Leaving the First World War memorials behind
After our very interesting stop around the Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery and Memorial and the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917, we left the WW1 memorials behind and headed for an overnight stop in Ghent.
Travel: Beautiful Belgium and WW1 history Part 1
Travel: Beautiful Belgium and WW1 history Part 2 – Ypres
Ghent is the capital and largest city of the East Flanders province and has a population of over 250,000. Not the usual ingredients to tempt us to stop over but I had heard that the city was very beautiful so why not.
Our BnB was located a short stone’s throw from the St Baafskathedral in the city centre, and after settling in we ventured out to explore. The city is dominated by a very impressive centre of 3 fine church buildings and a 4th modern building described by the locals apparently as the ‘Sheep Barn’ located next to each other in a line.
The Sheeps Barn!
The ‘Sheeps Barn’ was built in 2012 and sparked an angry letter from UNESCO apparently for not being warned. It is certainly very ‘striking’ and is all roof and no walls!
Either side of the Sheep Barn is the more traditional St Niklaaskerk church and the Belfort (Belfry) which is a typical Flemish watchtower built as a symbol of power during the middle ages and a UNESCO World Heritage site. There is a stunning view from the top apparently and the clock chimes are very musical! All in all the buildings and towers make up a lovely part of the city to spend a few hours on a sunny summer afternoon. Unfortunately for us it was rainy and a bit gloomy but we will just have to pay another visit.
The Belfont, Ghent
Continuing our wander through the city the lights started to sparkle as twilight descended and the city took on an incredibly impressive night time beauty. We headed up to St Jacobskerk before crossing the Vrijdag Markt and joining the Leie canal and following the cobbled streets alongside the canal towards St Michielskerk and the bridge alongside. Hardly a 100 metres passed on our walk without another beautiful vista to capture on camera. Back passed the avenue of towers where we started out after a beer by a canal side bar, and we came across an outside event at the cathedral.
The Last Supper
A film projection of the Leonardo Da Vinci Last Supper painting with accompanying classical music was being brought to life on the outside of the cathedral. Lasting about 10 minutes the film depicted the painting but the characters were moving. Apparently the film is doing a tour of churches and I think it was the opening night.
Beautiful buildings in Ghent
The following day and we decided to walk more of Ghent in daylight before heading to Bruges. Without the lights the city still has lots of beautiful buildings and I imagine in better weather it would be an ideal stop for a more leisurely visit. However, our trip continued as we left for our last stop at Bruges.
Visit Ghent tourism site: