Year 6: Pole To Pole travel blog

This Is The View From Our Hotel Window In Ghent, Not Far...

Anil Is Becoming More And More Observant, He Pointed Out The Giraffes...

This City Hero Is Pointing To England, He Managed To Stop The...

Throughout Our Stay We Seemed To Mix Modern And Medieval, There's Little...

The Walls Of The Alley Were Very Close So It Was Hard...

This Face Was Way More Appealing, Though There Is Something About That...

I Studied Textiles At University So I Was Keen To Visit This...

It Would Have Been Better To Visit On A Day When The...

We Were Out Early To Take In The Sunday Morning Flower Market...

We Learned That The Locals Stop For Coffee Before Shopping For Flowers

It's The End Of September So I Was Surprised To See One...

There Were Loads Of Fascinating Plants But I Don't Ever Remember Seeing...

These Were Beautiful Too, I've Always Loved White And Yellow Flowers

When The Locals Are Finished, It's Tradition To Stop For A Glass...

And Oddly Enough, Oysters Washed Down With A Second Glass Of Wine

We Skipped The Wine, It's Wasn't Even Noon Yet, And Walked By...

This Group Of Rowers Were Out Training, However Did That Graffiti Escape...

We Continued Along The Canal To St. Peter's Abbey, The Spot Where...

There Is Now A Magnificent Cathedral To Visit As Well As The...

We Were Given A Video Guide That Featured A Virtual Monk To...

High Above The Cathedral Floor, Just Under The Pipe Organ, We Saw...

The Incredible Painted Ceiling Of The Abbey's Refectory Is Being Meticulously Restored

Here's A Closer Look At The Intricate Paintings On The Slats Of...

After Touring The Abbey We Enjoyed A Few Moments In The Sunny...

Next Was A Visit To The Museum Of Fine Arts, This Work...

Another By Pieter II Brueghel - Wedding Dance In The Open Air

There Was A Masterpiece By Rubens, But I Liked This Winter Scene...

After A Rest In The Afternoon, We Returned To The Historical Center...

It Was Quiet This Sunday Evening, But There Was Evidence Everywhere Of...

The Buildings Along The 'Graslei' Look Medieval, But Were Largely Rebuilt For...

As I Said, There Was Plenty Of Evidence Of The Partying From...

We Decided To Return To A Turkish Restaurant To Try Some More...

The Food Was Amazing, As Good As It Looks, We Love Middle...

By The Time We Were Done, The Moon Had Risen And The...

We Saved Some Of The Best Sights For Our Last Day, This...

Inside Is A Lovely Museum Displaying The Old Dragon Weathervane And Many...

Ghent In All Directions, Here's St. Baafs Cathedral Where We Saw The...

I Find The Varied Rooftops Almost As Interesting As The Religious Monuments

We're Off To Berlin, Our Three Weeks Of Glorious Sunshine May Be...


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BACKGROUND

In medieval times, the town of Ghent was the home of the counts of Flanders, where cloth was produced in such abundance that it grew to be Europe’s third largest city after Paris and Constantinople. However, those selfsame townsfolk weren’t keen to pay the heavy taxes imposed on them by the Emperor Charles V, despite the fact that he was born in Ghent. They objected to funding his military battles against the French, and were punished and humiliated for their disloyalty.

The cotton and flax mills were the first in the region to embrace the Industrial Revolution and Ghent rivaled Manchester in textile production. The civil disobedience and armed battles by the workers drove business to Antwerp, and the lowlands fell into a long slow decline. Nowadays, Ghent is known as the most popular university town in Flanders, and the students provide a lively balance to offset the focus on major business.

There in an ongoing struggle for the hearts and minds of the few tourists who venture here; which town, Ghent of Bruges, has the most endearing medieval centers and picturesque canals?

KAPOORS ON THE ROAD

After a wonderful visit to Bruges, we weren’t at all sure what we were in for with three nights in Ghent so soon afterwards. We had fallen in love with Bruges and couldn’t imagine that there was another city that could complete with its medieval charms. Ghent is much larger than Bruges, gets fewer tourists and presents a far more industrial face to the world.

There’s not much to report other than the fact that we took the advice of the Lonely Planet and purchased Museum Passes for € 20 each and made excellent use of them. All of the major sights in Ghent are covered by the pass as well as transportation on the trams and buses. They are valid for three days, and we had three days to visit.

We had to do a little planning because the museums are closed on Mondays, so we made sure to see the ones we wanted and kept other sights for our last day, Monday. We really appreciated the transit portion of the pass, because when we got tired in the afternoons, we would slip back to our hotel for a cup of tea and a rest, and then head back to the center at dusk.

There certainly is a different kind of energy in Ghent and much of it stems from the business focus; this is a working city after all. One gets a strong sense of the importance of the arts and the student vibe cannot be denied. Which city has the lovelier canals? In our opinion, Bruges wins hands down.

We discussed the matter a lot over the course of our three days here, and we came to the conclusion that young people would probably like the vitality of Ghent, while older folk would love the quiet, contemplative atmosphere of Bruges. Keep in mind though; we visited in late September and not in the height of the summer tourist season.

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