A May 2000 trip
to Ghent by Re Carroll
Quote: Ghent is half way between Brussels and Bruges and seems to be overlooked in favour of those cities. It might not be as cosmopolitan as Brussels or have the quaintness of Bruges but it is worth at least a day trip to sample its charm and visit the historical sights.
Another magnificent piece is the white marble and oak pulpit. There are numerous sculptures and paintings,including a Rubens as well as mausoleums of the past bishops of Ghent (buried in the floor) dating from the 1600s. Many stained glass windows enhance the beauty of the interior.
I enjoy architecture and Ghent had its share of interesting buildings, including St. Pietersstation train station with its tall clock tower and the 12th century guild houses on Graslei.
Stores have similar items to Bruges and Brussels, including lots of lace to choose from and the prices are less.
Restaurant | "The Neptune Tavern & Restaurant"
Luckily, just across from the Castle was a square called Veerleplein that had a couple of small restaurants. I chose the Neptune because its wooden trim and leaded glass windows looked warm and welcoming.
Inside it was just as cozy since it is actually an old house that has been converted to a restaurant. Linen tableclothes, candles, fresh flowers, heavy silver cutlery and crystal wine glasses made me wonder if it would be out of my budget but the lunch menu was surprisingly affordable. It was only 11:30 and it looked like they had just opened so it meant that I got very attentive service.
I started with gluewein, a hot mulled red wine flavored with cinnamon and lemon and the combination of spices helped to soothe my sore throat and put me in a much better frame of mind.
It was asparagus season and the daily special was an asparagus and crab omelette. Also on the menu were Belgian specialities like steamed mussels and waterzooi, a rich, creamy stew. Since I wasn't feeling great, I opted for a tureen of hot, cream of asparagus soup. It was accompanied by a basket of bread and rolls.
A small piece of moist, apple gingerbread was just what I needed to finish the meal and I was very surprised when the total bill came to under $9.00.
This is a very nice restaurant and a place that makes you want to linger over your meal. By the time I left, the restaurant was filling up and I think reservations would be needed for supper.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 20, 2000
The Neptune Tavern & Restaurant
Attraction | "The Belfry & Cloth Hall"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 20, 2000
Belfort of Ghent
Attraction | "Het Gravensteen (Castle of the Counts)"
Gravensteen (Castle of the Counts of Flanders)
Make sure to take some photos of the guild houses along Graslei. The houses date from the 12th to 17th century and have plaques or signs denoting the type of guild.
The cruise makes a relaxing addition to sighsteeing in Ghent.
Abbotsford, British Columbia