Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ghent, Belgium

We spent 2 nights in Ghent, Belgium after spending one night in Apeldoorn, Holland, on the way down. Our goal--to explore a new area of Belgium, and try and buy as many beers as we can afford. Mission was accomplished.

Coming from Holland, Ghent felt like Hollands dirtier, scruffier, orphaned, seperated-at-birth, twin brother. Traffic was insane, there were hardly any bike lanes, and the lack of organization and signage struck us as unusual, being the neighbor to the overly ruled Germany, and the well organized and clean Holland. Our hotel was in the red light district area, so we saw some characters. Ghent is a beutiful medieval port town, and has some amazing buildings to look at while you drink the best beers in the world. We wandered all around and encountered some cool, hip markets, and an outdoor festival, and ate some great dinners right on the water. At the outdoor festival, they set up an area for kids to spray paint...awesome. Teaching them to tag so young!

OK, so the number one reason to come to Ghent (for us) is for the beer. Ghent is central in Belgium, so it is a perfect place to base yourself while finding the beers. Every market, store, or crappy convenience store in Ghent has beers that we pay big money for in the US. Bums are drinking Duvel, even! We went to a beer store sent from God above. It is called HopDuvel. Check out their website for their beer list. It was a hazy dream trying to keep all the beers straight in my head as we walked around this warehouse size room. They have nearly every beer that is made in Belgium, and for very good prices. I had a list of beer that I wanted, but I very quickly got disctracted by the variety and started piling them in. They had a staggering collection of Belgian beer glassware, which is necessary when drinking these fine elixers. We walked out of there with 80 euros of beer and glassware. I had some great helpers...

Sorry about that rotation on that pic...couldnt get that one to turn for some reason. So, yeah, it was a cool experience, and we have been slowly going through the beers. Lots of rare beers never seen in the US. A refreshing change after many months of German beers, which are good, but are nothing compared to the Belgians. We had a good time wandering the medieval streets, and going to the beer cafes. We did some long days of driving and walking around, and it really solidifies how lucky we are to have a good traveller like Mayzie. With the promise of a treat, she will do anything :)

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