One Day At The Veggie Capital of Europe / The New York of the Middle Age
Ghent in Belgium – The New York of the Middle Age
Soon after arriving at the center of Ghent we knew exactly why Ghent is called the New York of the Middle Age. It was one of the largest and fastest growing cities in Europe and a cultural hotspot. The flair and the architecture are breathtaking and still visible today.
No matter where you turn your head in the Old Town of Ghent you see beautiful facades, bridges and impressive buildings as well as famous art.
To get a better view we walked up the 95 m high Belfort, an impressive tower. In front of us we see the St. Bavo´s-Cathedral. It displays the world famous “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” from the brothers Van Eyck.
Not far away is a more modern piece of art. The Werregarenstraat, a colorful street full of graffiti.
In the Middle Ages Ghent was a thriving city. A big part of the center of Ghent still reminds us of this Dark Age. We pass the old fish market and walk into the old meat market hall.
Outside we sip a cup of coffee at the oldest café in Ghent, the Galgenhuis, reminding us of the practices of the Dark Age. Outside people were hanged (the name Galgenhuis means gallows house). Today the horror is (gladly) not visible anymore.
Across the street we enter into an old schnapps bar called the Dreupelkot. We had a hard time deciding which jenever we should try. The list is really long. In the end Thomas tried a tiramisu jenever and I tried the pineapple jenever.
Next door to the Dreupelkot is the Waterhuis aan de Bierkant, an old pub at the water front. In the Middle Age almost every street in Ghent had its own brewery because drinking water was rare. Even children drank beer altough the content of alcohol was only about 1%. Not to be compared with the beer you get nowadays with up to 11% alcohol content.
Across the street we pass the Castle Gravensteen…
…arriving a minute later at the Hotel Gravensteen.
Veggie Day – Ghent, Europe´s Veggie Capital
Since 2009 Ghent features the Veggie Day every Thursday. As we are vegetarians we had to visit Ghent at a Thursday. You can get a brochure of restaurants who participate in the Veggie Day. We had dinner at the restaurant Du Progrès at the Korenmarkt. I had a lukewarm pasta salad and Thomas tried a Veggie Burger.
Ghent in one day?
It´s possible to cover a lot in one day. To get an overview of Ghent we took a boat trip. If you want to have enough space and a chat with the guide the best time is early in the morning. At 10 o´clock when the boat tours start you have a chance to have a boat on your own (That´s what happened to us – maybe it was just luck :D). We had fun listening to the stories about the town and got to see the lover´s tree (you should kiss your true love under the lover´s tree) plus lots of ducks and turtles.
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In the Old Town of Ghent almost everything is in walking distance. We covered a lot in a short amount of time. To have more time you should plan at least two days in Ghent especially if you are a museum and art lover.
No wonder the slogan of the City Ghent is:
More than a one night stay.
More about Ghent: Ghent – When houses tell their stories
More about Belgium: Bruges, chocolate and bear, tips for a day trip and more:
Thanks to City Ghent for the invitation. All opinions are ours.