A Weekend in Belgium: Ghent and Bruges

Belgium Break-Down
Where we went:  Ghent, Belgium and Bruges, Belgium
Cost of airfare:  Since we ended up purchasing two sets of tickets, this was quite expensive- 106 Euro + 170 Euro = 276 Euro, round trip
Cost of travel within Belgium: 43 Euro
Cost of accommodations:  About 75 Euro
Cost of food:  About 45 Euro, give or take
Total cost of trip:  Almost 500 Euro.  This makes me cringe.

I don’t even know where to begin with this post!  With over 330 photos and 4 days packed with walking, exploring, chocolate, french fries, waffles, and beer, I feel like there is so much to share, but I’ll try to keep it short and let the pictures do the talking!
After much back and forth, tickets, and money, Annie and I finally decided to go to Belgium this weekend.  We have a five day weekend and while we originally planned to go to Brussels and Bruges, due to a visa appointment Thursday and the recent news coming out of Brussels, we switched our plans and tickets and spent two days in Ghent and two days in Bruges.  It actually ended up working out, as I really really enjoyed Ghent.  Surprisingly, Bruges was not as impressive as I thought it would be and was my lesser favorite of the two!  Still trying to decide if “lesser favorite” is grammatically correct.  Is it?
Since we had a 6:30 am flight out of Madrid, we arrived at the Charleroi airport in Brussels quite early (this airport is outside of the Brussels center, as it is the random airport that RyanAir flies to).
How we got to Ghent from Charleroi:  Flibco bus, tickets purchased at the airport.
Cost of ticket: 17 Euro
Time: 1 hour
How we got to the hostel from bus station:  Line 4 tram
Cost: Free, but it’s really 3 Euro…we didn’t pay.
After a coffee and a quick bus ride,we were in Ghent before noon and after a little bit of confusion, we were checking into our hostel around lunch time.
We stayed at the Hi de Draeke hostel in Ghent and while it wasn’t incredible, Annie and I agree that it was clean, our room was sufficient and since we only shared the room with two other girls, we were pleased.  The room also had a private bathroom and breakfast was complimentary in the morning.  Also the staff was friendly and helpful.  My biggest complaint was the bed.  I think I’m easy-going with comfort, but I thought the bed was wildly uncomfortable and woke up the next morning sore and tired.
Our first day in Ghent, we walked around and got a feel for what Ghent has to offer.
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We drank expensive coffee…IMG_1551
Who wants real estate on my forehead?  Going for a great price!
We also ate French fries, and meandered through the ongoing Christmas markets.
Should I ask H&M if they want to feature me in next year’s Christmas line?
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In an effort to save money on what turned out to be a very expensive trip, I bought soup from people that were selling 1Euro cups to raise money to feed the needy.  3 cups of soup later…
The second day, we had more of a plan with different places we hoped to see and things to do.
We went to a flea market…
Had French fries (much better the second go around, compared to the fries we had the day before!)…
We had coffee at a highly recommended shop that had THE MOST AMAZING whipped cream on the coffee- called Mokabon.  Definitely stop in there for a cup of coffee and to warm up if you ever find yourself in Ghent, Belgium.
Coffee Mokabon Collage
We headed over to Graffiti street, which we learned does have a real name, but the locals only know it as “graffiti street”.
DSC_0175Graffiti Collage
It’s a street which the government has dedicated to legal graffiti, as an effort to minimize graffiti in other locations.
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I thought that the graffiti was not only artistic, but impressive and was a cool little place in such a seemingly-pristine town.IMG_1552 IMG_1573
Lastly, we went on a free walking tour of the city.
The walking tour was super interesting and we learned things we otherwise wouldn’t have learned, but oh my gosh it was so cold.  Unpleasantly cold.  Like I-am-miserable-and-don’t-want-to-be-here cold. But we eventually warmed up (thanks, Starbucks) and made the quick journey (by train) to Bruges.
Coming in the next post, since this one is getting too long!!

If you’re interested, here are a few other “travel in Spain” posts:


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