The city of Ghent, Belgium confuses me. Why? Because I’m not too sure the spelling of the city as a whole. From Google maps to local signs, it seems like everyone spells it differently. But what this city doesn’t confuse me on is my new found and deep love for it! Going into our time here I had zero expectations for it. I figured that it would be cute and a little bit slower paced compared to Brussels but as of today, it is my most favorite city in Europe!
Our commute to Ghent started off with gray skies that threatened to pour on us at any moment but by the time we got off of our train the sky was blue, no matter what direction you looked. My heart loved how everything looked, felt and smelled- but my stomach kept reminded me of its existence. So we walked to an address that I had previously found on the interwebs. We ordered breakfast sandwiches and french toast….but quickly found out that because of the language barrier (English to French) we had actually ordered some type of scone with berries and whip on top. It was a nice comedic moment for us that truly set the tone for the rest of the day.
But speaking of my Googling, I did have one main location that I wanted to visit while in Ghent and that was it’s well preserved Medieval Castle built in 1180 called The Gravensteen which offers its visitors panoramic views of the city. After brunch we set off in the direction of the Castle which took us over canals, through graffiti alleys, around modern architecture and cathedrals.
We walked over canals, smelled more chocolate in the air, sampled Gent’s famous candy called the Nose of Gent, heard church bells tolling and then we came upon our destination! With 10 euro each, we were able to climb up and explore every part of the castle. There were suits of armor, weapons of old, tales of torture, enough stained glass that my mom would melt over, winding spiral staircases and then the best view in the city. Aka cue the view!
Once we were back on the ground I knew what I wanted to do next and ironically it couldn’t take place on the ground but on the water. We found a canal touring company, tucked into our spot on the boat and saw another view of this lovely city. I highly recommend seeing any European city from this viewpoint but don’t get offended if you’re the only one of the three people proudly showing off your single language skills to your tour guide.
From weeping willows along the riverside to locals drinking wine and feeding pieces of baguettes off of their dinner plates to ducks, the lifestyle here in Ghent will truly leave you inspired, have you reevaluate how you spend your leisure time and make you want to find more joy in the simple things in life. To celebrate the ending of our day in Ghent and to start living out their way of life, we bought two decked out waffles and sat along another beautiful canal to enjoy the nightlife springing up around us.
Thank you all for sharing in my Ghent tales and support my love of travel! It truly is as they say “the only purchase we can make that makes us richer.” So to further enrich you here on the blog, next week I will be sharing Brugge, Belgium! Please stay tuned and if you would like email updates of new posts, please subscribe below!