With astronomical housing prices forcing me elsewhere for the night, I looked at neighboring cities before settling on Ghent. I found a quaint Air BnB just meters from the train station with a sweet host who was heading to Paris for the weekend and just looking to rent her place for the night! It was beneficial to all!
My favorite Belgian lives a hop, skip, and a short train ride away from Ghent and so with two being better than one, both for safety and amusement sake, we met for a day of exploring and discussion over the Olympic Gymnastics Trials! My heart was happy!
St. Nicholas Church
With the purest sound of the all-male choir echoing through the square, we were drawn into our first cathedral. Though the majority was under construction, we were still able to stop for a moment and see the detailed architecture and listen to the beautiful choir.
At 91 meters tall the bell tower owns up to its names as it towers over the city. Its impressive stature looks almost imposing in contrast to the quiet nature of the people there. Almost as if to take watch to make sure the people were protected.
The town itself, intertwined with the Leie river, was one of the most peaceful towns I’ve visited. The uneven textures of the cobblestone in contrast to the perfection found in the Gothic details of this hidden gem add a character unmatched to any city I’ve yet to enter.
And as with any proper European city, there was a castle within reach!
However, the star of the show was hidden in the back of Saint Bavo’s Cathedral!
The Ghent Altarpiece, also known as the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, is a multi-panel, complex masterpiece that outlines Adam and Eve, the fall, and the plan of redemption. An incredible sight to behold, I was speechless. I’m not an art connoisseur, but the exceptional beauty that radiated from this treasure moved me deeply. Though phones and cameras were not allowed, google has generously allowed me to borrow a picture to decorate my blog!
Throughout our time in Ghent we walked through flee markets and sat along the riverbanks! Benjamin speaks 4 languages and is always eager to learn more and so each time we meet, we have a mini language exchange where we each learn a few new words!
As we headed back into Brussels, for him to go home and me to catch my connection back to Germany, we stopped by one of the two headquarters for the European Union, the other being in Strasbourg, France – so I’ve seen both now! There was a piece of the Berlin Wall there! These are the moments that I’m humbled by! The history here in Europe is unparalleled and I love learning and being in the midst of it!
For now, I’ll leave you with the little bit of French I (hopefully correctly) picked up over the weekend!
À plus tard les amis!
Blessings to you all!