  Now take a stroll over to Unknown Mami and take tours of some other pretty incredible places.
Unknown Mami


  1. Great photos of the architecture! I especially love the door. I'm going to pin it!

  2. The architecture is amazing! Like something out of a fairytale, beautiful.

    I had to giggle at the coffee shop statue, it reminded me of two people riding a roller coaster.

    1. Tara, I think they're holding up the ceiling!

  3. Gorgeous! Thank-you for the virtual tour.

  4. What a beautiful place and such gorgeous pictures! Ah, Dorothy I don't mind a trip to that coffee shop!

    I am so tempted to write a story around that lovely "castle"!

    1. Vidya, The coffee shop was great! All fair-trade organic food and beverages. It was a great escape from a cold, windy outside! If you do write a story about the Gravensteen please let me know!

  5. I want some of that chocolate!

    I LOVE the look of old European cities on canals. We do have some canals in some of our American cities (like in Florida) but it just isn't the same. We don't have all the old buildings right on the canals.

    Love the bicycle sculpture, at least I presume it is a sculpture.

  6. Chocolates!!!! They made my mouth water


  7. Lovely! My sister spent a summer in Belgium many years ago. Thanks for the virtual tour of a lovely place.

  8. Those castle shots are gorgeous! And I love the colorful bikes.

    Have a great week!

  9. Just beautiful - make me want to plan a trip there! And your frost shots on this previous post are lovely as well.

  10. How nice to accidentally leave your bike all night and have it still be there the next morning. Mine would be gone in 5 minutes if I left it out.

  11. These are really wonderful! I looks like an amazing place, especially if one likes old architecture and art of all sorts and I certainly do.

  12. First I have to say. . . Oh! Belgian chocolate! Yummy! Second I will say - your photos are just wonderful and third: my oldest son is going to a college in Kansas - we are in South Carolina and I thought he was far from home but really are far from home. :) stay warm and have fun!

  13. Ghent looks absolutely beautiful! As does the snow when you got home - although I wouldn't to have to ride my bike in it.