GENT, Belgium – Happy Monday back home! Today is our first full day in Belgium and actually are only full day as we hit the road for France tomorrow morning. But it has been a very productive day thusfar.
The day started off with breakfast at the hotel and of course, the waffles were a very popular choice.
We met in the lobby at 10:00 a.m. where we were introduced to our tour guide, Mary. She took us on a two hour walking tour of Gent where we passed several chocolate shops (hopefully what I bought will last until Saturday so I can share it with my wife!), churches, a cathedral, a castle and may other stops.
For me, there were two favorites. The first was the Castle of the Counts which was very impressive to see. It overlooks the city right on the street and you can just feel the power of the people who lived in the castle must have had. While we did not get a chance to tour inside, it was still very cool to see.
The other stop that I really enjoyed was St. Bavo's Cathedral, which houses many art treasures. It is a Gothic style church and the one work that stands out above the rest is the world-famous Adoration of the Mystic Lamb painted by Hubert and Jan van Eyck. One of the panels in the painting was stolen in 1934 and was replaced by a reproduction. However, there is also a replica of the painting about 250 feet up on the front of the chapel which is undergoing some renovations. The same panel was stole about a week ago. Locals think it was swiped by university students as a prank.
There are also 444 steps that one can take up to the tower to get a view of the city, but we did not get to do that.
All in all, Gent is a beautiful city with a lot to see and do. We will have a pre-game meal around 3:00 p.m. and then head to Antwerp for tonight's game at 8:00 p.m.
Until next time…