Ghent Stories and Tips

A Love Affair With A City

Korenlei and Graslei Photo, Ghent, Belgium

I'm normally not this much of a perfectionist, but I feel that I have left much undone in my writing about Ghent. I can understand my love of Edinburgh and Nürnberg. I have spent much time in Edinburgh and I lived in Nürnberg for three years. I wish I could live in both of those cities for a couple of years each. I love Scottish history and I was able to see Nürnberg "rise from the ashes," so to speak. Ghent is different. I spent a couple of days there twice in the 1960's, seven days in 2005 (Ghent was my "base city" for Belgium), and a couple of days in 2011. I have not spent much time there at all.

I remember liking Belgium in the 60's. I liked everyplace new in the 60's. I especially liked the beer, wine, and girls (not necessarily in that order). There are a number of stories from that period that are better left untold, but I do have those memories and they are good memories (mostly). On my first visit to Belgium I traveled with a couple of buddies from the US Army and the second time with some German University students that I had met. Oddly enough, the subjects of those trips were the same. How about that?

Five or six years ago I was in Ghent for seven nights using the city as my base to visit Brussels, Bruges, and Antwerp as well as my base city. Ghent is central to those cities and I was able to stay in one spot. At the time, it cost €4.00 for a "senior" to travel anywhere in Belgium and back on the same day (this year it is €5.20, still a bargain). During those seven days I spent most of my nights in Ghent wandering the streets without a working camera. Perhaps having a camera stolen was a blessing because I was able to see the city at night without looking through the viewfinder. During the day I used a rented camera that had to be returned before 6:00 PM each evening. Consequently, I had to return each evening and saw none of the other three cities at night. If I had, I might still be there. As it turned out, I "saw" Ghent and enjoyed every minute of my time there.

Moving forward to 2011, I returned for just a short visit because I had a rail pass and a few extra days before I needed to be in Berlin. It was a long train ride from Nürnberg, Germany, but it was well worth it. Of course, with me, nothing ever goes perfectly. I was unable to get my new tripod into my pack so I planned to purchase a cheap one in Poland thinking that it would be less expensive there. Nope. I looked for a bargain tripod in every city and they were all too expensive (much more than in the US). So, as a result, every photo that I took on the trip to twelve cities was hand-held. Obviously, I had a few bad ones - like about 700! I did get some good ones though, and they'll be here in numbers. I am taking the time to ID each image with the city name (Ghent) and what I think it is. I'm not certain about a few of them.

For the photographer that lurks in all of us travelers, I'll include some information that I found to be kind of unique to Ghent. I'll also try to include some helpful information for all tourist groups, based on conversations I had with the different groups while I was there and from others I met in Berlin and Warsaw. I'll include hostelers, backpackers, young romantics, 2nd honeymooners, singles, couples, geezers (like me), tourists, and seasoned travelers (I talk to everyone I meet). I will not write anything negative because I found nothing negative. I won't write about first class travel because I have never done it and talked to very few who have. They tend to be in the more exclusive restaurants and hotels of which I have absolutely no experience (I still choose my hostels partially based on price and recommendation of other travelers). I hope that you will find the writing and information interesting and of value.

Note: I have tried to identify the photos as inconspicuously as possible on the lower part of the image, but it will probably be necessary to view them in "Full" mode to see the ID.

Been to this destination?

Share Your Story or Tip