Travel Photographs - Damme to Ghent, Belgium

October 21, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

This fall has proven to be so busy it has been difficult to get back to the Blog and my recent trip to Belgium. Mind you, that is not a complaint. I am very happy to be so busy before winter begins in Maine. It is hard to believe that we have been back from Belgium for a month. At the end of my previous Blog, we had just left Bruges. Our guide for the day, Michael Eyns, picked Rose and I up at the Hotel Aragon and the day began with gusto. Michael began by driving us to the Windmills that were by the Canals that surrounded the city. I had wanted to see them, but just did not make it that far afield. They were very interesting and part of the history of Bruges. From there, we took a short ride through the beautiful countryside to the small town of Damme. The village is set on the Zwin river between Zeebrugge and Bruges. One of the main sights I wanted to see was the Hoeke Windmill, set on the Zwin River.

BelgiumBelgiumDamme After a short break and a walk around the grounds of the Church of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-Hemmelvaartkirk) we were ready to get back on the road. That was a pleasant deviation from the planned drive to Ghent.  

Ghent is a much larger city than Bruges, with a population of about 262,000. It is necessary to park in the underground garage before venturing into the downtown area. Most of the streets in the downtown, and historic district, are pedestrian only, after the delivery vehicles have serviced the stores and restaurants. And, walk we did! Once again I clocked over 10,300 steps. Ghent is not supposed to be as much a tourist destination as Bruges, but you could not prove it by me. There were people walking everywhere and taking in the sites, as well as enjoying the outside cafes which are a big part of life in Belgium.


One of the first attractions that our guide, Michael, took us to was Saint Bavo Cathedral (also known as Sint-Baafs Cathedral, or in Dutch Sint Baafskathedraal) an 89 meter (292 feet) tall Gothic Cathedral. It is the seat of the diocese of Ghent. Beautiful architecture, paintings and sculptures. There are masterpieces painted by Hubert and Jan Van Eyck and by Peter Paul Rubens. It is definitely a sight to see.

BelgiumBelgiumGhent BelgiumBelgiumGhent

 

 

 

 

 

 

From there we walked to the one of the many Market Squares and stopped for a much needed hot chocolate and eclair. Rose was able to have a gluten free macaron with her coffee. Finding Gluten Free food in Belgium was much easier then we had imagined. There is so much to see, and do, in Ghent, a few hours was not going to do it justice. But, we were determined to take in as much as we could.

BelgiumBelgiumGhent Both sides of the river are populated with many restaurants and beautiful architecture. It was a beautiful day and everyone seemed to outside enjoying the weather. You can see the top of the Gravensteen Castle in this photo. Time was short and we did not get to tour the castle, Oh well, maybe next trip to Belgium. I will put it on the list....

BelgiumBelgiumGhent The Gravensteen Castle, built around 1180, is sometimes called the Castle of the Counts (in French, Chateau des Comptes).The current castle dates to 1180 and was the residence of the Counts of Flanders until 1353. It was subsequently re-purposed as a court, prison, mint, and even as a cotton factory. It was restored over 1893–1903 and is now a museum and a major landmark in the city. The first fortification at this site, a sand dune with swampy borders in between the branches of the River Leie, was built in the mid-9th century by Baldwin I, the first Count of Flanders, to fight off Viking raids. 

Alas, it was time to continue our journey to Brussels, for the final 4 days of our Belgium trip.

My travel photos of the entire Belgium trip can be found on my SmugMug website. Please take a look and enjoy! You might also be interested in my travel photos of the South of France, taken a couple of years ago.

Thank you for taking the time to view my Blog! The remainder of the trip, Brussels and Antwerp, will be coming. Please stay tuned.


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