I hoped for a “wow” effect when we were in Paris. I wasn’t expecting much and even though… Well, you can read about that here. But! Ghent was amazing, beautiful city and I loved it there and I definitely wanna go back one day.
It took about 4 hours to get from Paris to Ghent. We bought bus tickets with Eurolines. When we finally got there we were unfortunate and found the toilets at the train station Dampoort were closed on Sunday. On the other hand, the Bed&Breakfast (Vlaanderenstraat street) we stayed in was close.
We spend just a day and a half in Ghent but we saw almost all the important buildings (from outside). Like chocolate shops, chips shops, pubs, bookshops, … Our first dinner in Ghent was a huge portion of chips (fries), a fish burger and a frikandel – a soft sausage, 2 Cokes and a tartar sauce. For all of that we paid 10 euros! It was like nothing after our Paris experience. Would you like to have what we had? Go to Frikatuur on Kortedagsteeg street. You’ll love it.
Chips are a local treasure. It’s said Belgians love their chips so much they tried to put it on the UNESCO list. Nevertheless, don’t order French fries. According to the locals, they’re not French at all. How did that name originate? At the end of the World War II, American soldiers received a cone of chips in the southern part of Belgium – Wallonia. And those people speak French. Belgians are hypersensitive about their fries, so be aware of that!
On the next day, another free tour! First, we had a very nice breakfast and a very nice view as the B&B was situated in the city center. Our guide, Fabi, was great. He showed us around the city centre and gave helpful tips. He was from Spain with a nice accent and evey now and then mixing English with Spanish into Spenglish. The tour runs everyday at 1 pm (till 3 pm). The meeting point is in front of Bierhuis pub, next to the Vleeshuis Brug Bridge. We had a late lunch at Souplounge (Zuivelbrugstraat street). In a 5 euros menu you have soup with cheese, fresh veggies, croutons, meatballs, two small bread rolls, butter and an apple. Beside soup, they also have some sandwiches and salads.
In the evening, we went to Boter Mark square. We had another chips with a meat sauce (meat slow-cooked in beer) at Jozef stand; take away waffle at Eden restaurant and some beer at Dulle Griet. Almost every shop or a pub/café/restaurant closes between 6 and 8 pm. It can be a bit surprising when you come from a different country and you’re not used to it.
We spent the last day in Ghent in Chocolato (Sint-Michielshelling street). It smelled so good in here! The couple that owns this place also makes the chocolate pralines, figures and drinks. They were really nice and their chocolate was great. I had a chocoshot – an espresso with hot chocolate; Jiří had a cup of white chocolate with a hazelnut cream – too sweet for me, enough for my “little” sugar addict.
I want to come back to Ghent. I think there are lots of places we should visit – museums (like an old psychiatric hospital – Dr. Guislain Museum, or The House of Alijn – a museum of everyday life in 20th century), cafés with chocolate and waffles, pubs with local beer and small bistros with fresh chips. It would be lovely to bring a bicycle and take a ride along the canals!
The “traintrip” to Antwerpen-Central cost about 15 euros per person and took an hour. The train station is a beautiful historical building and you should see it even though you won’t come here by train. Adjacent streets are just about shopping. Would you fancy some diamonds? Clothes? Cosmetics? You can find everything, but nothing too special. Champs Élysées was a bit nicer shopping street.
We had just few hours before our way to Eindhoven. We went to the cathedral (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal), city hall (Stadhuis van Antwerpen) and the river Schelde. It was a rainy day and the bus was an hour late but we made it through.
But remember, life begins after coffee.