Medieval Gem of Belgium: The City of Ghent


Our second full day in Ghent is when the sun finally came out, the sky was a crisp vibrant blue, clouds were scarce and the effect on the buildings and overall view was radical! The silhouette of the intricate medieval architecture against the sky was incredibly vivid, making for a view so awesome that everything looked somewhat unreal. Am I being too dramatic? Well it's true, or at least that's how my senses perceived it. I certainly can't be the only person to visit Ghent and feel stunned by its medieval beauty! It was a big improvement compared to the dreariness of when we first arrived two days prior.


Soon enough you'll realize that the spot above - Old Graslei Harbor along the Lys River with the picturesque historic buildings, belfry (clock tower), churches and bridges - becomes a popular hangout for my brother and I during our time in Ghent. Despite the improvement in weather, we seemed to gravitate towards this spot, not just because we were staying right in the middle of it, but because it's truly one of the most, if not the most, beautiful areas in town. We rode bike throughout the city, which isn't too big, and granted we didn't completely explore all parts, but this was certainly the sweet spot: right along the Graslei and Korenlei streets that straddle the Lys River between Saint Michael's Bridge and the Grass Bridge. Oh yes indeed...

I have another post coming up for you, it's about our bike ride through one of the parks in Ghent, as well as the University Botanical Gardens. Speaking of University, when we arrived at the hotel the woman at the desk told us Ghent was a big University town with lots of students and night life, but it wasn't until our second day that we saw any evidence of it! You'll see below what I mean, the hot spot gets crowded with young people picnicking and partying, lovers making out, people with radios dancing and laughing, sunbathers, people with their pets, all types of stuff was going on there! Kind of like in Amsterdam's Vondel Park, except along the quay of the riverside. 

Since we always ended up back in this spot to take a break and hang out for a while next to our parked bikes, I was able to take photos of the same vista throughout the day. It's fascinating how the same view can be so versatile in different levels of light and shadow, with the sky morphing color and clouds whizzing by in the background. I enjoyed seeing the architecture of this medieval city transform throughout the day. Oh, and just wait until you see my post on Ghent at night! All of the buildings light up dramatically to accent the architectural details, it's spectacular. I'm pretty in love with my photos, I hope you will be too… Be sure to notice how the blue of the sky changes throughout the day, and how the buildings transform in the different levels of light as the sun sets. Enjoy!

Catherine


I went shutterhappy cray cray and snapped away to my heart's content on that sunny day...


This was the view to the right when we walked out the hotel doors:


This was the view to the left:


Remember how dull everything looked in my last post on those dreary rainy days? Well take a look at that gold weather vane ship in all its glory against the cerulean blue sky on this perfect day! I could have stared at it for hours, rotating and gleaming in the sun...





Sexy lion door knocker?  I'll bite…  Or should I say, I'd knock that!?



This castle is from the Middle Ages and it's called The Gravensteen, which means "Castle of the Count" in Dutch.




The old post office...



Here is Saint Nicholas Church in the sunshine! Big difference from how it looked here eh?



Walking along the church, you can see the Belfry of Ghent behind it...

    

I don't remember what this building was, but it was very ornate and there was a wedding going on when we passed by. The bride and groom got out of the old white car, dressed in gothic wedding attire, and a photographer was going nuts taking photos. I saw MANY brides on this trip through Europe, they were in nearly every city, posing near the landmarks for their wedding photos.






This is the back of Saint Nicholas Church...


There's a small park running up against it with a cool statue of some kneeling bronze figures around a fountain...



Here is Saint Michael's church in the sunshine as you cross over Saint Michael's Bridge...


And then, after our walk around the historic area, we were right back where we started in the bright picturesque strip along the Lys River between Graslei and Korenlei...




Don't mind me, I was just soaking up the beauty of life in a happy daze...




The play of medieval architecture against the sky, with the touch of green moss growing between the cobblestones was breathtaking!


Like I said before, I don't know what's up with all the rocketeers shooting through the sky, but they were very entertaining!




And then, a few hours later, I was once again hypnotized by the sky, but this time it was the slice of moon that hovered above us for hours and hours before sunset. The sky was clear, its color was deepening and the late afternoon sunshine cast a charming warm glow on the buildings running along Graslei facing West...




A lot of students hanging out, many brought their dogs and there were canine altercations at one point, but overall it was a great atmosphere...



Nearly 7pm and the sky is still crisp and blue as can be!


I love this shot of the boat full of people cruising along the Lys River:










I can't tell you how much I love the photo below, its colors and composition are pretty great. It showcases the unique design of each building stacked against the blue sky:



For a moment, I was fixated on the glowing reflection of the sun in that small round window at the top of the building on the left… 



8pm approaches and the shadows continue to creep further across the river and up the buildings...


How dramatic huh? I was hypnotized!  I watched and photographed the same scene every half hour or so in order to capture the creeping shadows...



At this point I was once again overwhelmed at how gorgeous everything looked in the late sun against that perfect sky. Each photo is so unique to me, I have trouble consolidating them for my posts!



This is what I look like when I'm totally happy, at peace, and in the throes of travel ecstasy...



A happy sleeping dog, before two giant German Shepherds came along and aggressively tried to tear hint o shreds...


There they are:


As you can see, the area along the river in this part of town was getting crowded very quickly. As the sun went setting, people arrived in throngs and congregated in lots of small groups talking, laughing, drinking, smoking... It was Friday by the way...


Meanwhile, we were happy to lounge around with the locals beside our bikes...


The lighting at this time of day made everything look perfect… I mentioned that already didn't I? :)



The shadows put on a real show for us!


    

I love the way the patches of sunlight highlight the people sitting along the river bank below:






This was one of the most relaxing days on our entire trip, and we met some really great people...



Of course, this post wouldn't be complete without another sexy European door knocker right? Right.



Aside from the bright sunshine earlier in the day, this was one of the most spectacular moments to behold the medieval buildings and their exquisite details… The setting sun cast a golden glow that made everything come alive against the sky!


It was just past 9pm when I took this photo, the sun sets deceptively late!  Oh who am I kidding, I wasn't paying attention to the time, I was lost in the timeless beauty of Ghent! ;)


Once the sun had completely sunk below the buildings, the peaceful glow of twilight descended upon the city...






I hope you enjoyed this post, I will be back soon with more on the beautiful city of Ghent...

In case you missed my last few posts about this trip, check 'em out here:
(newest to oldest)


(All images in this post are the original photographs of the author of this blog. Do not copy or reuse any images on this site without written consent from www.InspireBohemia.com)

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