Ghent, Belgium

Our first day out in Ghent was Wednesday 1st.  It is Labour day in Belgium and a national holiday.  There were various parades, protests, political marches and live music on in the town, so we had all the action in one day!  We were treated to a live classical music concert at Sint-Jacobs. We visited the Castle Gravensteen, where we had the most entertaining audio guide ever – Informative and hilarious. Think Henning Wehn and you won’t be far wrong.  Lunch was massive bowl of Spag Carbonarra for T and traditional chicken stew for S near the castle. Lunch was accompanied by a Chimay Trappist beer – White for T and Blue for S. Selina might just be getting into hopped beers! (Thanks Jerry for the suggestion!)  The afternoon was completed with a walking tour of the town taking in some ore of the wonderful brick based architecture.

Day 2 was pretty damp.  We visited the Industriemuseum where we learned the industrial history of Ghent and specifically the textile process.  The museum has quite a few fully working machines. Earplugs are provided – although the day after labour day was quiet so the machines were not running.  The industrial revolution and the textile industry are inextricably woven together (see what we did there?) and together with the Jaquard concept of programmable cards, you can see a lot of the modern world buried in the history of cotton and textiles in general.

Also we visited the Museum Dr. Guislain at the hospital campus.  This is an eclectic mix of art and the history of treating mental illness in Ghent.  Pretty interesting stuff. We also had another wander around the town.

Celebrating a small milestone today – Sel’s bike odometer rolled over 500 miles, so she has done pretty well to have gone from not having been on a bike for 40 odd years to having ridden 800km.  Great stuff! The size of mothership means that we can’t really take here into town without a lot of planning – parking is a PITA. So the bikes have been invaluable – we can just leave MS at the campsite or aire and take the bikes into town to see what there is to see.

One bike related thing we are having trouble getting used to in Belgium is that scooters are allowed to use the cycle paths.  We’ve jumped out of our skins a few times when scooters have been coming straight at us 🙂