Thursday, March 09, 2006

Quaint lille town

A couple of Sundays back, I found myself boarding a train to Ghent at the Midi Station of Brussels and ‘bout 25 minutes later, I land in the St.Peter’s station of Ghent.
Ghent is supposedly one of the lesser-known tourist places of Belgium but it seems to be a treat to the visual senses.Check these

Cathedrals, bridges and castles are not a novelty in Europe where most places are abundant with them.
But Ghent is different from the rest, in the sense, that there seems to be not many new buildings in this quaint little town and it seems as if you have turned the clock back by a couple of centuries and have entered the medieval times.

My account would be incomplete if I don’t mention this interesting anecdote – we in India generally think that live-in relationships are the norm in the West but this was disproved in the tram I took in Ghent (from the station to the City center).
There was this guy going around with a paper n pen - now it wasn’t any statistics he was collecting – this is what he said ‘My girlfriend is from Holland and I am from Ghent, I need your autograph supporting us to live together’ and I relented, common, it is not everyday that someone asks you for your autograph J

Having started on this romantic note, the first place I visited was the Gravensteen Castle.

Built in the 12th century, I couldn’t help but compare it to our very own Golconda Fort and was amazed to find similarities –the entrance of the forts, the steps leading to the towers etc. but Golconda is much bigger than this Castle. On display was a range of torture devices employed in those days(including the guillotine) along with the weapons of warfare.

After the castle, a 5-minute walk and I was in the midst of the beautiful river with buildings on either side – called the Graslei and the Koornlei –the gothic buildings and the bridge just add lot of character to the place.

And yes, the cobble-stoned streets are a pleasure to walk on but the sounds that cars make while passing over them can be quite irritating!

Taking a slow walk on the bridge I arrive at the City Center where the Belfry (Clock Tower), St.Nicolus and St.Bavo’s church are located. I just let out a deep sign to drink in the atmosphere of this amazing place where the only thing, which looked really out of place, was the McD outlet.

St.Bavo’s Cathedral has amazing works of art and houses the most famous painting –‘The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’, dating to early 15th century.

St.Nicholus Church, the older of the two, stands majestically reflecting the blue-gray shades of the stones it has been built with.

The beautiful stained glass paintings on the windows are worth spending hours just admiring them.

This little town can be covered on foot in a few hours with some additional hours thrown in just to admire the beauty of the place, so please do not give it a miss if u r in this part of the world.

45 comments:

Vicky said...

hey..
me first.

and lady..i demand pics..again.
pics with u in it. thats the only way we r gonna believe that u visiting all beautiful places in europe...:)

keep smiling and have fun.

Seashells said...

Love the travelogue... Keep 'em coming... :)

Ced Flanders said...

Hey, just passing by
I don't quite understand why that guy needs autographs to live with his girlfriend.
Anyway, I hope you're enjoying yourself in our country (visit Leuven if you have the time :-)

Shruthi said...

Great snaps, and cool write-up! Waiting for more! :)

Deppe said...

nice work!
What exactly was the dutch guy up to taking signatures? :-?

As for the McDs, Ive seen that too. They seem to pick up the right spots to spoil the harmony :-)

anumita said...

This is all so beautiful!! Have loads of fun babes!

rapunzel said...

awesome post....i can actually FEEL the quaintness!

Your Vakil said...

ahaa!! becoming famous, aren't we?!! signing autographs, et al :p great pics!!

RT said...

Lovely pictures. DOnt all these gothic structures take away your breath. Thats the whole essence of Europe!
Glad that you've found time to explore the country..
Keep the travelogues coming.

RT said...

Lovely pictures. DOnt all these gothic structures take away your breath. Thats the whole essence of Europe!
Glad that you've found time to explore the country..
Keep the travelogues coming.

Weary Hag said...

These are absolutely gorgeous pictures! Thanks so much for sharing. I especially love castles since they are rather sparse here in New England. We do have one, but it was built in the 1920s by a silent movie actor who often played Sherlock Holmes roles. He actually lost his mind as he aged and thought he truly was THE Sherlock Holmes! Imagine this?

BUT ... the castle he had built is on a mountain cliff at the side of a huge river and is all stone ... much like the ones you featured here.

Beautiful post!

zombiee said...

bravo great post mate.
its a pleasure reading your adventures.
I love the whole journalistic touch it has. Im not sure if thats intended. Looking foward to more exploits.
nice pics.

Arvind said...

that's the advantage when you travel for long term. one can visit not just the touristy places but also the other out of the way and equally charming places.
the post is not hurried and it has that lazy flow about it, probably just like the place you have described.

keyp writing,
Arvind

sinusoidally said...

Wow. It must be so nice to be doing all these things!

~RAUL~ said...

awesome...having a ball
good good...
and when is the return back ?

Swathi said...

@Vicky
i thot i posted a whole lot of pics...click on Check these link.

@Seashells
shall try and write more often..

@Ced Flanders
even I din understand the idea behind it, wonder if it is a done thing over here???

@Shruthi
thanks a ton n definetly therez a lot more coming up.

@Deppe
thanks dude n i bet Ghent is now big on ur list.
go for it...

@Anumita
u bet! i am having n shall have fun.

@rapunzel
thanks so much and yes Ghent is one place which is so quaint yet so charming.

@Mukund
when u said 'we' did u mean me with respect or u n me ???? ;)

@RT
yes that in a nutshell is indeed the essence of beautiful and lovely Europe

@W.Hag
unfortunately i havent had the fortune to visit the castle u have mentioned during my trip to New England - perhaps 'coz i havent heard much about it.

@zombiee
jus saw ur London snaps, had u bin there 2 weeks later, perhaps we wud've bumped into each other :)

@Arvind
actually i thot that my stint here is quite brief but then Europe is a place where a lifetime wud b insufficient to explore it.

@Sinusoidally
yes, indeed it is and how is ur ER coming along?

@raul
well hopefully somewhere by May or so, get ready with ur treat buddy :)

Kumari said...

Beautiful pictures and a cool travel diary. Pls to write more. But i shall first need to do some 'power-shopping' to stop feeling all J :p

Vicky said...

the pics r gr8 lady...

but next time make sure u r there in the pics too...:)

som said...

Really u have visited that place..

Many Thanks

zombiee said...

Im still here mate.. a whole two months later im still here.. :)

Shankari said...

Ah Ghent, sounds like fun n looks even better! Had fun autographing huh?
:)

Roy said...

Hi..

Uaaauuuuhhhhhhh......luckey.....picture are like postcard...yah 1st time on ur blog...nice to land here..
Roy

~RAUL~ said...

Babes....when are you coming back ?

And I hope you remember the t-shirt !!!

And we want a NEW POST and NEW PICS.....

NEW POST...
NEW PICS...
NEW POST...

Santosh said...

‘My girlfriend is from Holland and I am from Ghent, I need your autograph supporting us to live together'
-------------------------------------

Extremely interesting and romantic.. if only things were so simple for all.. *sigh*

Great pics!.. seems like a place which shud not be missed not only if u r in tht part of the world, but anywhere.!

Keep Writing!!

claytonia vices said...

You are so lucky to be visiting so many beautiful places!! :-) Keep blogging with those pics so that the not so fortunate among us may share some of your joy! :-)

Joe Tornatore said...

first time visitor. lovely pictures.

Swathi said...

@Kumari
thanx and believe me when it comes to shopping nothing beats US (Europe is nowhere close to it) so it is me who shud b J by ur P Shopping :)

@Vicky
see, i dun want the beauty of the place to be dimmed by putting my pic in front of it :))

@Som
indeed i have, watever made u doubt it..

@zombiee
okie, so perhaps we might bump into each other the next time i am there :)

@Shankari
Ghent is lovely to look at and it jus requires about a day to cover it on foot

@Roy
welcome to my realm and hope ud keep dropping by..

@raul
so r u all set to gimme a treat in tat new place u mentioned????
and i think i need a memory refresh on that Tee o:

@Santosh
things r never ever simple or rather all things r complicated before they become simple.now,does that sound simple?

@claytonia vice
well i dun believe as much in luck as in the choices one makes in life.luks like ur first time here, hope u njoyed the rants.

@Joe
ur book 'Stop and Smell the Silk Roses' sounds interesting..
thanks for dropping by.

Lalit Singh said...

nice pics and a good writeup... i ahd ghent n bruxxels on my list of next to visit places.

zombiee said...

It would be great to bump into eachother. In case you are keen to orchestrate it let me know.

Anil The Great said...

princess,

humbly, you seem to have a lot of fun.

personally, i do not get attracted to castles, and churches as such, i think i like nature, see, mountains and open sky.

BTW, nice pictures,nice hand on photography :)

-ATG

~RAUL~ said...

:( :(
That was the Barcelona or Arsenal Football T-shirt I was talking about...

pls pls pls get one for me !!!

Kartik Kannan said...

Hi,
I am Kartik Kannan at Sulekha.com (www.Sulekha.com) and I'm writing to you about your blog
Before I proceed, let me apologise for this unsolicited comment in your blog. I googled for good Indian blogs and found yours. Ok, now to why I'm writing to you, I'm compiling a list of the best writings in Indian blogosphere and showcasing them on Sulekha.com. Sulekha (means 'good writing') has been encouraging good writers and showcasing great writing for well over 6 years.
I want to include your blog entries on Sulekha by creating a parallel blog for you. By creating a parallel blog on Sulekha Blogs, you can dramatically boost the number of people viewing your posts and commenting on them.
To know more click here

Cheers,

Kartik Kannan
Team Sulekha

Kartik Kannan said...

Hi,
The link i had posted earlier is not working.Hence i have modified it and iam posting it again.Please Bear with us for the inconvenience.
To know more click here

Swathi said...

@Lalit
so how did u like them, if u've already visited.

@zombiee
looks like i cant make it, change of plans...

@Anil
actually i am quite bad when it comes to photos - all i do is to
capture the pic in the frame n click,click (but i do take 2 shots of those which i think are worth it!)

@raul
ok dude, now that u've reminded me,I shall try my best to get it.
n yeah u'd owe me a big treat on that one :)

@kartik
i am still wondering if it is one of those blog spams :))
'coz the link din work but then ur second update luks genuine enuf.
n wat can i say?? any free publicity is alwayz welcome :))

Arunima said...

Nice write-up and nice pics to support it.

Live-in relationships are no big deal nowadays in Indian cities too but it is still a case of to each, his/her own everywhere.

Mr. J said...

Ahoy. Did I see you mention Golconda fort? Hyderabadi kya? Europe kya? Kewl.

Twilight Fairy said...

Don't they speak German there? Much easier to pick up then French. But am sure you would have picked up some survival terms by now :)

Weary Hag said...

Where oh where ARE you? It's been awhile since you've posted. Just stopping by to say I miss your cool posts.

~RAUL~ said...

who is the eskimo in the pic ?

Swathi said...

@arunima
thanks for stopping by.
i have friends who are into live-in relationships in India but generally it is kept under wraps.

@me
yeah, i am a pukka hyd'badi at heart n jus waiting to get back to Hyd before those mangoes disappear.

@Twilight fairy
no, it is either Dutch or French in Belgium and Brussels happens to be the French region.

@weary hag
here i come, check my latest rant on italy.

@raul
this comment brought a big smile to my face :)

Quicksilver! said...

Swathi:)

Love your blog!It's super!:)))))

Am going to drop in for a visit regularly now:))))

Mayuri!

Swathi said...

@quicksilver
M! welcome ,welcome
n 'am glad u liked my blog (after tat fiasco of writing at Cafereti :)

Grey Shades said...

Hey some very good writing here! Loved the pictures :)

Swathi said...

@greyshades
thanks n yeah i seem to get better at them - the pics

Shankar said...

hey, nice post...very rearly i get to read a post where pics and written content complement each other very well