En route from France to Amsterdam, and in order to have a Belgian experience, we did a quick two-night stop in Ghent.
We checked in at our hostel where we had the privilege to sleep in a 12-bed dorm and share the shower and toilets with everyone else (you can only imagine how excited I was to lose my privacy, a favorite thing of mine). Right away I claimed the bottom bunk for myself as when I was around seven-years old I fell off the top bed while on a school trip, which scared me for life.
After we secured all our items in our trusty lockers, we headed out to see the city amid the multiple, random rain showers that day. Although a bit deserted because of the weather, Ghent had a pretty cool vibe. Its medieval charm and beautiful architecture, multiple canals with cute little boats along them and an impressive castle right in the center of town gave it a genuine, European feel.
Ghent had plenty of beer stores with large windows where you could browse all the Belgian beers available, from your typical ales and darks to some pretty delicious fruity ones (cherry, peach, even coconut!). Greg was like a kid in a candy store as we made our way in and picked a beer each. I went for a Belle-vue, a girly, cherry beer; Greg’s pick was a manly Gordon Finest Platinum which happened to be 12% alcohol, no big deal. We strolled to a bench hidden from the tourist path and indulged in a good refreshment and conversation. Since drinks and food go hand in hand for us, before the day was over we indulged in some extremely tasty French Fries with what Greg described as “the best tartar sauce I have ever had”. After our “light” dinner, we strolled some more to enjoy the city at night (and to burn off the calories consumed) and then headed back for a beer at the hostel bar and then to our bunk beds, but not before we said goodnight to our 10 roommates, hurray!
Our main plan for Ghent was to walk around and experience the city, so we did just that and for our two-day stay we wandered through the charming narrow streets, across the multiple bridges, and up and down the canals. Luckily, on the second day, the sun decided to come out and enhance our Ghent experience. The one last must-do for me before leaving Ghent was to try a famous Belgian waffle. We picked a little bakery that had several people in line (always a good sign) and ordered two waffles: mine was covered in chocolate, of course; and Greg’s was the traditional plain one. I am happy to say that both were delicious and lived up to the expectation.
Definitely stop in Ghent if you are ever in Belgium. It has a cool vibe, beautiful architecture, friendly people and is well worth your time.