From the Netherlands, we took a train into Ghent to start our Belgium adventures. We’re using Ghent (instead of Brussels) as our home base to do numerous day trips as the location is so convenient. We also got back to having a rental car here and are so excited to drive around again!
On arriving in Ghent, we immediately fell in love with it! The city feels truly medieval in its architecture and has a stunning skyline with spires at every level. It somehow feels both cozy and lively at the same time. We were definitely happy we chose to stay here and recommend it as a base from which to explore northern Belgium.
This Belfry tower in the town center was the inspiration for the Canadian parliament buildings, and plays the fanciest tunes I’ve heard from a bell tower every hour. The neighbouring modern work was added to provide shelter from the weather during city festivals and events.
Our favourite spot was down by the canals, where people relaxed waterside or sat in cafés people-watching. The best views of the skyline are from here.
By the way, on our arrival in Ghent we once again made it for the World Cup soccer match with Belgium against the Russians. We squeezed ourselves into a bar that was overflowing with humans. Literally, people were even packing themselves into the windows from the outside.
When the Belgians scored (and eventually won), the place erupted with screams, everyone jumping and spilling beer in all directions. Video coming soon.
The city then celebrated like they’d never won anything before. Cars drove around honking, people hanging out of every window with flags. Whenever the tram/bus came by, everyone ran in front of it and banged on all the windows while the driver (note the attire) would honk along. Even the police – when they made an appearance hours later – honked and waved as they made their rounds. Whether you’re a football fan or not, the excitement is contagious and there is no better way to witness national pride!
Beer of the Day: Everyone knows Belgium is known for its beer, so why not take some time everyday to tell you about some of the unique ones we’ve tried? Belgians are particular with glassware, with every beer having its own specific glass. This is part of the fun!
Our wonderful AirBnB host Pieter took us on a fun night on the town popping into his favorite pubs and music venues as well as teaching us about the city. The standout beer to tell you about here was the Kwak, served out of this wooden contraption:
Ps. Pieter warned us that when you cheers in Belgium you have to look each other in the eye or risk being cursed with 7 years of bad sex.