A Quick Trip to Ghent - Orlando / Florida Guide
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Ghent is in the Flemish part of Belgium. Flemish is more closely related to the Dutch language and Belgian’s northern neighbours, The Netherlands, than it is to the French Capital of Brussels.
Many people don’t know that there are in fact three distinct parts of Belgium: the Flemish province in the North, the French in the Centre, and a small German province in the East.
Despite language and cultural differences, Belgians pride themselves on their open, cooperative natures. This means, of course, that the people are some of the friendliest you will ever meet.
You can go from the Brussels Zuid station to St. Peters Station in Ghent for only 7 euros, and this takes just over an hour.
Everywhere you go there is a pervading sense of calmness. During the evening with a light smattering of tourists basking with me in the glow of the numerous canals lit by lamplight, you don’t feel alone.
We stumbled into a small crowded gazing at the Gravensteen, an impressive Medieval Castle modelled after one made in Syria in the 12th century.
People in Ghent are incredibly friendly, and speak a ridiculous amount of English. Where in other places you might feel a bit out of place going up to a counter with a “do you speak English? ” Ghentians are more than okay with a jovial “hello! ” and often offer it up themselves first.
The beautiful canals and gothic style architecture collude to make this an incredibly attractive tourist destination. We spent the majority of our time strolling up and along the harbour, admiring the old buildings, visiting old refurbished meat and fish markets, as well as climbing the 390 stairs of the Belfry to look at the beautiful old St. Niklaas cathedral.
Try snacking on regional raspberry candy called Cuberdons, there is also some good vegetarian food as Ghent boasts the most vegetarians per capita in Europe.
Th next day we went to an old market turned upscale shopping centre called De Post, lunched on artisan Pizza at Ottomat, and repeatedly stared at Wasbar, a brunch place where you can actually do your laundry while you eat.
And as far as Western Europe goes, I can say that there will be no better surprise for you than the low key magic of Ghent.
The best seasons to visit Ghent are early summer to early fall, as temperatures can get quite cold in the wintertime and it can be rainy in the spring.
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