After the first day in Ghent I had not had my fill of old architecture but I’d seen enough to be able to look at other things.
There are tons of old churches: all beautiful. There is a hall built by louis the 5th (big, pretty, lots of gold. king stuff). With my wonderful and enlightening new couchsurfer friend I got to see a few less well trodden sights around the city and eat the best chocolate spread for brunch. Also vraai which i will come to last.
One thing I had to do in Ghent was to see the famous painting “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb”. So i saw it. was a’ight. Sorry Hubert van Eyck fans. I payed 4 euros to see this sacrificial lamb which was quite small, but the focal point of (once 12) 8 panels of an alter. The lamb doesn’t like paparazzi so, you know, google.
My wonderful dose of sincere sarcasm, Ben showed me where graffiti alley is. the only place where you’re “allowed” to spray paint walls in Ghent.
We also came across some other art. the middle one is part of a wall dedicated to cycling.
So Vraai. A cake, something closely related may be pumpkin pie. Take you some gingerbread and some speculoos cookies. Mush those together with milk and cook slightly. mix in eggs and cornstarch pour into your cake pan and bake and BAM. desert. mhm. Lastly, Ghent gets even nicer lookin’ at night.
I don’t even know where to start with this city. Really. It was a snap getting from the train station to the info centre which was the only priority i had when i got here. Find a map. try to figure out where on earth to go. As always, it’s best to walk in circles when first arriving somewhere new-at least this seems to be my chosen method. this time, however I walked in a large circle with purpose! after i begged the tourist info lady for suggestions she handed me a map of a route to walk through the old centre “the bowl” she called it. I had a whole day to kill lugging my delightfully not light backpack around so my plan consisted of walk this walk as slowly as possible. I don’t have anything to compare it to but i spent extra time resting, I mean “admiring” the city along the way.
First there was the Gravensteen “Castle of the Counts”. yeah right? so I figure that covers castles for a bit
Inside was pretty sparse; a few weapons, suits of armour and torture instruments on display. guillatines, the usual. I was pretty impressed by the guns they had on display. Definitely pieces of art-don’t want to kill animals or things with weapons not fit for a gentlemen right?
After that short detour I walked towards St Michael’s church. Looked out over this
And walked into the church where I was encouraged to take pictures-if i wanted! I’m not a fan of church’s or photos but the beauty of this church, the organ music playing quietly in the background; if that’s what religion revolved around, just beautiful things filling your eyes and ears, I could get on that wagon.
After St Michaels I walked past this amazing hair choice
And heard the sound of a some slide guitar. Bam. beelined towards that and listened to some amazing blues and rock (a bit of stairway to heaven, of course) for a couple hours drinking cheap beer on the sidewalk with some other listeners. finished my walk and only got mildly lost. hmm starting to sound like my new catch-phrase there.
I’m on a small farm just an hour out of brussels for until friday. So far I’ve gotten to weed and hoe and…wash dishes. but this is only day 1. And by the way, I think i did a fairly bang up job. I may have a natural affinity for hoeing.
for two days here i’m the only volunteer worker then (pft) two Canadians are supposed to get here on monday. we’re like the plague or a unwanted affection, just unnavoidable.
Until the politeness around here triples i’m camping solo…but not. The set is a yurt a hundred feet from the house so when i’m in the yurt I’m doing camping ish things like listening to music, reading, drinking beer, typing on this iphone…and playing a little classical guitar i found in the corner (happydays, thankyoujesus). and trying to get the goddamn fire to burn and not die out.
Yay camping! when I’m not in the yurt doing yurty things I’m inside trying to make myself look like a person people want to host for couch surfing (takes much time) and sometimes i talk to Kristine who’s hosting me here. So far I can tell I like her husband Dirk even though he mostly speaks flemish he talks (raves) about people a lot and throws in the occasional swear word. tis good. as far as i can surmise. They have a son who is 17. enough said?
I’m a little worried that no one is petting the cat, Boris, but me. either he’s starved for attention or a complete suck. one can never tell with felines.
Here’s the important stuff: not all beer is great here-I know. It’s mad. But don’t let that stop you from trying to find delicious stuff. Also, hops are on par with the other ingredients not elevated to some celestial throne this allows the Belgium beers more complexity and for me a much better balance of sweet/bitter.
The above beer was really nice and only an 8 percent.
I went out with some cool people after Brugge( you can see Zoë and Marko’s hat in the middle photo). Any fan of stouts is a winner in my books!
So this. It’s in a tiny pop cap bottle. Cutest beer ever. And no, that is not too much head. Stop it. Anyway, I’ve basically had to question my entire beer pouring philosophy but the Flemish man said that’s how it’s done.
Brugge was one of the top centres for commerce until the 14th century, around which point a change in the coastline caused the main canal to fill with silt leading to a swift decline in the prosperous city. Yay for us; we are left with a city that shot forward in time and held onto its narrow cobbled streets and gothic and baroque buildings. I took a city tour (with PJ!) hence the semi-knowledgable building banter.
One of our first stops was a chocolate shop with a corner full of product set up to appeal to many. Everyone in our group bought something. Well, I’m boring so i only bought a praline truffle.
Afterwards we did a lot of walking beside old buildings, through church squares and stopped to learn how the ruler of the doutchy of Brugge got the nickname Iron-arm
Deal is: this duke guy was in love with a french (kings..?) daughter and they ran away together and sought to be married by the pope which they were (yay). One day while on a romantic picnic a bear came out of the woods and mr duke throws his princess into the bushes away from the bear and proceeds to rustle the bear. Man and bear tussle and as the bear leans back to pummel the duke the duke, using one throw spears the giant bear against a tree killing it. Bam. Hence Brugge’s hero and why we see random bear statues over Brugge and why Brugge has a bear on its coat of arms. Here’s our tour guide PJ being the bear on the coat of arms
After a beer break the last part of the tour took us through lovers lake. Swans everywhere, it must be romance.
Here’s the deal: Beer, Chocolate, Waffels, more beer, beautiful architecture, new earings?
I’m a bit of a fan and I still haven’t tried the chocolate. reason? there is a chocolate shop on every street, chocolate is everywhere. it’s just a bit duanting. Instead of eating chocolate all day I woke up early do do laundry with my new ausie buddies and go on a walking tour of the city. I almost feel too knowledgable now, we walked a lot. this is another moment where I feel I owe you more photos but sometimes you can tell a picture is just too inadequate to cover the scene. So here are some pieces from our tour
A few Space Invaders art pieces from a unknown artist
PJ: our hilarious tour guide who limped all around with us for 2 hours with a broken toe. Total history nerd with a cheesy personality- one of my favourite parts of the afternoon. And of course, obligatory brussels photo-op with this classy guy