Gent and Bruges

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November 16th 2013
Published: November 16th 2013
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We went on another guided tour today to the cities of Gent and Bruges - both located in Flanders region of Belgium (Gent in the east, Bruges in the west), and both important medieval port cities. The tours we have been going on are really nice, because they provide an overview on the area, and allow us to visit a few different places in one day. We started in Gent, which is the capital and largest city in the east Flanders province. Our guide walked us around Gent in a big square, highlighting the churches and the former castle of the Counts of Flanders. It was rather foggy while we were in Gent, so although the buildings and town were beautiful - pictures didn't turn out so great.

After about 2 hours in Gent, we headed to Bruges. To get to our first stop in Bruges (lunch!) we walked over Minnewater Lake, aka "Lovers Lake." According to our tour guide, there was a lover who threw herself to the bottom of the lake over scorned love. We went to a small restaurant Café Vivaldi for lunch that specializes in local food. Let me take a moment to say that food in Belgium is amazing! We had vegetable soup, warm garlic bread, steak in mushroom sauce, and fruit - yum! When we finished lunch, we went on a boat ride through the canal. The boat was somewhere between a motor boat and a row boat - very tiny, and (despite the chill) open to the air. The ride was very fun though - and the boat driver served as part driver, part guide and provided information on the history and pointed out significant sites. Bruges is a very cool city because the buildings are so old you feel as though you're transported back in time. We had the opportunity to walk through the main square, as well as have some time exploring the city on our own. I would love to spend a bit longer here someday - a few hours was not enough time.

We arrived back in Brussels at around 7:30, and opted to go to a traditional restaurant that the guide from our chocolate tour yesterday recommended. It is called Restaurant Vincent, and it is unique in that you have to walk through the kitchen to get to the actual restaurant. When in Belgium, you have to try mussels. I opted for the house dish, mussels in a poulette sauce, that were amazing.

Tomorrow we leave Belgium for our third country, the Netherlands.

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