Day 16 - Monday 25th November
Dry & bright start again. Off at 8.40 & out of the car park using the token we got Saturday evening when we came in. We’d paid €6 for a day’s parking but we didn’t have to pay again so the two night stay only cost €6.
It was only about forty miles up to Ghent but we stopped on the way to fill up the LPG bottle. The overnight heating & cooking takes it’s toll but it only took about 8ltrs, less than €5. We also stopped At McDs again for their toilets & wifi plus coffee, also so Viv could catch up with her Facebook dose.
We had a look at one Aire on a car park on the outskirts of Ghent but it was a bit far out, although it did have electric hook ups & drainage. Also it was €11 so we moved on to one nearer the city centre on a car park beside a large rowing lake. No facilities such as electric or water but free to use day & night. There was a bit of a gypsy look about some lorries & vans that look as if they are fairly permanent but we found a space & settled in.
After lunch we headed into the city on foot for a look round & to visit the tourist information office. It turned out to be the nicest city so far, very pretty with lots of lovely old buildings & waterways in the old section. There is a marvellous old castle right beside the tourist office & there are lots of interesting sights listed on a walking tour map that the tourist office gave us. We decided that we didn’t have enough time to go inside the castle but to do the walking instead.
There are also boat rides on the river that wiggles around but everybody we saw on them looked cold so we decided we could see more on a walking tour. One place they couldn’t see from the boats was Graffiti Alley, a small, high walled, alley absolutely covered in wall art from end to end. As luck would have it as we left the alley a small electric mini bus stopped to let a lady out. It turned out that this little vehicle is a free bus that circles around the city centre & the driver invited us to ride with around with him, which we did. Nice & cosy inside & we got a free tour of the city.
We did get off eventually beside the huge cathedral to have a look. They really seem to like really tall buildings & this one is no exception. It had a very unusual pulpit & baptismal font. There is a famous Altar decoration here but we were too late to see this as it is only on display at certain times. You weren’t supposed to take any pictures inside but as all the other tourists were snapping away on their phones I did sneak a few crafty shots.
From there we walked along the road to the Belfry Tower where I had another lonely trip to the top. Somebody else decided to sit at the bottom & wait. It proved to be the best of the three towers I have been up on this trip. It had the usual set of carillon bells that played a tune every fifteen minutes. At the top level inside the tower there was what looked like a giant music box mechanism that whirred & groaned as it turned & plucked the cords that rang the bells. There were good views of the city from the narrow balcony outside & they had a display on a lower floor of various bells.
Fortunately there was a lift going up through the floors to the top level but it was fun winding my way down inside the narrow circular stone stairways, floor by floor. Poor Viv was fed up waiting for me by the time I got back to her. That’ll teach her to drag me round the Primark store we nearly passed earlier. I had a problem there though when I went off to have a look around the Gents section only to realise eventually that GENT is actually how they spell the city name. I never did find the Men’s section.
One feature of the city was the variety of transport being used from cars, buses, boats, many many bikes & electric scooters. We’ve seen these electric scooters available for hire in several cities on our trip & they are apparently legal to use on the roads & pavements. How they manage to keep track of them is a mystery as they are simply picked up & dropped off at quite random places.
We weren’t brave enough to try the scooters but headed off in the dark, with the help of Google Maps, to find our way back to our car park for the night.
Mileage today - 40
Total mileage - 998