Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ghent, Brussels, Bruges and more food!!

Now that I have given you all of the information I possibly can on Antwerp--or I guess, detailed all the food that I ate--I'm going to do it for every other city we visited in Belgium! Yay!! Luckily Belgium is small and has a great train system, so it's fairly easy to travel around inside the country. We spent one day in each Ghent, Brussels, and Bruges.


This was my favorite city behind Antwerp. It has a rich history but it's not over touristy like other cities in Belgium. (cough, cough, Bruges!) There is a little walk around the historical center which encompasses most of the scenic points.

This is the old Gislei Harbor, one of the most beautiful spots in the whole city. We sat here and ate lunch (tortilla bocadillos!) And it was beautiful and relaxing. Minus the fact that it was freezing cold. 

 In this picture you can see the Saint Nicholas' Church, the belfry, and the last tower (on the right) is the Saint Bavo Cathedral. This city has quite the (medieval) skyline.

This is the golden dragon from the top of the belfry tower, which is the tallest belfry in the world (almost 300 ft)!! It also has a beer named after it, which I highly recommend - Gulden Draak. Over the years the belfry has held the roles of bell tower, watch tower, and town treasury. 

On the left is the Saint Bavo Cathedral (Sint Baafskathedraal) which houses the painting Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by van Eyck. On the right is Saint Nicholas' Church (Sint-Niklaaskerk) both seen from the top of the belfry. 

One of my favorite parts of Ghent was walking around in the old neighborhoods and discovering narrow alleyways and houses with intricate architecture. 


In Brussels, I was much more worried about eating and drinking than seeing anything really important. Also it's pretty hazy because I wasn't feeling very well that day.

This is the Gallery of the Queen on the left with lots of high end shops. To the right is the main drag where everyone goes to stuff their face with mussels. 


My mussels fix, complete with a beer and french fries of course!

The Grand Place was my favorite place in Brussels. When you walk into the square it feels like you have stepped back several hundred years in time. Every building around the square is constructed with beautiful 15th century architecture, from the Town Hall to the guild houses. I wish there was a way to capture the square all the way around in one picture, but you just can't. Believe me, I tried.

On the right is Mannekin Pis, or Peeing Boy, the statue. This is supposedly one of the most disappointing tourist attractions because of its size. It can't stand over two feet tall. Even so, it's a statue of a boy peeing, and lures thousands of tourists each year. It's it's also something of a local legend because supposedly there's a fight over which town had the original, and it has also been stolen several times!

We ended the day in a tiny crêperie with the worst service and rudest waiter I've ever experienced. Pile on some Flemish versus Belgian French culture tensions and it made for quite the afternoon snack. Plus on the way to the bus station we found a statue of Don Quijote and Sancho! What are they doing in Brussels? Maybe it could have something to do with being the European capital or something like that....


The last city that we visited in Belgium was Bruges, and this time we went solo because my lovely friend has visited so many times she couldn't bear to go again! I could see why visiting too many times would get tiring; it was incredibly touristy. But I can also see why it is so touristy; it's an absolutely picturesque little city with typical 15th century architecture around every corner.

This is Ten Wijngaerde béguinage, and it is a UNESCO Heritage Site. Béguinages were created as the result of a Flemish movement from the medieval times where religious women, spinsters or widows, could live the life of a nun without actually joining the order. They didn't want to withdraw from society, so instead lived in communities like this one. Make sure to look pious when posing for pictures in the courtyard.

In the Market Square. (Markt) The one on the right is seen from the top of the belfry. 


Bruges' all famous Belfort, or belfry. (Anyone seen In Bruges?) This belfry has a 48 bell carillon and the city has a full-time carillonneur who gives free concerts all the time. Of course when we went to visit they weren't having any concerts because there was filming of some kind going on. Sad day. 

This is one of the frituurs I was talking about in my food post from Antwerp. You can see in the picture on the right the mountains of french fries that have been cooked once, but need their second dipping. On the left behind the glass are the "snacks" or anything you could think of to be fried. Also, it says on the board that tartar sauce costs €1.30. We ordered a "Bicky Burger" which is a typical Belgian burger with three different sauces and fried onions. I think my cholesterol just went up a couple of points.

 One of my favorite pictures of the day with the belfry in the background.

The way you visit Belgium- with a waffle in one hand and the camera in the other. 

I'll leave you with some Belgian advice:

No comments:

Post a Comment