Easter break: Flemish capitals of Ghent & Bruges

29 March, Friday. Ghent.

We left the hostel at Brussels at 10am check-out time. Next city on our list is Bruges where we’ll be staying for a night. Convinced the others to stop by Ghent since we’ll be passing it on the way to Bruges. I was thinking there’s room to squeeze in Ghent since my train and their bus (2 of us travel by train while the rest by bus) leaving for Amsterdam the following day, Saturday, doesn’t leave til 4:30pm. Ergo we’d have two days of Bruges and a two-hour or so layover in Ghent wouldn’t hurt. 🙂

  

Ghent is a 30-minute train ride from Brussels. We arrived at noon. Took a tram going to the city center where we come across a castle.

Gravensteen Castle it’s called. We paid 4€ for the entrance.

And basked in the lovely view from the top.

 

We explored the rooms in the castle. There is a room where artillery used at the time is displayed. Another room showcases  torture devices. Things that were placed at the neck, feet etc. Ugh. The horrors of it.

Plus this executioner of a machine.

 

It was pleasant to walk around Ghent. Here is a street vendor selling a local delicacy called noses. It is a cone-shaped purple candy with a jelly filling. The vendor gave us a free sample. I loved it! I’m sure I’ve tasted a candy with a similar taste but couldn’t put my finger exactly what it is. Some kind of berry I suppose.

 

This is the Stadshal, the newest structure to officially open in the historic center. Can’t think of what use this roof structure is for. Or maybe it was erected just for art’s sake. You know, an art can be controversial just like the flak Stadshal has been garnering. Apparently Gentenaars didn’t exactly receive it with open arms, might need some getting used to.

 

 

The Canalside Flemish Architecture by the St. Michael’s Bridge is one for the postcards! Fellow Flemish city Bruges share the same look.

There were three churches which were spaced near each other. The St. Nicholas Church was closed as well as the St. Michael’s Church, the bridge’s namesake. We were only able to go in St. Bavo’s Cathedral where a precious painting called Adoration of the Mystic Lamb is being kept. There was a fee to see the painting so we just wandered inside the Cathedral which was an art on it’s own with its baroque high altar and ornate decoration.

Ghent is a compact city and one can easily go from one attraction to another on foot. Glad we made the stop. We were back to the Gent-Sint-Pieters station at 4:30pm, got our things by the manned luggage office and off to Bruges, or rather Lissewege, two more stops by train from Bruges where we’ll be staying the night.

 

We arrived before 6pm in our lodging for the night at Lissewege, a village outside the city center of Bruges. Our reservation was for 2 big rooms. The one on the 2nd floor is a normal room but the other room on the 3rd floor is a BIG room complete with a TV, kitchen, dining area, toilet & bath. More than a room it’s a mini apartment already.

This was my first time to make reservations with Airbnb and it went well. I would actually prefer doing that from now on. 🙂

From Lissewege we need to take either a bus or the train going to the city center.

First photo in Brugges!

 

30 March, Saturday. Bruges.

We went for a canal cruise the following day. It was 7.20€ per person.

I definitely recommend going on a canal cruise in Bruges. It’s a terrific way to take in the sights of the city. There’s a reason it’s called the “Venice of the North.”

I love the movie In Bruges and I was trying to recollect what particular scene in the movie we might be passing along. Couldn’t remember well and the cold wasn’t helping either. The only thing I remember is a tower, a tourist attraction, from the scene where Colin Farrell insults a fat guy who wants to climb it.

This photo of me made me remember that there was a scene shot here. Don’t remember though what it was exactly but it gave me a déjà vu from the movie.

 

Ghent and Bruges, two medieval jewels in the Flemish region of Belgium. Both cities are charming, straight out of a postcard. Pick the postcard city of your choice. 🙂

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