Another year abroad, means exploring a new place for the festive season. Spending Christmas in Belgium’s most pretty and historic town was definitely the right answer. Ghent is filled with many canals, gingerbread architecture and massive Christmas markets. Fortunately most attractions were still open Christmas Eve, which allowed for the chance to explore and still be festive!
Saint Bavo’s Cathedral
The largest church in Belgium and probably one of the most famous in the world. St Bavo’s Cathedral holds the famous painting by Van Dyke, known as “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb”. This big stone Cathedral takes up the main square of Ghent, along with the Belfry and St Patrick’s Cathedral. It’s amazing architecture will have your jaw dropping to the ground. Seeing the adoration of the mystic lamb definitely was a once in a lifetime opportunity, especially to see such a famous piece of artwork at Christmas time. You can easily spend an hour exploring this glorious place of worship.
The Belfry is the highest view point of Ghent that offers fantastic views of the town, Cathedral and many churches. It’s definitely worth the climb on the narrow twirling stair cases and the no room to move view point. Probably not one for those how are afraid of heights.
The Design Museum
Something a bit different. Ghent has many museums, but unfortunately a lot of them were closed except for this one. The design museum had an interesting exhibition occurring about robots. It started off with some hilarious statements, and then you realise robots have many different definitions. You have to develop your own personal opinion of what it means to you. It can be quite creepy in the end.
Midnight Christmas Service in St Bavo’s Cathedral
I have never done midnight mass before, so this was a first for me, and why not in a marvellous church in a foreign language. It was truly a magical experience and something I will remember about this Christmas for many years to come. (even though it was absolutely freezing inside!!!)
Boat tour of Ghent’s canals
Going around on Ghent’s canals on Christmas day was very picturesque. When the town was first founded, it is how the locals did all their trade. This meant it attracted more people to the sleepy little town. From this it got one of the world’s oldest universities, and is still a thriving city today.
Christmas markets, mulled wine and Christmas carols
It wouldn’t truly be a european city if it did not have a large Christmas market! You can always find your local goodies. Such as warm accessories, hot chocolates, mulled wines, beer houses, rides, many food stalls and other homemade goodies!
Just because it’s bright, colourful, bold and who doesn’t like to get laneway pictures?