Off to Ghent Belguim next week

Discussion in 'Bulletin Board' started by Cambridge Red, Jun 16, 2017.

  1. looks nice on street view. anyone know anything about it, any recommendations for food & drink?

  2. Never been to Ghent. We were based in Ostend and had a day trip to Bruges.
    Also went to the Menin Gate in Ypres and went round all the British graveyards
    from World War One e.g. Tyne Cot and the one for the KOYLI's. Very moving experience.
    They have a very good rail network and there is a good bus service from Ostend to outlying places.
    Imagine Ghent will have similar services.

    You'll find everywhere you go Moules Frites ( Mussels and Chips) are on nearly every menu.
    You can see them rinsing/preparing the Mussels in stainless steel buckets and they also eat loads of onions
    over there. Chips are served with Mayonaisse but most places will give you vinegar and ketchup
    if you ask for it. Found the locals to be very friendly and obliging as far as Brits are concerned although
    in Ostend I have read they've had problems with young male Brits on stag nights from time to time.
    You should have a good time. Local brew is Stella Artois. Hope you enjoy it.
    Cambridge Red likes this.
  3. It's a beautiful city, take time to walk around its streets and book yourself on one of the tourist water tours.

    Much nicer we thought than Bruggen and Brussels....
    Cambridge Red likes this.

  4. I didn't rate Brussels either. Didn't think it lived up to what I'd read about it IMO.
    Only been to Germany once. We stopped off at Frankfurt en route from Manchester to Verona on our holiday
    in Lake Garda. Only stopped for five hours so our sightseeing was limited but Frankfurt looked OK to me.

    If you ever want to give Lake Garda a try for a holiday can recommend the Hotel Bologna in Bardolino.
    Been three times, twice on flights with Lufthansa I organised myself and once with Inghams (Lakes and Mountains)
    tour operators. Aiming to go again June 2018 using Inghams again.

    Like the fact there's a regular ferry so you can see many of the other picturesque places around the Lake.
    Malcesine is well worth a visit as is the Town of Garda.

    Reason I prefer Inghams it's a 2 hour direct flight whereas doing it yourself with a stop to change from Lufthansa
    to Air Dolomiti in Munich or Frankfurt it can take you up to 12 hours on the outbound and inbound flights.
    Cambridge Red likes this.
  5. I love Ghent, and a regular traveller to Belgium.

    If you like your beer, a couple we tried there, Omer and Golden Draak (10.5% so go steady!)

    The medieval castle is a nice wander inside, the quayside is slap you in the face stunning and the walk over the bridge with the 3 cathedral spires in a line is beautiful. Just walk the street, definitely have the boat tour as already mentioned and just enjoy. It's far less crowded than Bruges and way more pretty in my view.

    If you have time and are happy jumping on a train (their trains are very punctual and prices very reasonable), you could do a lot worse than spending a day in Leuven. Quiet with lots of places to see, a student town but quiet, yet it boasts the words "biggest bar"... a square that aside from 2 or 3 old buildings is full of bars. The old town hall is perhaps the most stunning building ive seen, ornate gothic beyond belief. The home of Stella (which tastes so different to the gassy crap we have licensed... though in Belgium, its a bit of a sacrilege not to try the thousands of other beers.

    Oh, and find "Gruut" its a little microbrewery you can have a tour of, or just in the main building or by the water and work your way through their very fine very fresh beer list.

    I love Brussels by the way, Grand Place and the run by the Bourse at Christmas is a wonderful Christmas thing, but its not as pretty as Ghent for sure. Love the St Gery area, some fantastic restaurants and if you cant just enjoy it for the frites, chocolates (pierre marcolii are my personal faves and less than half the prices of the prices in london - though the pound tanking will have corrected that now) and of course the beer galore (mort subite framboise is a thing from heaven, located at the top end of the galleria towards gare du nord).

    Petit Sablon is also a lovely area with the multitude of chocolate shops and there is a little place called entrée des artistes which does the most delicious carbonnades (beef stew) or steak frites. Just up from that on the same side is one of the many le pain quotidien which in my view make the finest crioissants the world has ever seen. Lovely for breakfast and a huge bowl of coffee and free preserves and chocolate spreads, but plenty of them around. There are so many districts, and depends how confident you are, but if you can speak a tiny bit of French, you'll be fine.

    Another place I love is Moeder Lambic, a bit out of the centre, but an amazing array of beers and they do a fantastic sharing platter of cheeses, cured meats and accompaniments (trip advisor will give you all the details). Cantillon has a brewery not far from Gare du Midi and we've done that a few times. Can try the original Gueze (sour) and see how its made, then have a few drinks at the end or take some home.

    I absolutely love Belgium and go every year (off to Mechelen and Mons in August for a few days), so underrated, with beautiful architecture, delicious food and a schleppy down to earth nature.

    If you're looking for anything in particular, feel free to shout out and I'll have a look through pictures and research notes and can help more if needed. Enjoy!
    Cambridge Red likes this.
  6. Thanks for that, u paint a good picture :)
    Just there for 3 nights (work) with some colleagues so mainly looking for places to eat in the evening. Think I'll check out the St. Gery area if I get the chance.
    Appreciate the input.

  7. If eating in Brussels, this little Italian is always worth a go, suggest booking, they have a little outdoor area which is very quaint, and the bresaola starter with melted cheese in lettuce cups, is lovely

    Cant recall where we ate in Ghent to be honest, tend to just walk through tripadvisor. Just avoid the really obvious tourist traps in the main areas of grand place in Brussels. But generally think the standard of food and drink is way better than here and you just pay a bit more for the nicer views.

    Service is just about always schleppy... which personally I find quite entertaining. Especially if youre next to some americans who are on the receiving end!

    And I do try and paint pictures, but they never do Belgium justice. Perhaps the most underrated country. Even Antwerp which is more industrial has some lovely bars, buildings, squares and sights. Like most cities though, you start discovering what its truly like when you're off the beaten track and you start to just meander with your eyes open.

  8. Some good reviews there DWLC. I agree - Belgium is much better than its ill-informed reputation. I wish I'd seen more of it when I had my three years of living in Germany. The problem there though was that there were so many fantastic places in that country to see and not enough time off to see them all.

    There's a lot of Europe that is relatively undiscovered. People should be a bit more adventurous!
  9. Oh and even if work related, if in Ghent, get on one of the boat tours. They do them in English, don't take long at all and its just so peaceful to do. One end goes around the medieval castle and if you catch it in the right light its a lovely sight to take in.

    They were doing up an old building near the town hall last time I went, so it might be nicer still now.
  10. Completely agree, so many tourists just do the things most people know, or the top picks from tourist guide books. Which is fine if that's your thing, but it doesn't give you the full flavour. I've always preferred local and authentic to something geared to tourists, so we often spend hours researching in advance and then mixing that with a spontaneity when we get there and not being shy to walk 15 miles a day getting about.

    Visited Turin for a few nights in April and a night in Milan, and another beautiful old city, with incredible food with the backdrop of the Matterhorn and Alps behind it. Nothing show stopping, but just a lovely city to see and experience. Much not made advantage of yet (the riverside a prime example, but so often the case in Italy), but a great feel of faded grandeur and industrial pride.

    I often think, it's not til the 3rd, 4th, 5th cities/towns of a country that you start to know it. But then I know i'm incredibly lucky to have the time and opportunity to be able to do that.
  11. I've never been one for the "tourist traps" - there are better ways to spend your time than following the herd around or queuing for everything. My Polish partner and I are visiting the Baltic coast this August - renting a big house for eleven of us plus one dog.

    For her it was a regular childhood thing, every summer, to go to the north Polish coast. I've never seen that part of the country so looking forward to seeing Gdansk as well as the seaside resorts up there. Hoping to go to "Hel and back" with a visit to the Hel Peninsula which is only a few miles from where we are staying.
  12. I've often thought that tourist traps do their business based on a little bit of ignorance and laziness. Just happening to be somewhere and getting so many tourists not willing to walk to somewhere else after they've seen a major sight. Once you get more confident, theres so much more to see, taste and experience.

    Pains me to see places that largely sell out to that mass tourist poor quality blandness. Visited Oludeniz a few years ago and my heart broke that a culture so rich, a place so naturally beautiful could be overrun with crap gimmicky food for brits abroad, knock off goods and cheap gifts which were a parody of their own country.

    Very very sad.

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