Saturday, March 2, 2013

Is it Gent or Ghent?

Our family adventure this weekend was to the city of Ghent, Belgium, a mere 90 minutes away . . . we decided to get an early start and woke Liam up at 7:30 am and threw him in the car in his pjs -- this ended up being a great plan because he was in shock for the first half of the ride and didn't say much, so we were able to make it all the way there without so much as a peep. After finally finding a parking garage we dressed Liam in the car and headed out to explore the town. It was a pretty cold day, but at least it wasn't snowing!

Our first stop was the Gravensteen Castle, built in 1180 originally as a seat to the Count of Flanders and then eventually a courthouse and prison. We arrived at a perfect time before there were many visitors, and Liam was able to roam about as we took our time exploring the grounds. The first area we came to was an exhibition of authentic armor, weaponry, and torture devices used in Ghent.


We then made it outside to one of the decks, with 360 degree views of the town.

After making our way back down several winding staircases, we continued to look around at all the different areas of the castle -- it was really neat and Liam loved walking all around instead of being strapped in his stroller.

After the castle we had some time to kill before our stomachs started growling so we walked around some more, admiring the beautiful canals and old-world buildings (turned into shops, bakeries, and the like).

We made our way to the church and clock tower to look around and snap some pictures there too.

I think I have a picture of Liam chasing birds in at least five different countries!


clock tower
It was at this point that Liam began to melt down -- I think a combination of cold, tired, and hungry began to catch up with us . . .

. . .  and scene.
So we walked back towards the castle and found a place to eat lunch. It was yummy (especially the Belgian beer!) and we all were able to warm up a bit -- which totally turned my cranky son's attitude around! He was all smiles and kisses after that. : )

My one requirement before leaving town was that I had to get some Belgian chocolates to take back, so we found a little shop on our way back to the parking garage and I was able to get a little box of mixed chocolates. Pure heaven.

I would love to come back to Ghent in a little bit warmer weather, though we still enjoyed it as much as we could. It reminds me of Bruges, though bigger and more spread out. Overall, another great day with our little family!


PS -- The Dutch call it Gent, but in the Flemish region of Belgium, where it is located, it is Ghent. : )

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