October 25, 2013
Day 1 Gent
Grab your favorite Belgium beer, pull up a chair and join me for Day One of Brooke and Frank’s Belgium Extravaganza. We arrived here today after an absolutely flawless and uneventful flight on Jet airlines. I highly recommend this Indian Airline. They could not have been friendlier and more efficient. We picked up our cute little Astro 5 speed vehicle and Frankster assumed duties as chauffer. We were greeted into the wonderful world of Belgium with dreary grey skies and a balmy 57 degrees. It has been raining here for over a month-so we were grateful to be spared from that as Frank acquainted himself to the trafficy roadways.
We are staying at Europa Hotel (http://www.europahotel-gent.be/en/ ) . It is a little off from the city center, a brisk 20-30 minute walk, but it is located right on the canal. It is on a bucolic, quiet suburban street, right next to an elementary school. It is modern, clean, comfortable and has free parking. Driving through the labyrinths of city streets was very confusing as we entered this historic city. But with Frank’s keen driving and our trusty Garmen we arrived in one piece.
When we arrived at the hotel, quite early, 4 hrs. earlier than check in-the hotel accommodated us and allowed us to go to our room. Both of us exhausted by the fatigue of travel we pulled the shades and slept for several hours. When we awoke, we made our way leisurely towards the city center. We followed the canal, walking along the water. Dodging bike riders, tram cars and automobiles. We sat waterside, taking in the briny smelling -glass like water, shimmering with lights of the Friday night bustle. College kids nearby drinking cheap wine and smoking funny cigarettes, blowing off week long stress. We made a daring move and decided to eat at a crowded charming Fondue restaurant called gent’s fonduehuisje (http://www.gentsfonduehuisje.be/). We were escorted upstairs through a narrow treacherous staircase that I would not want to negotiate after one beer. We dunked our crusty French bread into the bubbling vat of cheesy loveliness alongside deliciously, delicately sliced fresh fruit. Accompanying my meal of sloth was a tasty sparkling, alcohol free apple cider. Frank had the traditional Belgium beer. It was a unique meal, in a lovely setting. Having said that, we have mutually agreed we would only partake in this type of activity once a decade.
After maneuvering our way down the staircase of death, we ventured out into the streets of Gent (http://www.visitgent.be/en/home) Gent is a historic city rich in modern beauty and architecture. The tree lined streets, with leaf covered sidewalks are quiet with the exception of a speedy bicycler whizzing by. The 3 story townhouses with unique architecture, tease the observer with open windows-showing off the splendors of these modern beauties. Alongside an occasional castle shadows the street. It is truly a surreal environment, and I was not really prepared for the cultural eye candy.
Tune in tomorrow for more exciting Belgium adventures.
~Brooke and Frank~
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