We could write a million words about the architectural beauty of this city; others have. We could post a hundred pictures of elegant building and soaring towers. We’ve posted a few before. But, really, you should come see it for yourself!
Friday morning we set off for the Groeninge Museum. We’re big fans of the Flemish primitive painters from the 15th and 16th centuries but why they’re called primitive is a mystery. This area was fabulously wealthy from the cloth trade in that era and the beautifully detailed oil paintings are a wonder.
Here’s a detail from a larger work about St. Nicholas, the patron saint of bargees by van de Lucialegende.
Notice the guy sampling the cargo. A true boater!
After lunch it was off to the Gentpoort, one of the old city gates turned into an educational display about the history of the city’s defenses. Our trip to the roof was timed perfectly to watch a large commercial barge travel through the lifting bridge.
Turning the other way was a good view of a couple of the city’s many towers; the Saint Magdalene’s Church in the foreground and the Belfort behind.
After that is was general wandering about the streets, enjoying a beautiful day.
And of course, the famous Belfort.
One of the very nice things about the Coupure mooring is it’s calmness (and the discount we get as newly enrolled members of the Vlaamse Pleziervaart Federatie). As might be expected, the center of the city is mobbed by tourists, especially on this long holiday weekend. We think northern France emptied out for a few days. Luckily, the Coupure is just a couple of blocks off the tourist track. It’s very peaceful but just a couple minutes walk from the city sites. It’s also a very nice neighborhood.
A block of houses fronting the Coupure, just down from our mooring spot.
Not to say there wasn’t a bunch of activity in the harbor. With the long weekend there was much coming and going. When we arrived on Tuesday there were only about 6 boats but by the weekend the harbor was chock full.
That evening we enjoyed a very nice meal at a small restaurant just off the main Markt square. De Stove is a very small room, maybe 20 seats, with the wife running the front of the house and the husband in the kitchen. Some very interesting menu choices and a widely varied, reasonably priced wine list. Highly recommended!
Saturday morning at the ungodly hour of 9 am we pulled away from the dock and out under the bridge back into the Ghent-Oostende Canal. We would have to negotiate 4 bridges and a lock (it’s oval!) in the company of 6 other boats before we left the city for our next stop on the Plassendale-Nieuwpoort Canal.