While hanging out at the playground (or formal military balls), the conversations we Americans have with each other often gets around to, “So, where have you been?”
As in, what fabulous places have you visited in your short time on this continent?
My answers usually don’t include anywhere in Belgium. I mean, we do go places here. But usually to do something, like kayak, or hike, or visit family. We rarely just sightsee. I guess because Ben grew up here, we don’t usually think to visit places just to see them. That would be like me planning a day trip to, say, Frederick, Maryland.
I mentioned this to Ben and he said, “Let’s go then”. So off we went to Gent (Ghent? This mulitilanguage country thing is just weird. Did you know that if you live in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium that Mons is called Bergen? Yeah, that’s close.)
Gent is my new favorite Belgian city. It’s like a big Brugge (Bruges). Canals, beautiful architecture, a medieval castle right in the middle of the city, and so many huge churches that it’s like every family a thousand years ago decided to build their own. This cathedral a little too drafty for you? Try the one across the street.
We decided to take a walk through Gravensteen Castle. Built in 1180, it has been renovated to allow people to walk throughout to see what life was like then. I’ll tell you what life was like then. Cold, damp and packed with a thousand different ways to be tortured, if the displays inside are to be believed.
We wandered around a bit more, stopped for waffles and ice cream, checked out a church or two since there were so many to choose from, picked up a couple of geocaches and decided we all really liked Gent. Ghent. However you spell it.
Any suggestions for where we should go next?