order was arbitrary, but it turned out to be fortunate. We got off the train at
Gent-St. Pieters station and followed along the streetcar tracks to what we
guessed was the center of the old town. Of course, we did stop right away at
a patisserie where we enjoyed some really good hot chocolate and some very
fresh muesli bread. We continued along the way and arrived at the center of
town. It was set up for a festival!
Canals and streets of Ghent. Note the rather tasteful appearance of the McDonald’s
restaurant in the lower picture.
Penny pointed out the highlights of town because she remembered
them all from the riverboat cruise that she took in the spring with her mother.
After admiring the various markets and guild halls, we stopped in one of
them for some salami, pork, cheese, and Enaume beer. Refreshed once
again, we headed out into the streets which became more thronged by the
minute. It turned out that we had stumbled onto the annual Ghent Fair, and
we were there for the parade. There were all kinds of theater groups, dance
troupes, martial arts schools, children’s groups, etc. Marvelous! We made
our way through the crowd and headed back to the rail station on the
Outdoor cafe in Ghent, and a beer hall below
Street parade scenes in Ghent.
We then went on to Bruges, which was every bit as cute as it is
cracked up to be. Very Sausalito-like, with upscale shops selling whatnots
that nobody really needs. We bought some chocolates and we wandered the
streets. Then we stopped for a waffle and some ice cream, and actually
somehow managed not to make a big mess. We caught the bus back to
Brugge station and returned to Brussels Gare du Midi on a rather crowded
train. It was the first time on the trip that we could not sit together.
Streets and canals of Bruges, or Brugge as it is called in Flemish. Everyone seems to
have gone to Ghent for the festival!