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.
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 offers a beautiful mix of several centuries in building design and construction.
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.
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
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.
Many charming places to stop and enjoy the river ambiance, sunshine and a sandwich.
Some are cafés/restaurants.
Other sites are riverside seating.
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.
River/canal tours entice visitors and present a relaxing, informative and unique perspective of the city.
An ideal ambiance to enjoy a famous Belgian waffle; some say the best are found in Ghent.
Ghent has one of the most complex canal systems in western Europe, likely second only to Amsterdam.
A bicycle also encourages a popular experience: to journey and explore the area around the old town center.
Apparently, common afternoon sea-land and in-land breezes and weather shifts are anticipated in Ghent.
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 was yet among the most important urban centers of Europe in the fourteenth century when and where Charles V was born in 1500.
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.