All the way back in 2014 when we were in Bruges with my family, we decided to take a little day trip. We went back and forth on where we should go and finally decided on Gent, a town twenty minutes away. My father had read in a guide book that Gent was the undiscovered gem of Belgium, full of quirky bars and picturesque views.
When we first arrived in Gent, we were unsure whether my dad had read about the right place in this so called guide book. At first glance all we saw were office buildings and parking garages, nothing picturesque.
In the distance we noticed a bell tower- so we headed towards it figuring it must lead us to these “picturesque views” or at the very least a quirky bar (yes, it was 9am- stop judging). We were correct, we stumbled upon streets lined with cafes and cute shops. As we kept walking we were lead into the more historic part of the city, and we began to see it’s charm (although it’s still funny to tease my dad about the time he was conned by a guide book).
Little did we know that Gent is actually the second biggest city in Belgium and has been around since the Middle Ages. The town lies along a river and is the third biggest port in Belgium. There are several tourists spots to see: the Saint Bavo Cathedral, the belfry (like the one in Bruges you can pay to go to the top), and the Gravensteen castle.
A lot of the mediaeval architecture has remained in tact and well preserved. Although it has the similar architecture as Bruges, it has more of a modern, lived-in feel and less of that of a storybook. Apparently the aforementioned guide book referred to it as “gritty.” I could see that. It’s more of a city and less of a tourist destination. Most signs and menus are in Dutch but luckily we were able to order our gingerbread lattes without a problem. P.S. Gent must be important because they have their own Starbucks mug- which we bought.
Here are some snapshots of our time in the booming metropolis that is Gent. Enjoy 🙂
Linking up with Compass Rose for Travel Tuesday