European Excursion Day Five: A Canal Boat and Thai Food
After a fantastic night sleep up in our private loft we had a yummy breakfast of eggs, toast and strawberries while we planned our day. Since it was going to rain pretty much everywhere Theresa suggested we go, we decided on the place with the best weather outlook. This place happened to be Ghent. In our original plan we were going to visit Ghent, but we dropped it when we were reorganizing our schedule. I was really excited about making it up to Ghent because I had heard positive things about it. So after breakfast we pilled into the car and headed to the city.
Ghent is located in the Flemish region of Belgium. This means that they speak Dutch. One of the first things we did when we got to the city was eat a Belgium waffle. Boy was that yummy. The only downfall was I ended up being covered in powdered sugar because Claire lost control of her plate in the wind and all her sugar blew back on me. But it was worth it to eat an authentic Belgium waffle. We visited a very spectacular cathedral called The Saint Bavo Cathedral. This is a most see if you are visiting Ghent. Once again we were not allowed to take any photos, but I did snap a few secretly before putting my camera away. An interesting fact about Ghent is they have a ton of cathedrals because each guild would have their own place of worship. I believe Andrew said there are about 50 churches in the city because of this. The Saint Bavo Cathedral was built in the end of the 10th century. Besides the fantastic architecture, the cathedral houses many beautiful pieces of artwork. This included the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, which you had to pay to see, so we did do that.
Ghent has such a rich history and we learned all about it while riding on a tiny riverboat with our tour guide, Andrew. Andrew was born and raised in Ghent and you could tell how proud his is of his city in the way he talked about the history. Ghent is a medieval port founded in 650 and at one point Ghent was one of the richest and largest cities in all of Europe. On our tour we learned about the main trading area of the medieval city. We saw the different guild buildings, a smallest building in the city (which saw just wide enough to have a door), a jail cell under a bridge were the criminal would stay the night before his execution, and Augustine Monastery, where the 1,000’s of books from their library were thrown into the river Lys during an attack. Andrew said that there were so many books in the water that you could walk from one side of the river to the other. The tour was very interesting and we all learned a lot about the culture/history of Ghent. I really enjoyed our time here walking through a city that has had so much happen in it from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance to the World Wars. Ghent has an amazing amount of charm and I definitely plan to come back, though next time in the summer and maybe during their 10 day festival. We grabbed a small lunch at a restaurant on the canal before heading back to Brussels for the evening. Me and Sam split some authentic Belgium fries, they invented them not the french. We had great conversation about this that and the other thing. I learned a lot about Belgium beer, who knew there were so many! I also realized that I need to find myself a military man, so that I can live in another country and do even more traveling. That is why they live in Belgium; they told us stories about their travels and the adjustments they had to make and what they miss about America and what is great about Europe. After lunch the guys went to get the car and us girls went to the castle in the center of the city. Unfortunately we didn’t get to go inside because we didn’t have enough time, but we did take some pictures. We ended up having to walk to the car because the guys got lost and were taking forever. So as we ladies often do, we found our way back right away, without getting lost, because let’s face it girls rule!
Our evening ended with our whole group having a giant Thai dinner. Since they were having so many guests over, Theresa had a Thai cook come to the house and make us dinner. I’ve never had Thai before, so it was a new experience. All the food was good. The summer role was my favorite, I think I ate at least five of them. The highlight of dinner was when six year old Connor explained to us where the name for the dish chicken on a stick came from. Connor in all his adorableness said, “Well it’s chicken and it’s on a stick!” He said it so matter of factly and my heart just melted. The rest of the evening consisted of us watching The Voice, eating leftover ice cream cake and playing this guessing game on the iPad. We said goodnight to the kids and we sat around the dinning room table talking to Theresa about our next travel plans. Though this didn’t last long on account that we had to get up really early the next morning and Connor wanted his mom to put him to bed. So another lovely day on our trip had raced past.
Until next time…