On our third day in Belgium, we got up early to check-out of our hotel in Bruges and to travel to Ghent.
A cheeky doughnut for breakfast.
We took the train from Bruges to Ghent, which was a quick and easy twenty-five minute journey.
Once we’d arrived we took a taxi to our hotel; the Ibis Gent Centrum St-Baafs Kathedraal.
The view from our room of Sint-Baafsplein (Saint Bavo Square).
And of the Belfry.
Despite our room being quite simple, it was super comfortable and cosy. The hotel’s also in an excellent location as it’s near several main sights and the centre of the city.
After unpacking and resting for a bit, we headed out to explore.
Our first stop was at Sint-Baafskathedraal (also known as St. Bavo’s Cathedral).
St Bavo’s started off as a small and humble wooden building in the 10th century, before further construction transformed it into the large gothic-style building that it is today.
The most popular attraction inside the cathedral is the Ghent Altarpiece, which is in a separate room and can be viewed for a small entrance fee.
The Ghent Altarpiece is named The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb and was created by brothers Jan and Hubert van Eyck in the 15th century.
This incredibly large painting that consists of twelve panels, was the world’s first major oil painting and is described as an A-Z of Christianity with the mystic lamb on the altar being Christ himself.
In 1934 one of the panels was stolen and has still never been recovered, however a new panel was painted to look like the original so the painting looks complete. The case to find the missing panel is still open.
The images I’ve included are from the internet as photography isn’t allowed, but The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb is an incredibly detailed and beautiful painting that shouldn’t be missed.
I’d definitely recommend using the audio guide as it was fantastic at explaining the story behind the painting.
After an interesting time in St. Bavo’s, we headed to nearby St. Nicholas’ Church.
Work started on St. Nicholas’ Church in the 13th century to replace an earlier 11th century church.
St. Nicholas’ Church, St. Bavo’s Cathedral and the Belfry make up the famous medieval skyline of central Ghent.
The Belfry of Ghent.
After taking in some history, we walked around Ghent’s shops and canals, which still looked lovely despite the dreary weather.
We then visited the extravagant Former Post Office, which was in use from 1898-2001 and is now a shopping centre and hotel.
Before stumbling upon the Patershol district, which is a cobbled, quirky and artsy part of the city.
Pathershol is a historic area, which has small craftsmen’s houses from the 12th century and in the Middle Ages became a popular, fashionable part of Ghent. It’s now a mostly residential area, but also has lots of affordable restaurants.
After a lot of walking, we was desperately hungry and dived into Pizza Hut.
Our yummy food.
Bellies full, we returned to our hotel to rest for a couple of hours.
Before heading out for the attraction we came to Ghent for; the Lichtfestival (Light Festival).
Ghent’s Light Festival used to be a yearly event, but to save money is now only held every three years. It’s free to visit and happens over 3-4 evenings (except this year where it lasted 5) around late-January to early-February.
The light displays are placed in a loop around the city, which you can follow from maps given out. The walk is 6.6km (4 miles) and can completed in one evening or at a slower pace over a few days.
Museum of the Moon.
Arbre Magique like a lot of the light installations played music. Some videos from the Light Festival are on my Instagram page and I’ll be adding more in the future.
Urban Safari was an installation that resurrected animals that are extinct due to humans. It also showed elephants and other animals that are in danger of being wiped out by humans.
A still image of the video ‘The Gift’, which was my favourite piece at the Light Festival. We watched it several times as the music and video was powerful.
The Gift encourages you to think outside of the box, as what you’re seeing on the screen is only a framed portion of reality.
Ukiyo is described as a utopian city that comes to life.
We visited a few more light shows, before stopping off at a food stall for churros and beignets.
Then ended the night with a visit to the Holy Food Market.
The Holy Food Market is a food hall with restaurants and a bar, inside a 16th century chapel.
Us having drinks in the upstairs bar.
After a jam-packed day, we headed back to our hotel, ready for our second day in Ghent.