Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bent on Gent: Our Family Vacation Part 3

We were ready to hit the road after 3 nights in Brussels and checked out pretty early Thursday morning.  To our surprise, we made it to the highway without getting lost and were closing in on our next destination, Gent, within about 50 kilometers.   After booking our hotels and researching the destinations we realized that Calais, France (our final destination) might not have enough activities to keep us occupied for 3 full days, especially if the weather was bad, so we planned to spend our Thursday "morning shift" before Dylan's nap exploring Gent, Belgium.

I really wanted to check out the Gravensteen Castle, which is located in the center of the city and has a really cool medieval vibe to it.  The castle was built in the 1100s and is known as the "Castle of the Counts."  The castle was not "stroller friendly" and didn't look very compatible for a 2-year-old's energy.  It had countless narrow, windy staircases and lots of high ledges with no railings for Dylan to fall off of, so Bryan graciously took Dylan to a nearby park while I got to explore the castle uninterrupted.  

For a castle, Gravensteen isn't really all that big, so I was able to do a thorough tour in about an hour.  There was a huge room full of fighting devices (swords, knives, clubs, axes, hammers, armor, etc.) followed by an equally huge room full of terrible medieval torture devices.  And there were lots and lots of great viewing points along the tower walls to take gorgeous panoramas of the city of Gent below.

A view of Gent from one of the tower walls.

Thank you, stranger, for taking my photo.

Good ole' fashioned guillotine. 

Another view of Gent from the castle walls.

Gravensteen Castle.

Chapel room in the castle.

Spooky dungeon.

Gravensteen Castle 
Gravensteen Castle
After the castle tour I met back up with Bryan and Dylan and we had a really great lunch at a local cafe.  It was a rare moment where Dylan was peaceful in his stroller and we were able to enjoy our meal together.  We enjoyed Gent so much that, in hindsight, we should have left Brussels a day early and spent more time in Gent.  Regardless, we were glad we took the time to detour our travel plans for half a day to see this charming town.

Bryan and Dylan exploring Gent.

Beautiful view of Gent

More beautiful Gent

Gent, Belgium

Best lunch of the whole trip.
We packed ourselves back into the car, yet again, in the early afternoon and made our way down the road to Calais, France for the last 3 days of our trip.  

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