Ghent, East Flanders, Belgium

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Ghent, largest city in the East Flanders province of Belgium, is a hidden treasure amongst the best known and most cherished of charming cities in Europe. Three well-known towers of Ghent are Saint Nicolaas’ church, the Belfry and Saint Baaf’s Cathedral.

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

The cobblestone streets border the canals where the rivers Scheidt and Leie converge. By the 13th Century, with 50,000 – 65,000 inhabitants, Ghent was one of the largest and most wealthy cities in northern Europe. It is now a port and university city with a vibrant nightlife.

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Ghent offers a beautiful mix of several centuries in building design and construction.

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

She acquaints her visitors with mellow brick facades, flaunting extraordinarily stepped gables, as she divulges treasures of Flemish art richly and confidently orchestrated into modernity.

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

The ambiance is relaxed and welcoming, proposing delightful views in every direction. The old center offers pleasurable walking over a small maze of cobbled streets.

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

The shopping streets are lined with mansions and majestic civil and religious buildings, and many restaurants border the scenic canals for comfortable and casual dining pleasures.

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Many charming places to stop and enjoy the river ambiance, sunshine and a sandwich.

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Some are cafés/restaurants.

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Other sites are riverside seating.

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

The Great Butchers’ Hall dates to the 15th century when markets and meat halls were consolidated in indoor market places with centralised sales. The special Ganda hams hang from the rafters.

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

River/canal tours entice visitors and present a relaxing, informative and unique perspective of the city.

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

An ideal ambiance to enjoy a famous Belgian waffle; some say the best are found in Ghent.

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Ghent has one of the most complex canal systems in western Europe, likely second only to Amsterdam.

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

A bicycle also encourages a popular experience: to journey and explore the area around the old town center.

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Apparently, common afternoon sea-land and in-land breezes and weather shifts are anticipated in Ghent.Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Ghent is home to the commanding Gravensteen castle (above) and the splendid 91 meter bell tower/belfry behind the cathedral (below), which is listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site.

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Ghent  was yet among the most important urban centers of Europe in the fourteenth century when and where Charles V was born in 1500.

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

Ghent, East Flanders province, Belgium

No going back.

“You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.” ~ Maya Angelou

Charles V (Spanish: Carlos; French: Charles; German: Karl; Dutch: Karel; Italian: Carlo) (1500-1558), at 16 years of age in 1516, inherited Spain from his grandparents. They were King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, the infamous monarchs who united Aragon and Castille and colonised the ‘Americas’. Then, at 19 years of age in 1519, he inherited the Holy Roman Empire from his paternal grandfather Maxmillion I (grandmother, Mary of Burgundy).

Alrighty! These historical tidbits come precisely at election time, and simply are offered as a small dose of lighthearted perspective: We’ve come a long way, baby! Have fun when you vote for your favorite candidate.

And remember, it is not the ‘nature’ of life to move backward, nor tarry with yesterday.

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” ~ Bil Keane

And please, do take note: As arguably the most powerful monarch in Europe ever, Charles V was ruler of both the Spanish Empire from 1516 and the Holy Roman Empire from 1519, as well as of Habsburg Netherlands from 1506. And yet he was unable to take over the world!

So take it easy. Generally, things always somehow work out for us in our world.
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