A Trip to Belgium (2 of 2)

This is the second part of our Belgian trip report, click here for the first part..

We landed in Brussels on Tuesday, July 5, 2022, and looking at the weather forecast for the week, we saw that it called for blue skies and sunny weather on Wednesday and Friday while gray skies were predicted for Thursday. We therefore decided to take a train for Bruges on Wednesday and visit Ghent on Friday. Thus, we spent Tuesday afternoon and Thursday in Brussels; photos from that part of the trip may be found in the first part of this trip report while Bruges and Ghent are covered on this page.

Bruges

We set out from our hotel and walked to the train station. We had some problems finiding it; as it turns out, we had ended up in the street behind the official entrance. We got our tickets from a machine and boarded a train to Bruges. To get right to the point, Bruges is a gem! It almost looks artificial, with gorgeous historic buildings, a huge number of restaurants, an even larger number of chocolate shops (you can't have too many of those), horse-drawn carriages bringing tourists to Market Square with its oversized Belfry, river boats exploring the canals... just beautiful! From the train station, there is a lovely and brand-new walkway that brings people to the picture-perfect center of town in ten to fifteen minutes. In short, a real treat!


The Bruges railway station Small park on the short walk from the station to the center of town

The Bruges railway station

Small park on the short walk from the station to the center of town


Walking down 'Zuidzandstraat' (South Sand Street) 'Steenstraat' (Stone Street) is busy, but it's mostly pedestrian traffic

Walking down Zuidzandstraat (South Sand Street)

Steenstraat (Stone Street) is busy, but it's mostly pedestrian traffic


Tourists like the horse-drawn carriages The Flemish rooflines are lovely The medieval bell tower on Market Square

Tourists like the horse-drawn carriages

The Flemish rooflines are lovely

The medieval bell tower on Market Square


The original Belfry of Bruges dates from 1240 Detail of the belfry façade

The original Belfry of Bruges dates from 1240

Detail of the belfry façade


On Market Square On Market Square

On Market Square

On Market Square


Window by our lunch table at ''t Voutje' ('The Mistake'—it wasn't) At the 'Eiermarkt' (Egg market)

Window by our lunch table at 't Voutje ("The Mistake"—it wasn't)

At the Eiermarkt (Egg market)


Market Square with its Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck monument House of the Governor of West-Flanders and the Provincial Court

Market Square with its Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck monument

House of the Governor of West-Flanders and the Provincial Court


Old Civil Registry and Bruges City Hall Detailed view of the Old Civil Registry façade

Old Civil Registry and Bruges City Hall

Detailed view of the Old Civil Registry façade


People waiting to board a boat for a canal trip And they are off!

People waiting to board a boat for a canal trip

And they are off!


Along the 'Groenerei', the Green Canal The view from 'Predikherenbridge' (Preacher's Bridge)

Along the Groenerei, the Green Canal

The view from Predikherenbridge (Preacher's Bridge)
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'Groenerei' canal view On 'Hoogstraat' (High Street) on the way back to the center

Groenerei canal view

On Hoogstraat (High Street) on the way back to the center


Back on Market Square in front of City Hall and the main Post Office A closer look at the roofline of the two buildings

Back on Market Square in front of City Hall and the main Post Office

A closer look at the roofline of the two buildings


Detail of the City Hall roof Zooming in a bit more Belgian Kingdom Coat of Arms on the Belfry

Detail of the City Hall roof

Zooming in a bit more

Belgian Kingdom Coat of Arms on the Belfry


Bidding goodbye to Market Square with its beautiful architecture, horse-drawn carriages, and tourists

Bidding goodbye to Market Square with its beautiful architecture, horse-drawn carriages, and tourists

Ghent

Two days after having visited Bruges, we took a train to Ghent. This is a much larger city than Bruges, and it is just as beautiful and interesting, albeit in a completely different way. Whereas in Bruges, one gets the impression that it is simply a perfect tourist destination, one feels that Ghent is a place where real people actually live and work. To get to the center of town from the station, one can take public transportation or walk. We chose the latter, and it took a little over twenty minutes, including picture-taking stops. One goes through various parts of town, and not all are equally pretty—again, this is a real city. Once in the center, though, things are different: there are beautiful buildings (that gorgeous Flemish architecture!), canals, many restaurants... even a castle! We would be hard-pressed to rate one of these cities above the other; visit them both and decide for yourself!


Glass canopy in front of the Ghent railway station Queen Marie Henrietta Square by the train station

Glass canopy in front of the Ghent railway station

Queen Marie Henrietta Square by the train station


In Belgium, the bicycle is a most popular form of transportation Looking down 'IJzerlaan', Iron Avenue

In Belgium, the bicycle is a most popular form of transportation

Looking down IJzerlaan, Iron Avenue


Standing on the 'Pont des chaudronniers' (Boilermaker Bridge) On the side of the bridge

Standing on the Pont des chaudronniers (Boilermaker Bridge)

On the side of the bridge


'Le homard rouge' (the Red Lobster) restaurant on the water Walking down 'Voldersstraat' (Volders Street)

Le homard rouge (the Red Lobster) restaurant on the water

Walking down Voldersstraat (Volders Street)


The old Post Office Building (now a boutique hotel) and the Wheat Market

The old Post Office Building (now a boutique hotel) and the Wheat Market


Detail of the Old Post Office Building façade On the Wheat Market

Detail of the Old Post Office Building façade

On the Wheat Market


The Ghent Wheat Market View from the 'Grasbrug' (Grass Bridge)

The Ghent Wheat Market

View from the Grasbrug (Grass Bridge)


Tour boat passing these wonderful buildings on the 'Korenlei' Along the 'Graslei'

Tour boat passing these wonderful buildings on the Korenlei

Along the Graslei


The medieval castle 'Gravensteen' and its moat The castle seen from 'Rekelingestraat'

The medieval castle Gravensteen and its moat

The castle seen from Rekelingestraat


View from the 'Hoofdbrug' (Execution Bridge) onto the moat Along the 'Leie', one of the two rivers of Ghent

View from the Hoofdbrug (Execution Bridge) onto the moat

Along the Leie, one of the two rivers of Ghent


Following the river along the 'Kraanlei' Looking across the water

Following the river along the Kraanlei

Looking across the water


'The Flute Player' is a famous Ghent building The Poetry Center (a bookstore!) on 'Vrijdagsmarkt'

The Flute Player is a famous Ghent building

The Poetry Center (a bookstore!) on Vrijdagsmarkt


The 'Vrijdagsmarkt' (Friday Market) with its statue of Jacob van Artevelde

The Vrijdagsmarkt (Friday Market) with its statue of Jacob van Artevelde


Walking across the 'Zuivelbrug (Dairy Bridge) On the other side of the bridge

Walking across the Zuivelbrug (Dairy Bridge)

On the other side of the bridge



The photos of Bruges were taken on July 6, those of Ghent on July 8, 2022.
This is the second part of our Belgian trip report, click here for the first part.
The photos of both pages are also available as a Gallery or Slideshow




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