Favorite thing: Gent's old city is compact and easily walkable - although the cobbles can be a bit hard on the feet. All the main sights and places of interest are well signposted with directions on pretty much every corner. There's also plenty of easy-to-read city maps posted at strategic locations.
To the left of the main station hall you'll find both a manned facility and lockers for left luggage. The lockers are for short-term usage (up to 24 hours) whilst the manned facility can be used for longer term storage (or if you just prefer it for security).
I've only used the lockers and found them simple and safe. There's three sizes: small, medium and large. The small ones are spacious enough (and quite deep) for most purposes and cost, at the time of writing, 3 Euros - correct change in coins. The system is simple: find an open locker and put your bag in. When you close the door the light should change from green to red then you put your money in and the door locks. The machine issues you a ticket with a barcode and a pin number.
To retrieve your luggage simply scan the barcode on the scanner (marked AFHALEN) and the locker should open automatically. I assume the pin number is a back-up just in case the scan doesn't work.
The most common European emergency number 112 (following Directive 2002/22/EC: Universal Service Directive) and also standard on GSM mobile phones. 112 is used in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom in addition to their other emergency numbers.
Here are some useful phone numbers that you might need while in Belgium:
Ambulance / Firebrigade: 100
Missing children: 110
Mental problems/suicide: 106
Favorite thing: Start your walk through Ghent at the St Michielsbrug. This bridge spans the Leie River and provides beautiful views of medieval buildings and the three majestic spires: St Niklaas Church, the Belfry and St Bavo Cathedral.
Favorite thing: The Graslei is one of the loveliest old city quaysides of Ghent. The spectacular medieval guildhouses reflect beautifully in the water. From here you can also take a boat trip to explore Ghent by water.
HMS Fearless recycled by Van Heyghen Recycling
HMS Fearless was a Royal Navy ship which served from 1965 until 2002. As one of the vessels committed to Operation Corporate, the 1982 Falklands War.
It will be recycled for 100% in the "VH recycling center" located in the Port of Ghent
The Port of Ghent is an established industrial port, home to global leaders in the steel (Arcelor), automotive Volvo and Honda), forest products (Van Hoorbeke), chemical and energy industries(Electrabel), among others.
It is the first time that four harbours in Flanders held a so called "Open door- day" The chance to visit Ghent, Antwerp, Ostend and Zeebrugge (65.000 visitors in total)
Favorite thing: Ghent Bio-Energy Valley is a joint initiative of Ghent University, the city of Ghent, the Port of Ghent, the Development Agency East-Flanders and a number of industrial companies related to the Ghent region that are active in the fields of bio-energy generation, distribution, storage and use. Ghent Bio-Energy Valley promotes the development of the bio-based economy through collaborative programs
Favorite thing: The seaport of Ghent, with its rich history starting in the Middle Ages, has proven to be an important economic gateway to and from one of the most densely populated regions in Europe. Ghent is a multi-purpose seaport offering a choice of well equipped terminals for handling and storing a vast range of commodities and cargoes.
Same as everywhere in Flanders, Gent has a very juicy dialect.
Hoe zeg je in 't sappig Gents... (How to say in Juicy Gents . . . )
· Dag politieman, waar vind ik de Korenmarkt?
Hee, vuile fliek, woar es de Kurenmort?
· Dag juffrouw, mag ik een boterham met ham en eentje met hoofdvlees?
Hee loetse, geef ne kier nen botteram mee espe en ienen mee uuflakke
· Ik vrees dat ik een beetje dronken ben
'k Geluuve da'k een stuk in mijn valieze hè
· Waw, die dame heeft een wel indrukwekkende boezem
Jawadde, da wijf ee veel volk in de stoase
· Let op makker, of ik geef u een pak rammel
Past op appeltsoeze, of ik geef eu nen trok in euwe living da al euw meubels schief stoan
· U bent toch niet met mijn voeten aan het spelen, hé?
Eee moat, ge zijt er toch nie mee aan 't rammelen hé?
· Mag ik eens dansen met uw vriendin?
Past op, ik goa eu lief ne kier tegen mijne zielee trekken
· Jongedame, wat heeft u een mooi bh'tje aan
Jawadde, gij klein spuuk, es da ne schuune loezekabba diede gij aan et
· Is hier nog een stoel vrij voor mijn schoonmoeder
Es t er ier nog ne stoel leeg veur dienen verslunsten dahlia?
· Ik heb geen centen meer
In mijn slekkestekker zit er gien ballen ne mier
· Kijk eens wat een lange benen die schoonheid heeft
Ow zeker moatse, ge moet ne kier kijken doar, dienen eksternest hangt uuge in de buum zulle
· Mijn buurvrouw is een echte klikspaan,
let op wat je doet Oesje, mijn gebûurvrèwe es een echt commeerewijf, let op wa dadde uitspuukt
· De politiemannen van Gent zijn ware toppers
Vodde mee biene, da zijn de flieken van Gent!
· Stop uw krant maar in de brievenbus
Steekt eu gazetse moar in de boate
· Let op, er moet een fotograaf voorbij komen
Trekt eu gat in, dienen portrettentrekker moe passeren.
· Mijn echtgenote heeft een veel te kort rokje aan
Mijn treeze luupt were mee guul eur fuure bluut
· Die oudere dame lijkt me flink verliefd te worden
Oas een èwe schure in brande schiet, es 't er gien blussen ne mier oan
· Kom schat, we gaan naar huis voor een romantische nacht
Allez , treute, we zijme vuurt, ik zal eu thuis ne kier tuugen woar da het Belfort echt stoat.
If there are things you would particularly like to do in Gent during a winter/low season visit do avoid disappointment and check with the Tourist Office before your visit to make sure it will be possible.
The Belfry Tower is normally Open mid March to mid November 10am - 6pm.
We would have loved to have gone to the top ; the weather was so clear the views would have been exceptional.
We knew it closed for general visits in "Mid- November", but arrived 16 November to find it had closed just the day before - "mid" really did mean the middle of the month!
During closed winter months it is accessible, by arrangement, to organised groups only.
We wanted to see the Murals in the Crypt of St Bavo's Cathedral but left it until an hour before our departure to find that the Crypt is closed every morning for High Mass at 11 o'clock.
(Check the Notice Board just inside the Cathedral for details of Regular and Special services )
The Staff in the Tourist Office are among the most helpful and friendliest team we have met.
Their Office is in the Belfry,
Once a famous cinema....hugging and kissing at the backrows of the movies...not only on a saturday night.
Once upon a time we had about 32 cinema's in Ghent.
But time changes : The Capitole is renovated and became a cultural temple in Ghent
- Top live performances of local and international stars
Fondest memory: Just stay a while in this magnific city - you will be convinced and have fondest memories
Great pubs make Ghent even more attractive.
Fondest memory: VTer Sabsi picked us up at the Dusseldorf airport and we headed down to Im Fuschen, a local brewpub for a beery breakfast before heading to Belgium. It was pouring the whole way there and Doreen and I slept most of the way, having gotten little of it on our flight over from Florida. Once in Ghent, our drivers headed to a pub to meet up with another VTer Caro and we walked over to our Bed & Breakfast to drop off our backpacks and change our clothes. We met up the others and rather than having a beer of all things I of all people suggested we do some sightseeing before it got dark. Well, it was winter and it was already after 3 PM so I was being nice since my wife had never seen the Ghent, the Gothic capital. It had cleared enough for a few photos and we enjoyed our scenic if brief tour of the sights. We decided to grab some food and Sabsi and Thomas went to Bruges to get their room after one beer. After dinner, Caro, Doreen and I set off on a pub crawl that only I could organize and only Caro could navigate! The Hop Duvel is way off the beaten path but Caro found it easily despite the dark and dreary weather. It was unfortunately not as good as my first pass through town five years ago so we headed to new gem The Trappisten Huis and found it charming and well stocked with excellent beers. We finished up The Trollekelder which was fairly close to our B & B where Caro had wisely parked. She dropped us off as any great guide at an all too late hour since she planned on picking us up early the next morning for a day excursion to Bruges to meet back up with our other VT mates. Some 15 Belgian beers since our arrival along with a comfy B & B and sound sleep however short lived would be upon us soon.
On my first trip to Ghent I was amazed at the Gothic Architecture and on this second pass I was happy to show it to D. Neither of us was disappointed despite the often dreary weather. Someday I'd like to go back when the weather's better!
Fondest memory: Planning trips is one of the great joys of anyone that truly loves to travel. There are some I guess that would rather have someone else do it for them but to me; they are missing something in the process of turning dreams into reality. Prior to my most recent excursion to Belgium and Ghent in particular I was in my normal mode of finding places to stay and one place kept popping up. It was a great find five years earlier on my inaugural trip there but I shied away from it as I had spent that trip with another girl before I was married. My wife knew this and I didn’t want to stir up any problems when there had to be hundreds of other nice accommodation choices. Doreen started her own search and found one that sounded like a real winner. Though I knew she’s love the place I had stayed I knew it was best to give in on this particular occasion. Unfortunately her place was booked and as much as we searched there just didn’t seem to be anything that fit all of our criteria. Time was running short so we booked it and hoped for the best. As the trip drew closer I could sense Doreen’s apprehension and even I was feeling a bit anxious over our choice. We arrived in town on a dreary and wet day but it was easy to find the place even on foot from the center. The owner welcomed us in warmly and the flat presented itself as amazingly as I remembered it. Doreen loved it immediately and soon all of our worries seemed unnecessary. We set about making it “ours” as much as humanly possible but with so much to see in such a short period of time we found we never got to spend nearly as much time there as we would have liked to. We left three days later knowing that if we were ever to visit the great city again that there would be little question as to where we would stay. It was our flat now.
We rented a car and drove between destinations and ended up spending only one night in each place with the exception of Brugge where we spent two nights. There are benefits and drawbacks to every way of traveling, here are my thoughts:
Benefits-getting to experience an evening in each of the places we visited, Brugge in particular changed dramatically after the day trippers had left
Drawbacks-having to book multiple hotels, finding the hotels, repacking every night
Gent, at least on a map, looks like an ideal place to base yourself, in the center of many of the places we visited, Brugge, Brussels, Antwerp and Ieper, if we didn't rent a car, this would have been my choice of places to stay as most of the train journeys were under 30-45 minutes and relatively inexpensive.