Friday, 23 October 2015

The Ghent Post

Antwerp, Brussels, Bruges, move over!

I decided to take my mum on a little trip to the continent for her birthday this year and having seen many a pretty photo of Ghent I decided it was time to get up close and personal with the Guardian's top 10 alternative city break destination.
Ghent's actually a lot bigger than I was expecting and definitely bigger than the more popular, or more commonly visited, city of Bruges, which means its ideal for a two day trip. We had the best weather on Sunday and, after arriving at about 9:30am, spent hours wandering around and taking in some of the cities sights. It turns out that a number of the streets play host to a market/street boot fair on Sundays so we took a look at some of the tat and treasure on offer, turns out treasure at those markets was like the ultimate vintage haven with fur coats, vintage leather satchels and stag heads galore!
There are tonnes of pretty squares in Ghent, one of which just happens to have a castle. Not exactly where you expect to see a castle but pretty impressive.
The one thing I will say about Ghent is that food is pricey! I've been to Venice, Reykjavik and Dublin in the last year or so which I was told to expect to be expensive to eat and drink out but never found any of them to be more than UK prices, Ghent however is probably the priciest place for food I've been to to date. You're looking at about 20 euros for a lasagne and that's without drinks.
Needless to say there are cheaper options around and obviously restaurants away from the tourist squares are always a better deal.
MummyB tucking into waffles
Food aside, entrance to some of the cities attractions is averagely priced and there are quite a few places to visit such as Castle of the Counts, the Belfry, the cathedral, Rabot and loads of grand churches and abbeys. The great thing about Ghent is that you don't really have to look very hard for these sights as just wondering around you'll stumble upon them quite easily.
We were lucky that on the first evening there was a bit of a street festival on between Oudburg and Sleepstraat. This street is often referred to as the more colourful side of the city and features a plethora of exotic restaurants, which seem to be cheaper than those in the squares. The street was filled with good music, headed up by a dj in a burnt out caravan, and loads of pop up cocktail bars with cocktails on sale at about 4 euros a go. We grabbed a few of these and took them down to the canal to drink on the waters edge to catch the last few rays of sunshine.
Essentially we spent two days eating waffles and exploring this pretty city and discovering some of it's lesser known gems, which is far from the worst way to spend a weekend!
Ghent is great when you can be outdoors drinking Belgian beer so it makes for a great a summer break but it would be equally as good to see all that stunning architecture lit up with the glow of Christmas market lights, so basically I would go anytime of year.
A lot of close-to-home city breaks often become a 'got the tshirt' kind of place that you never go back to once you've ticked it off. Not Ghent. It's on the Guardian's top 10 list for good reason and I, for one, will definitely be going back asap.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting! I read all comments and will reply as soon as I can so make sure you check back :)