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Review: Ghent



They Answered in English

  • By SilverTraveller Andre-van-Wyk

    27 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon

  • Sep 2012
  • Wife

129 people found this review helpful

The news that we were Silver Travel Advisor prize-winners set us off to a good start. The build up, anticipation and planning added enjoyment. But it was the visit itself that gave us greatest pleasure. Railbookers and Visit Flanders had put together a short break that leaves us with a strong desire to return to Ghent and Flanders.

The travel was easy for us, silver travellers. Eurostar to Brussels, and a quick change for the train to Ghent. We found the Ghent River Hotel in the heart of the historic centre without difficulty. The hotel itself is a converted warehouse, having served varying purposes over the centuries. It merits its 4* rating, not least with the splendid breakfast room with views of the city skyline and the river.

Visit Flanders had provided a bag-full of brochures and a Museum Pass, which not only gave access to most of Ghent’s museums and galleries, but also provided with unlimited local travel. Not that we needed it, as most of where we visited was within walking distance. We followed an easy trail, and popped into several special places en route. One of our favourites was Belfort, the city’s Unesco world heritage tower with its carillon of bells ringing out music across the city centre every 15 minutes. Some visitors climb the winding staircase. Less able silver travellers can take the lift. The views are fantastic. We even got to ring the set of now-unused bells on display, just tapping out with our fingers: London’s Burning. Oh, sorry, wrong city. Right next door is the famous van Eyck brothers’ altar-piece. The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb. A head-set with commentary is a must. On with the walk, but beware the tens of thousands of cyclists that invade all areas, pedestrianised or not.

Waffles and pancakes with a cup of coffee might do for a snack, but for a meal out we’d warmly recommend Café Theatre with its outstanding cuisine and warm wood-panelled atmosphere. We took our time over the evening meal and left for an enchanting walk along the canals and the river. These reflect Ghent’s buildings brilliantly lit up. That walk might even have been the highlight of our visit.

We were back on the river next day for a boat trip. Our guide did well using French, Flemish, German and English as we learned about this once-famous port. The speed of his commentary left us a little bewildered at times, but we got enough of the story to catch up on the details from our travel guide back at the hotel.

Language is one of the challenges Belgians face. Given our South African background and the similarity between Flemish and Afrikaans, we thought we’d give it a try. So we did. But invariably the reply came in impeccable English. We smiled and so did they.

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 1 Comment(s)

  • msercombe
    almost 9 years ago
    A most interesting account of 2 'full' days in Ghent. .....must really go there sometime.