I want to start by saying that I’m officially out of my element in Belgium. This is the first country I’ve been to where English isn’t the first language people start with and my Dutch is rusty. And by rusty I mean nonexistent because I never studied it… It’s also very hard to go places and not be able to read signs or menus because there’s no English option. Insert translation app here! Life savers those little things are.
That said I didn’t even know where to start with Ghent! First thing’s first though, I went shopping for some shorts! Somehow I neglected to pack shorts with me and with the heat I couldn’t do jeans for another day, it would have been awful. And while I loved one of the boutiques I went into and would have bought about half of what it offered, it was out of my price range. However, I haven’t been to a city yet that didn’t have an H&M to save the day with cheap clothes!
A quick change into shorts and I went to St Michael’s but they didn’t open till midafternoon so I took a stroll through the Market that I told you about yesterday, still just as amazing!! All the fresh food and the smells! If I were going to be here for a while and if I had a bigger kitchen to use, I’d buy things from every stall! (especially the fudge stall)
After that I headed into Belfort Tower and only after climbing the stairs to the top did I realize there was an elevator… There were some great views of the city from up there though! With a complete walk around outside the tower you can see in every direction over the entire city.
Well since I saw the castle from up in the tower I decided that would be my next stop so after swinging through the market for lunch that’s where I went and I was not disappointed. I will pause here to say that if you’re under 26 in this city you get discounted tickets, and they don’t even ask if you’re a student, just if you’re young enough. Yipee for being 25! Now on to the Castle of Counts. I appreciated that it hadn’t been turned into a lifestyle display like some of the other castles I’ve been in. There were displays of some of the artifacts found in the castle and some history that I couldn’t read about since I don’t know Dutch but overall it was very well preserved without being updated. The back of the castle was even left in its ruined condition, which I thought was kind of awesome!
After a stroll down the canal and a stop for gelato (which is so much better than ice-cream) I headed in for an afternoon nap. After I woke up St Michael’s was open so that’s where I headed to since it was right across the street. I enjoyed the fact that not every single window was stained glass, and not every stained glass window was a mural either. It was kind of refreshing since most cathedrals I’ve been to are brimming with stained glass murals.
Once I finished in St Michael’s I realized I had passed by St Nicholas’ without going inside! So I went back and headed in. It’s nice when there’s points of interest all packed together in the same square mile!
With all of that done my feet were tired! So I headed through the market, picked up some dinner, and returned to the hostel to edit photos. Now, I decided to edit pictures in the common room on purpose because it invites conversation and my plan worked maybe a little too well. I met a guy from Colorado, and California, and Holland, and Australia… you get the point. Anyway, I was just a happy clam chatting with some English speakers and editing pictures and I forgot to tell my mom that I was back in for the day. So a few hours later when I’m sitting out on the canal with my new friends and no Wi-Fi and my phone on vibrate in my bag, she freaked out and I would like to apologize, again, for making her worry. I’ve set an alarm to avoid further problems like this. Point is, if you talk regularly with someone back home, make sure you keep it regular or let them know if you can’t chat that day for whatever reason it is.