Sunday, July 21, 2013

Tour of Flanders (Part 2)

(part 2)

Train travel and backpacking around Belgium and then to Amsterdam worked out well.  Trains are efficient and tight to a schedule with good connections.   Sometimes crowded in 2nd class (people spilling out in the area connecting the trains and sitting on  the stairs of double decker cars) so we learned to get 1st class tickets whenever we were changing location bases with the big backpacks, but on day trips 2nd class was fine.    Sometimes the conductor knew limited English but the ticket agents, like most people in Brussels, Flanders and Amsterdam, spoke better English than me.     One ticket agent who remembered us from the day before was stoked that we were going to Oudenaarde--"oh you must be going to the Tour of Flanders Museum, it is a great museum" she excitedly proclaimed.

In my opinion Gent was the best--lots of small city activity with picturesque old buildings and canals.  Brussels and Brugge tied for 2nd--Brussels being a nice city, Brugge a smaller scaled Gent.   Amsterdam disappointed.  It has less people than Brussels but was much more crowded.  I don't know if I expected to see windmills along the canals (there are none of the latter) but much of it reminded me of SF's Civic Center area or NY's 42nd street.  Though many buildings from the 1600's it never seemed as old as Gent, Brugge or Brussels.  While Brussels and Gent seemed lively at night Amsterdam was rowdy.  (Can you consider 10:30 as nite? as the sun was first setting)

Photos from Gent

The ticket collector
Gent Moorish looking train station (can someone say Opa Locka)
Picturesque canals throughout Gent

Good news--Gent has their own Mannekin-Pis though he is not squirting passer byers.

Is this a modern art version of Manneken-Pis?

Scenes around Gent
Something looks out of place here--I just can't put my finger on it.

Any town with a belfort (bell tower) is a plus.   I liked Brugge's gothic tower better and you could cheat on this one as there was a lift half way up.  Both in Gent and Brugge we got to the top at about 11:45 and could hear the noon bell symphony up close.
Flanders windows on the Belfort.
View from the top.

I thought this a strange statue--the peasants begging the two noblepeople who couldn't care less.

Outhouse for guys.

Design museum continues on the bathroom theme with a roll of toilet paper outhouse

The is a small castle in the middle of Gent.


Bike shops didn't have alot of swag but this one has a bike museum in its basement.

Street scenes with bicycles.  No helmets--ever.

Can I get cycling shoes with those heels?

Gent solved any graffiti problem by designating one street as Graffitistraat where they encourage it.

Young or old people get dressed on their bikes


No comments: