Monday, September 22, 2014

Biking Through Ghent, Belgium: Citadel Park, Ghent University Botanical Gardens, and Old Graslei Harbor


I'm back with another post on the magnificent medieval Belgian city of Ghent. In case you missed them, you can read my last two posts about Ghent here and here.  Before arriving in Belgium I was in The Netherlands, you can read all about my adventures in the great city of Amsterdam by following the links below:


As I mentioned in my last two posts on Ghent, the weather was less than ideal upon our arrival…  So, when the rain cleared up and the sun came out on our second full day there, we were chomping at the bit to rent bikes from the hotel and go exploring.  We found the largest park on the tourist map and headed out.  Turns out, the Ghent University botanical gardens were right next to the park and entry was free, so we had the opportunity to check that out too.

As you can see, the day could not have been more perfect for taking a long bike ride...



Folks, this is a real place, I assure you!


Forgive me, but I just can't get enough of this view.  I already want to go back...



The streets were calm, people were out on their bikes, toting children and groceries, running errands and chatting/riding with friends along the way.  


Plenty of people cruising down the Lys River, snapping photographs and soaking up the sights...






We made our way across the bridge, along Graslei and into the plaza on the other side just to check out the action before continuing to the park.





We passed this statue on the way, it's the _____________







This is the entrance to Citadel Park...




Admittedly, this park was small compared to Amsterdam's vast Vondel Park, but it had some beautiful features...





My brother, getting the Go-Pro ready:







Roses growing left and right...




…and lots of other beautiful healthy flowers growing all over the place...





Stad-Gent War memorial:




Once we rode around the park for a while, we moved on across the street to ride through the Ghent University Botanical Gardens….




Massive trees, lush landscapes, flowers, and sunshine….  What more could we ask for?



My favorite favorite photos:



This magnificent beauty is called Digitalis purpurea, commonly known as Foxglove or Lady's Glove.  What a photogenic plant huh?  Wow…  







Incredible sprawling patches of Zantedeschia aethiopica, commonly known as the Calla Lily:



I don't know the name of this tree (anyone?), but it was fascinating, especially its silhouette against the sky!


Yowza...







There was quite an edible garden going on in the botanical gardens as well...



This is a statue dedicated to Emile Claus, a Belgian painter.



And after our bike ride through the park and botanical garden we returned to our favorite spot…  Can you blame us?  I mean look at this:




We lounged, people-watched, made new friends, and soaked up the full experience.  An experience I am certain neither one of us will ever forget!


We weren't the only ones enjoying the incredible day...



I loved to watch people enjoying the simple things in life: friendship, laughter, conversation, food and wine….  Sigh, it was so perfect and peaceful.


I still look at this view in awe of its perfection:



No doubt about it, Ghent has become one of my favorite European cities!





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