The rival of Brugge

Just halfway between Brussels and Brugge, there is a city with a marvelous cityscape and canals, in some areas very similar to the ones in Brugge. The city itself seems a bit larger than Brugge, after all, it is the capital of the East Flanders province: Gent.
Gent is merely 56 kilometers away from Brussels, an easy ride by car, we were there in less than an hour. The city is very accessible by car, just follow the E40, then the signs into the city center. Pretty soon one can discover the signs marking the directions to the nearest parking areas. There are several parking places in the city, (and are really close to the city center) which are advised to be used, because there are a lot of pedestrian-areas which make driving around in Gent pretty difficult. The actual parking fee can be checked out on this website.

The picturesque cityscape of Gent is marked by its three huge towers dominating the central area: the tower of St. Nicolas’ Church, the Belfry and the Saint Bavo’s Cathedral. St. Nicolas’ Church, though not very fancy, it is still is very imposing both from the inside and the outside. The Belfry is interesting because it has a whole museum inside, telling the story of the Belfry and of the bells used in it. The museum itself is arranged on different levels inside the Belfry, in the end leading up to the top of the Belfry, where a splendid view awaits the curious tourist. The entry ticket into the museum of the Belfry is €3.00 which is I think a bargain… About Saint Bavo’s Cathedral: it is very imposing from the inside also. It houses some great paintings of some of the most famous painters in the area. Sadly it is forbidden to take photographs, so I could not take any.

Before someone embarks on a pointless exploration of the city: ask for a city map in the information office (under the Belfry). The walking-tour guide-maps are quite useful, because they show a pretty logical route in which to explore the city, with most of the highlights being touched by it.

A little bit further away from the city center, just as one crosses the canal towards the west, lies the medieval Castle of the Counts. It is rare by the simple fact, that the entire fortress is in the heart of the city. Entry fee here is €8.00 per person. Another interesting thing, close to the fortress is the Great Butcher’s Hall, a very nice restaurant serving of course mostly meat. Oh and one more interesting thing close in the area: Gent has it’s very own Manneke Pis, it is not easy to spot, but there is one 🙂 .

I have uploaded some of my pictures to my Picasa Account.

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