Thursday, 6 May 2010

Stop 1 : Ghent, Belgium - dead town

Here is a journal of our 10 day journey across western Europe. We took a Eurostar train from London St. Pancras to Brussels on the 23rd April. Thank goodness that we've book our train before the volcanic ash disrupt much of the airlines schedule and causing Eurostar to earn extra ££ and their tickets sold like hot cakes.

We arrive in Brussels Midi/Zuid station at about 8p.m, took our rental car (which turn up to be a Mercedez class-C instead of a small car), and drive to Ghent, the stop for the night.

I tell you that it's a very wrong decision to drive in Brussels! It's worst than driving in Jakarta... first because no one obeyed the rule (which we read prior to driving there), and second... because the manual car has the seat and the gear on the different side than in UK... that's right, we are driving on the "wrong" (I mean right) side of the road. Fortunately, even with double misery... the Lord has took us savely out of Brussels. Not long after that, we arrive in Ghent - which look like a dead town to me.

How can there be no people at aroun 9p.m in town centre?

But I learn that this is a good thing. The town was fairly queit, with few dozen people crowding 3-4 corner of the pubs along the bridge. The sun set fast, and soon the city was covered in blue colour, the wing stop blowing, and behold... the dead town became the most beautiful town I had ever seen.
The Graslei is one of the most scenic places in Ghent's old city centre. The bridge where this picture is taken is the Sint-Michielsbrug.
Can you see the tiny dot on the right is the moon?
Much of the city's medieval architecture remains intact and is remarkably well preserved and restored. Its centre is the largest carfree area in Belgium. Interesting highlights are the Saint Bavo Cathedral with the Ghent Altarpiece, the belfry, the Gravensteen castle, and the splendid architecture along the old Graslei harbour. Ghent established a nice blend between comfort of living and history – it is not a city-museum. The city of Ghent houses also three b├ęguinages and numerous churches, among which the Saint-James' church, the Saint-Nicolas' church and the Saint Michael's church are the most beautiful examples.

On the next day (which is saturday) things improved slightly...
You can see some people emerging as the day goes by. Here is we experiencing a little bit of Vridajmarkrt, or Friday Market (which held on weekend).
And look what I've found!
I remembered during my childhood (in the 80s) there is hardly any good children books in indonesia. So, the government decide to translate a lot of foreign language books (mainly in Dutch, from Netherlands or Belgium possibly) and bring it over to our country. And these books had been one of my favorite. I collect tons of them in my house back home.

After seeing Ghent at daytime, I must say I prefer night time better!
In Ghent I also tried my first panekokken (pancake) with sugar and chocolate...but unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it. Let it tell you that Belgium Chocolate is my new best friend.

Stay : 1 night
Hotel : Hotel Cathedral,


AG said...

Aaaa!!! The dress!!!! hihihihihihi.. :p jadi terkenang masa dulu. Kalo kita pake b2, dikira SPG ga ya? hahahaha

Cath J said...

Beautiful photos... and beautiful you... Happy Mothers day... ^_^ (Opss... its mothers day here in my country... may be not in your place... anyway you deserved the wish.. ^_^)

Stardust said...

Woah, that was such an adventure. Trust you to drive to a foreign place, brave! Glad that you're rewarded with all those picturesque landmark to photograph, love your images! Yes I spotted the moon!