My traveling buddies finally went back to Kuala Lumpur after almost 2 weeks of exploring Central and Eastern Europe, I extended my stay for another 4 days at The Netherlands. I visited Amsterdam and Den Haag. Amsterdam was an awesome city. I love the city, but visiting Gent – Belgium was really unexpected and a pleasant surprise! My friend whom I stayed with in Amsterdam told me that she wanted to drive to Antwerp –Belgium and brought me along to have brunch with her sister. It was bizarre for me that people would go across the country for brunch and come back haaa! After brunch, her sister suggested we visit Gent instead of Bruges or Brussels for a day trip. It was an absolutely great idea because I’m always eager to go to less touristy places. True enough this tiny town, an hour away from Antwerp was really worth exploring.
It was summer time; mostly students, local residents and a few tourist enjoyed the sunshine by the canal. They were reading, picnicking, or just chatting with friends. I felt the laid back atmosphere as soon as I stepped in the old town area and loved it. Gent- old town has similarities with Amsterdam. The Grand Canal is the center of attraction, and small canals have its charm; I found so many hidden treasures while cruising. I couldn’t make it to the magical boat cruise during my visit to Amsterdam, but I was glad I did it at Gent. Whoever visits Gent should do it once. The cruise brings you to a hidden tunnel that leads to the back of the Gent castle. The view was truly magical. [READ MORE]
I also noticed that Gent is very enjoyable place to shop. We did not have much time for shopping though, because it was only a day trip. However we managed to visit some great shops. We skipped commercial brand stores such as H & M, Zara and MNG; instead of we visited smaller shops within the smaller lanes. We spend a little bit more time at Zsa Zsa shop (http://www.zsazsarouge.be/). Zsa Zsa shop is great for shopping Kitsch stuffs. They have two shops on the same lane, one for kids and the other for adults. Also, along the lane is where most of the ‘Indie’ shops are located. I’m always keen to shop at such places.
After shopping, we stopped at the Beer garden to have Belgium beers; I had a hard time choosing. The list was very long, so I ended up picking one from the ‘beer for ladies’ list. I thought it was light but nevertheless still made me a bit tipsy! And I could not help to take a few more pictures of the nice shops around the beer garden.
Right beside the canal area, is the main square – a landmark of the old town. The building surrounding the square is amazing! I guess it is a residential area, and in between the quiet buildings we found a few cozy coffee shops. I thought those places are for people who really wanted to have quiet time and read a book. My Friend (who lives in Amsterdam) and I took a picture on this quiet lane.… yes that is me in the red coat J.
Lastly, for more detail information about Gent, I found this website. It has a complete guide. I really hope my glimpse of pictures about this town gives you an idea of how charming this place is. Enjoy!