Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bike and Barge: Day 2

7/27 Ghent to Dendermonde, Belgium. Sail to St. Amands. 52km.

 After breakfast, we got on our bikes and rode through the ancient cobblestone streets to the city center of   Ghent. Ghent is the capital of East Flanders and in the Middle Ages was one of the most important cities in Europe. We spent over an hour walking around the city, marveling at all the remarkably preserved and intact medieval architecture.

Our route largely followed the Schelde river. We took 2 ferry rides in the morning, crossing the river first one way and then back to avoid trail construction. Barry and Nick were busy showing off on their e-bikes and generally having fun. We stopped at a castle near Laarne, where we had lunch and then stopped at the village of Donk for ice cream. 

Our final stop was in the Flemish city of Dendermonde. We toured the famous Dendermonde city hall and learned of the devastation of over half of the city's housing and archives by bombing and burning during the 1st World War.

After joining back up with the barge, we sailed to the little town of St. Amands for the night.

Markus served us a supper of puff pastry with goat cheese, salmon, and pecan pie.

After eating, Piet took us to the lovely art gallery of the sculptor Joris Maes. We enjoyed our tour and Joris's rambling dialogue about all of the meaning and origins of the design of the beautiful and interesting building that housed his studio, and of the 13 year battle, he had with city officials over its construction. Susan ended up purchasing a beautiful necklace of lapis lazuli and mountain crystal while we were there.

St Bavo's Cathedral, Ghent.

I would like to know this story.

Canal scene in Ghent.

Gravensteen Castle (Castle of the Count) built in 1180 by Philip of Alsace.

Medieval buildings in Ghent.

In front of Laarne Castle.

Annette and Tracy on a ferry.


Joris Maes, artist, sculptor, and creator of an eccentrically beautiful studio in the tiny village of St. Amands.