June 16, 2014- The train from Brugge to Ghent, on this cool, blustery afternoon, took us through serene villages and lush meadows. The train was nearly deserted. So, it was with some amusement that I was admonished by an officious young conductor, to “leave this First Class Car, AT ONCE! Your ticket says SECOND CLASS!! Kindly go downstairs.” I kindly went downstairs.
As we were departing, at Ghent Sint-Pieters Station, the conductor proudly told his supervisor that he had managed to roust an interloper from First Class. The older man just smiled, as if mentally patting his underling on the head, and walked into the station. I went on to NH Ghent Sint Pieters Hotel, another lovely establishment, with a very helpful staff. Below is the train station.
Here are the squares in the area from the train station to the hotel.
NH Sint Pieters Hotel is in the middle, above.
Now, let’s have a look at Ghent’s loveliest feature: Its canal system. The canals here are more extensive than those of Brugge, and rival those of Amsterdam, I’m told. They certainly were serene and impressive.
Now that you are waterlogged, a few words about some of the buildings that are near the canals:
Here is the Hall of Justice (Justitiepaleis).
There are several churches, and St. Baaf’s (St. Bavo’s) Cathedral. The latter was in scaffolding. Some practices have spread north from France.
A marvelous sculpted scene by Jan van Eyck greets visitors outside St. Baaf’s.
Near St. Baaf’s is Kerk Sint Niklaas.
It is the cathedral, however, which will dominate Ghent’s Centrum, when the renovations are completed.
Lastly for the recounting of that enjoyable evening, I leave you with the statue of Lieven Bauwens, the promulgator of mercantilism in East Flanders, of which Ghent is the capital and Antwerp, to the north, is a major port.
Lots of money was made by the burghers of Flanders, including the Counts of Ostflanders, whose castle, Gravensteen, I will showcase in the next post.