Oh, how I loved Ghent.
But oh, how I didn’t love getting to Ghent.
The train from Bruges only takes about half an hour but those were thirty of the sweatiest minutes of my life. Our train, while adorably vintage, was devoid of any air conditioning, functioning windows, or airflow of any kind. It was brutal.
That night, after resting up, we wandered through nighttime Ghent to get a drink. Ghent is magical after dark when all the buildings are lit up and look like they come from a fairy tale. I gasped audibly each time we turned the corner. We had a drink in a small square near our hotel and then wandered to the other side of Korenmarkt where we could share dessert while listening to an outdoor piano concert nearby.
The next day, we went to Gravensteen (the old castle in the center of town) to climb the tower and take in the view.
From the top, we could look down on the magical square where we’d had drinks the night before.
See? It is from a fairy tale.
… except that right after we climbed this tower we had to go into the shopping district to get me new shoes. My feet were dying. I’d been so proud of only bringing two pairs of shoes (flats and sneakers) and my feet were covered with dime-sized blisters. At one point in Bruges I’d wanted to sit on the curb and cry. Dramatic, yes, but it would have been effective in getting my point across.
So, yes, having to buy shoes is not the worst thing. Of course, though, having such a specific goal in mind meant there were NO SHOES IN ALL OF GHENT OMG JUST KILL ME and then I started to get all sad that I was wasting our time looking for shoes and potentially wasting our money on shoes. Woe was me. I ended up with maroon leather sneaker-y shoes. They are not gorgeous, but I could walk again.
Back to the fairy tale: like Bruges, Ghent has lovely waterways. Lovely waterways mean many gorgeous bridges and wonderful places to wander.
Our hotel was right on the Leie and we got to watch people gather with wine and blankets along the canal once night fell.
On our second day in Ghent, we were walking past the bell tower when we ran into the couple we’d met in Bruges! I love that couple. I want Will and I to be that couple in fifty years.