Sunday, October 15, 2006


The family packed into the Avis rental and drove out to Ghent (known as Gent in Flemish and Gand in French), a Flemish medieval city 58 kilometres outside of Brussels. I liked Bruge. I loved Ghent. Ghent is authentic. Ghent is unpretentious. Ghent is.

Parking there is complicated. The good folks planned 2 parking circuits, a green and a yellow. Unlike Dorothy, we followed the green. After reversing out of a no car admitted zone, we finally found a parking spot. A tiny tiny parking spot. The Avis rental, an Opel, fit comfortably in. I just had to slink over to the driver side to get out.

First stop, St Baafskathedraal, where Mr. Tynan's History of Art Class came in handy. Van Eyck's masterpiece, The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, was stunning.

Another Belfort. The belfry is to Belgium what the duomo is to Italy. Hubby didn't want to haul Edouard on his shoulders for 300 odd stairs. We gawked from the central square.

A short walk later, we entered Het Gravensteen. The medieval castle complete with moat, turrets, dungeon and weapons of mass destruction (catapult, guillotine, thumb screws...Yo, Rumsfeld! Your shit is here.) was everything Edouard hoped it would be - fearsome, intimidating, dark and spooky.

Hubby and I made a mental note of the oyster bars around Groente Market (perhaps one day when we are sans les children) A walk along Graslei, a picture-perfect street lined with guildhouses overlooking the river, sealed beautiful Ghent as a must.

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