Old, and even older
Ghent Travel Blog› entry 4 of 4 › view all entries
August 1st, 2009 – by: ik-ben-10eke
Because our hotel was in the center of the old town I expected it to be a bit noisy because of the traffic. I can live with that, no big deal. But I hadn't thought of the cobblestone pavement, which added an extra touch to the traffic. This resulted that I thought heavy vehicles were riding close to our hotel, but after awhile I figured it was just normal sized cars in the mainstreet around the corner.
So, after being awake a couple of hours somewhere in the middle of the night (the novel I took with me was not helping much to get me asleep, too fascinating) I slept untill about 8.45. Breakfast was served from 8.00 until 11.30 so we still would be in time for it :)
The breakfast room of the hotel has some nice art nouveau decorated central heating radiators, and the walls are covered with painted board panels.
After breakfast we returned to our room to pack our bags, the cleaning lady tried to enter 2 or 3 times, but we were not ready to leave until 11.00. We left our luggage at the reception desk again, and headed to the streets near St. Jacobs church for the Saturday morning antique market.
Lovely old and not so old stuff. I did see really antique stuff, and there were a lot of old maps as well, mainly covering Belgium ofcourse, but some German as well. Unfortunately the northern Netherlands were not amongst those maps.
Beautiful cutlery and glasswork too, thank goodness that stuff is either a bit heavy or vulnerable, thus a bad idea to buy it because we should have to take it with us on the train and bus.
After the antique market we walked towards the Groot Kanonplein, where the Dulle Griet stands. Dulle Griet is the name of the canon on that square.
And then it was about time for our visit to the Gravensteen, the castle of the counts of Flanders, which is situated right in the old town center.
We did the roundtrip without a guide, direction- and information signs are in every hall. I even climbed up to the towers and stopped my thinking (or fear) whilst taking pictures of the towns rooftops. The fact that the gaps between the merlons were covered with thick wooden boards, ofcourse helped to put my fertigo aside for a little while. In Dutch we have saying for such circumstances which is: Verstand op nul, blik op oneindig - which can be described as "don't use your mind, use an endless gaze" - especially the first part of that saying helps to overcome the fear for a few moments.
When we stopped gazing at all the old stone halls, chapels, dungeons, we headed back to the Graslei site looking for a nice place to have a drink or so. We tried the Butcher's hall, but we were not ready for the typical Ganda ham, instead we went to the terrace of Brasserie de Graslei, where we sat down for a coffee and some pancakes.
We might enter the Belfort, but at the information desk we were told that the main attraction would be to climb up all the stairs for a marvellous view we decided not to, despite the parapet of over 1 meter. Climbing the spiral stairs at the Gravensteen was more than enough for one day and I better not risk a stroke of Menière.
Later that afternoon we picked up our bags at the St. Jorishof hotel, and started to walk to the Ghent Dampoort station, which was far more near the old town center than the St. Pieters station. However, the bags were a bit heavy so we did not go any further than the nearest busstop where we took a bus to the station.
I planned to take some pictures at Antwerp Central Station, because we did not do so the day before, but we found out we got about 5 minutes to change to the international train, an hour earlier than I thought we would travel, so hurrying for the escalators we made it in time for the 18.00 train to Amsterdam. Thus, not pictures. Wiping off the sweat when we entered the train, and again and again because the airconditioning did not function.
After two hours of sultry heat we arrived at a cooler platform at Amsterdam Central Station, still in the twenties Celsius. Another thirty minutes on the bus and we were home again.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!