We spent six nights in this beautiful, underappreciated gem - also it happened to be during the Ghent Festival

Our apartment/hotel in Ghent was much nicer than Brussels. Very clean, breakfast included.We didn't use the kitchen much, just for yogurts and things like that.

Biking is huge in Ghent, it looks as though it's almost as convenient here as in AmsterdamPlayground in Ghent

We happened to arrive in Ghent in the middle of the "Ghent Festival" - a music and arts event in Ghent. They had some kids events, too.Cute small RV that I really liked

The canal close to our apartment

Really nice seating area just off a bridge we crossed frequently, to get into the old town.This is about as much of the police as we saw in Ghent. Even though there were huge, huge crowds of people, there were only a few individual police officers around - nothing at all like Brussels.

Rapping out of a window to the crowd

We took one of these tour boats

Scenes from the canal

Castle GravensteenNotice the gas mask on this angel

Rabot sluiceThis event mystified us. Something like a lottery/raffle, but nobody was writing any of the numbers down, or looking at any papers

On top of Gravensteen Castle.

Peter, posing nicely. I think I promised him extra screen time for good photos.

I saw this foldable canoe from the top of the castle - reminded me of my Orukayak. I looked up the name on the side, it turns out the maker is native to Ghent, and there's a Kickstarter campaign for it! Here's their website:

Lovely strawberries, ready for strawberry wafflesThe bridge next to our apartment is raised for boats

We're able to go by on the walking bridge

This is a Bombard, or medieval canon - the Dulle Griet

Streets were packed with revelers, we had a hard time finding a restaurant

So we ate at a "soup only" restaurant. Not Eric's favorite.This kids was really good on the accordian. Much better than the gypsies that play on the streets.

A huge fine for "peeing in the wild". Necessary, I guess, considering all the beer that was being consumed

Massive crowdsI wonder how the place looks when the Ghent Festival is not going on?

The next day, on our way to St. Peter's Abbey (Sint- Pietersabdij) - I wonder how long these bikes have been here?At St. Peter's Abbey they had an interesting audio/video guide that lead you through the whole complex

We took a rest in the beautiful medieval garden

They hire this hall out for events and parties

At the Ghent Botanical Gardens

SMAK - sounds like an acronym for an eastern Europen spy organization in a James Bond film. But it's actually the modern art museum (Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst)In the beautifully scenic ruins of St Bavo's Abbey, from the 7th century

We looked around for geocaches, and there was one right outside the abbey ruins, very well hidden. Peter found it.

Weird building - how do the windows work?This is the bike parking lot at the main train station. We rented bikes there - it was quite the ordeal getting them, the rental place was not well run.

We biked along a canal. Found this zipline area near a park.

There was some beautiful canal-front biking, with interesting houses the whole way

A ferry across the canal.

Walking back to the apartmentAt Konig Albertpark

On the way to take a day trip to Bruge, via train. Bruge, in contract to Ghent, had loads of tourists, many in large tour groups that clogged the roads.At the Begijnhuisje in Bruge

A boat tour

The little order kiosks are very popular at European McDonalds.At the gothic town square

Cute narrow houseThey had some outdoor toys at the folk museum we went to

...and a friendly cat

To make the city more interesting for the kids, I allowed them 2 extra minutes of screen time every time they found a year number on a building. This one is from 1672.

Beautiful canal-side balcony

These scallop shells in the street mark the Bruges section of the ancient pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela.

Back in the Bruge train stationIn Ghent again - around the Lieve canal area

Next to the Rabot sluice is a public housing high-rise, which is scheduled to be demolished

At Sint-Baafskouterpark

A great playground at Bijgaardepark

View from the bell tower in Ypres - destoyed in World War I (known as the Great War until World War II), but rebuilt

Walking around World War I battlefields - Klein Zwaanhof. The line of different color concrete marks where an old trench was located. It's now an industrial area - you can see a huge manure facility behind it.

The site of the Yorkshire Trench

One of the many WWI cemetaries around here. Millions of soldiers died in this war.

A trench near a large mine craterNearby - a huge section of vines with many tunnel spiders. Kind of creepy