THE GREAT AMERICAN VACATION
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Gent's old town has been almost totally restored, and it now has the largest pedestrian area in Flanders. Take care as you walk along cobblestone streets—it can be tricky if you wear high-heeled shoes or open sandals. But the views and the sights are well worth the effort of maneuvering over difficult terrain—the Graslei is as pretty a street as any in Europe.
The gray-stone city center
looks like a puzzle piece, surrounded as it is by the river Leie, its tributaries, and canals. Although many people live and work in this area, most reside nearby. One of the nicest neighborhoods to explore is the Gravensteen (also known as Patershol) area, once the residential quarter for the textile workers from the Gravensteen. Its layout is medieval but its spirit is modern—the streets are now crammed with chic cafés and restaurants. It's fast become the in place to live for well-off young couples. Gent has also carved a niche for itself as the unofficial capital of Belgian beer. Those in the know say that it has a better concentration of excellent beer bars than anywhere else in the country.