If it weren’t for a few Belgian couch surfers who stayed with us in Newcastle about 6 months ago I probably wouldn’t have heard of this city. It’s a little bit off the radar, not completely… But it doesn’t feature in a movie starring Colin Farrell if you catch my drift.
For the uneducated (like me) Ghent (or Gent) is a Flemish city in east Flanders. It was actually one of the largest and most wealthy cities in northern Europe during the middle ages, as a merchant port, and saw early industrialisation with the textile industry. It was bigger than London & Moscow, second only to Paris until the 13th century. Fascinating!
We’re staying a block away from the Gravensteen Castle which houses a nice collection of medieval weaponry & armour. I really liked the two-handed sword which was taller than me! You’d have to be Jean-Claude Van Damme just to wield the thing!
After a tour of the castle we jumped onto a boat to cruise around the city by canal, we’d wanted to do this in Bruges but hadn’t bothered. It was a great way to see the sites quickly and didn’t set us back too many euros.
We then agreed on a dodgy takeaway lunch of Bicky Burger & Frites (highly recommended) and walked a bit further through the city. By chance we came across FREE BEER! Yep, they were handing it out in the street… Promoting a new label or something like that. It’s hard not to love a city that dishes out free Belgian ales.
Ghent. Five stars.