A Side Trip to Gent: Third Day in Brussles

Today we decided to take a side trip into the small town of Gent; known for its' fairytale-like atmosphere. It is in the Flemish Region of Belgium and has the most amazing castle that I have been in, thus far; the Gravensteen.

On our way to the castle, we made a quick stop to see St. Nicholas Church. I am guessing you might be sick and tired of seeing all of these churches, but for all of you, who are like me, here is a peek!

Just as we were about to reach the castle, the skies opened up and it began to rain. Gratefully we all had rain jackets and umbrellas. We ran to the castle, stood under the tower, and just as quickly as the rain began, it stopped.

At this point, we all needed the restroom, saw the WC sign, and headed that way. What we didn't realize was that when we exited the WC, we were on the opposite side of the ticket booth, and inside the castle. I guess you can figure out the rest from there!

I loved that the "in-house" / "out-house" led straight to the canal below!

The castle was so amazing and well preserved. There were tons of stairs which due to my lingering pleural effusion made climbing them a winded, slow process, but I did prevail!

The climb was worth every single, labored breath! The views of the city and surrounding buildings were phenomenal!

The castle dates as far back as 1180 and has been many things since; a court and a prison until the 18th century, and even a cotton mill, until it finally became a museum. The Gravensteen was the centerpiece of the Ghent World Fair of 1913.

As we were finishing up our tour, the rain decided to revisit us, so we chose to wait it out at the Restaurant 't Prison. We had an AMAZING burger and some Belgian Frittes. The "Fries" are just like the fries at home, except served with mayonnaise, instead of ketchup. I do not understand the draw, but what do I know?

Walking back through Gent, we enjoyed the scenery, old buildings, gargoyles, and street art. I am so glad, that it is so easy to pop here, there and everywhere, while visiting Europe. Their transportation systems make it so easy to go from one place to another. Visiting Gent was definitely a bonus.

By the time we got back to our hotel, it was happy hour at the hotel. We enjoyed hanging out and talking about our trip with Joe and Cindy, since they are headed to Paris in the morning, we were trying to remember our favorite places, foods, and landmarks, along with our least favorite ones, too. We will be staying in Brussels for one more day, then heading to Munich, and then to Paris before heading home.

Once we came back to our room, we saw that the large spire, which is visible from our room, had turned "red", so of course, we had to go and see what was going on at Grand Place.

We quickly headed out the door, and down the street to find the square, packed with people and a band, entertaining in the middle of the square. We inched our way forward and could see the band, marching formations while playing the "Star Wars" theme.

Once they finished their show, another band, with stilt walkers of all sizes, following behind began to perform. They were so talented, walking on stilts, really tall ones, on cobblestones, could not have been easy!

After the stilt walkers, another awesome band began to play, and then another, with rifle and flag twirlers, to entertain as well. After an hour or so, we gave up the ghost and headed back to our room. 

By then it was 10 pm and nearly 20,000 steps, so you know I was tired! lol

Night y'all!

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