2002 Letter from Ghent
To 2005 letter from Ghent
 Easter is a two-day holiday around here. We left The Netherlands on Monday morning and drove the 2-3 hours to Gent in Belgium. That day there were lots of caravans (small trailers) in the campground. Now it's nearly empty! It’s a terrific campground. Among its wonderful attributes: good facilities, including a dump for waste water from the RV holding tanks, a nice restaurant, a grocery and a shop selling frites ("french" fries). In fact, it’s so nice that we’re staying in this campground tomorrow and we’re going to take the bus to the station and the train to Brussels tommorrow. Why struggle with a new place when Brussels is only 40 minutes away by train!
 
Bought gasoline for the first time since we got here. It was, as Ron says, a thrilling experience. We bought 10 euros worth of gas (about $9) in Holland at 1.17e per liter (which works out to about $4 per U.S. gallon). Then we bought another 30 euros worth in Belgium at 1.01 per liter (a bargain), for a total of about $36 U.S. This brought our 12 gallon tank up to about ¾ full! Of course, for this $36 we’ve been to Zeebrugge, Brugges, and Tilburg. It’s a good thing distances are smaller in Europe.
 
Gent is another medieval town. Lots of canals (we took a boat tour), an inordinate number of cathedrals including one which boasts a van Eyck masterpiece – a twelve part altar piece that is truly a thing of beauty. One of the panels had been stolen in the 30’s – and never found – so they have a copy of it but the rest is the original and, after standing there for 30 minutes, we now know more about it – and Catholic theology – than we ever wanted to know. The big painting by P.P. Rubens wasn’t bad, either.
 
Buildings on the canals range from the 11th century to somewhat more modern. All quite interesting and often beautiful. Huge 11th to 13th century castle of the Count of Flanders proved very interesting although the inside displays rather upsetting. We really didn’t need to see a guillotine – or all the other instruments with which man displayed his inhumanity to man! But we enjoyed our tour of the Castle Gravenstein – and of the 13th century children’s hospital which is now a folkways museum, had our coffee and pastry, walked many, many miles and even had time to find an internet shop, where Ron deleted 140 messages from his e-mail account.
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To photos of Ghent Cathedral
To photos of Ghent City