We saw weddings in Gent, Brugge and Brussels, none of which took place in a church. Here in Gent we saw the bridal party posing for pictures after emerging from the Stadhuis (town hall). We do have non-religious civil ceremonies in the US that are performed by a justice of the peace or other government official so perhaps that was what we were witnessing.
Even if you don’t normally drink beer I would recommend that you try one or two while in Belgium. The variety is huge, and with a bit of help from a friendly waiter (the ones we met in Gent were unfailingly so) you should be able to find something to your taste. After all, when a bar can claim to be a “Bieracademie” and offer 250 varieties (listed in alphabetical order to make it easier to find your favourite), there has to be something for everyone.
The beers I sampled in Gent were:
- Petrus blonde (my favourite of the lager styles I tried)
- Leffe blonde (also very good)
- Bavic (another lager - OK but less good than the above, I thought – though cheaper)
- Barbar Winter Bok (a warm dark beer made with honey but not as sweet as that would suggest – my very favourite)
If you’re looking for a good dark beer, a friend who was with us really liked the Petrus Brun which might be more readily available than the Barbar, while Chris and I have enjoyed Chimay Bleuw on several occasions. And the website below has loads of other suggestions.
Another beer that is popular and made by a well know brewer is Leffe. This was a new type they had just come out with while we were visiting, the Neiue Leffe and it was just slightly stronger than the regular at 9%...
I met Sam in the pub Saint-Amour near the Castle of Counts and during the medieval contest in april 2005. Very interesting to meet this guy, manager of the club "Gentsche Gezellen" and telling me all about clothing, weapons and furniture of the past.
In August 2006 i visited "Gravensteen" again - the festival was better than the previous one - with a lot of mediavel music.
It is not exactly a cultural guidance, but you may benefit of this tip if you intend to visit Belgium. Enjoy a typical local meal "Gentsche stoverij" and a famous Belgian beer
But even more ...
We have not only the best chocolate and waffels, we also have the best pancakes and warm applepie with cream and ice.
This all together with a banana milkshake, coffee or even a glass of water. Just delicious.
Ghent is Belgiums biggest student town with more or less 50 000 students who study at the university or at other schools for further education... Most of them live in Ghent during the week so you can see a lot of young people in the city!
The academical year always starts in the beginning of October and if you wanna see some crazy students I strongly recommend you to have a look in the Overpoortstreet, especially on Thursdaynights...
Gentsche Fieste anno 1800
The Kouter - a square in Ghent Center was famous for it's Gala 1800 ball.
Most of the visitors were dressed in clothes deo dato 1800 - dancing on the old fashioned way - but a lot of participants were famous - like the mayor - politicians etc.
Not at last - on the other picture - three famous VT members - March 2006
I think the most visited place during the GF !
It is located in front of the "Meathalls" called -"Vleeshallen" in the Center of Ghent.
Near het Galgenhuis - the smallest pub in Gent and besides "The house of beer - at the Waterfront "
Different kinds of "jenevers can be tasted - not cheap (about 3 euro/can) - but the atmosphere is unique !
BTW Het Galgenhuis was that time the last stationary for prisoners, before they were hanged (I'm wondering if they could had a last jenever before ...)
The most well known article hanging from the ceiling of the Dulle Griet is a wire basket with a bell attached to it. Look closer and you will see that it has a pulley attached which runs behind the bar. For about 9 Euro they will serve you with a 1.2 litre MAX house beer which comes in a large Kwak style glass complete with wooden stand. There is a catch though because as a ransom for the glass you will have to surrender one of your shoes which gets placed in the wire basket and hauled back up to the ceiling. You get your shoe back when you return the glass intact. It is perhaps a bit of a tourist ploy but I suspect it brings in a few customers, it certainly prompted us to join in the fun as the pictures show.
A word of warning, it is difficult to drink out of these glasses so unless you want to risk walking home with one shoe don't try it after a long drinking session.
Ghent is the historic capital of Flanders. When Flanders was an independant county (from 864 untill 1405) the capital of this former country was Ghent. That's also the reason why there are so many historic buildings in this city. The castle of the counts is one of those buildings referring to the interest of this city in the past. Since 1830, after Belgium became independant from Holland, Ghent became an important port of the new state, Ghent is the 3th largest city of Belgium with 250 000 inhabitants.
Belgium is difficult to understand for foreign visitors, this small country is divided in three regions: Flanders (Vlaanderen), Brussels and Wallonia (Wallonie). The people in Flanders speak Dutch (Flemish), Brussels is the billingual capital and in Wallonia they speak French (in the east there is a German-speaking minority). There are 10 000 000 Belgians, 6000 000 are Flemish (60%), 3900 000 Walloon (39%) and 100 000 Germans (1%). There is a federal parliament but the three regions have also there own parliament.
Every year in October, Ghent celebrates its own international film festival. In 2003 it was the 30th edition. Ghent already welcomed some well know actors or actresses like Jane Birkin, Sandra Bullock, Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Andy Garcia, etc.
In 2005, it'll take place from the 11th-22nd of October.
The Gentse Feesten are a "monument" in Belgium. Every year, in July, the city fills its streets with concerts, workshops, street animation,liquor and a lot of people!
During ten days, Ghent doesn't sleep. Day, evening or night: there's always something on.
If you're in Belgium during that period, than you simply don't have an excuse to miss it!
In 2005 the festivities take place from the 16th until the 25h of July.
Very strange... After we left the bar, my friend needed to use a restroom and said we should look for one. Our local friend pointed out that there are urinals on the sidewalk all over the city. I've never seen this anywhere before. Weird.
Get married - in a dress of pure nature, like Adam and Eve, more than 2000 years ago.
Today and in the next future, Ghent is internationally renowned because of its quinquennial flower show "The Ghent Floralies" the "International Film Festival of Flanders", the Festival of Flanders for Classical music, and the Municipal Museum for Contemporary Art (S.M.A.K.).
Any reason not to visit my hometown?