Tuesday, 5 January 2016


On 22nd December we caught a local train from Brussels to Landegem where we were met by our friend Mark Chatel who is the closest to "Ghent Expert" as we are likely to find.  He drove us to the edge of Ghent where we visited "STAM", the Ghent City Museum, which is housed in a 14th century abbey.  This particularly fine building contains a great display of pictures, art works and material describing the history of Ghent back to ancient times.  There is also an exhibition on King Willem I, the Dutch King, and his relationship with Ghent and Brussels before Belgium became a separate country.

The first exhibit is a giant composite aerial photo on which we walked with covered shoes looking for familiar places.  There is also a model showing the layout of the old town.

The abbey's refectory was built in the early 14th century.

A few of the frescoes on the wall of the refectory.
This is not your normal concert horn - look at all the extra pipe work!

After a couple of hours in the museum we set off around the town, dropping in to the Christms Markets, and to one of the many speciality bars near the market to try some new Belgian beers (and there are hundreds just from this area).  The Omer was very refreshing.  Judy tried the Kriek Max Cherry beer.

Late afternoon refreshments
This was once the Guild Hall for the master butchers.
Now it is a gourmet centre and cafe.
The rivers and canals of Ghent are beautiful at dusk.

The entrance to the fish market.

The plague monument
The historic "Castle of the Counts".
 Mark's wife Ines and daughters Feline and Aurelie joined us for a superb dinner which included a beef stew flavoured with Belgian dark chocolate and dark beer.  The flavours blended well to produce a delicious but rich meal.   After dinner there was time for another stroll through the now dark streets to enjoy the sights of this interesting and attractive historic city before returning to Brussels.

Do Belgians cook it better, or is it ...?

Paul and Judy
January, 2016

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