Belgium (Part 03): A Day in Ghent
We started our last day in Belgium (part one, part two) with a quick 30-minute train ride from Bruges to Ghent. Ghent, almost exactly equidistant from Brussels and Bruges, is often overlooked by visitors to Belgium’s Flemish region, but the city’s impressive medieval architecture, charming old center and lively student population makes it an easy an enjoyable day trip.
The first thing on our list was to check out the streets Korenlei and Graslei which make up the core of the old city straddling the River Leie. On this beautiful mid-June day, the people were out in droves enjoying an easy Sunday along the river, so we decided to go al fresco for lunch and people watch over some food. De Graslei suited us just fine and we were not disappointed by the lasagna and goat cheese, apple, bacon, walnut and honey salad—and of course we ordered a side of fries.
After lunch we took a moment to appreciate St. Michael’s Bridge before strolling down Cataloniëstraat to the Church of St. Nicholas. The church is a stunning medieval sight both inside and out and we were lucky enough to visit during a concert on its famous organ which certainly enhanced the experience. Another few minutes down the street is the larger and even more magnificent Cathedral of St. Bavo and our luck continued as there was a large choir singing songs inside.
While taking a quick rest in St. Bavo Square we spotted Chocolaterie Van Hoorebeke and could not help ourselves—we walked out with a large collection of assorted chocolates to enjoy then and also to bring back home. We took a seat back on Korenlei by the river and slowly enjoyed our chocolate under draping blue skies and the strong summer sun. This would be a fitting final moment in Belgium for us as we shortly thereafter made our way to the train station to get to Brussels for our train back to London. The little bits of chocolate we took home with us served as reminders for weeks to come of our amazing long weekend exploring the wonders of Flanders.