Thursday, August 1, 2019

On to Gent (Ghent) -- Thursday August 1, 2019

Another very long and enjoyable day. It is now 10pm and we have just returned to the boat. The bike ride was short because we had to get to the boat for lunch on board and our afternoon tour of Gent (I shall use the Belgian spelling -- we usually spell it Ghent). The weather was perfect for cycling -- sunny, cool and only mild wind. We rode through familiar agricultural land with lots of corn and horses. Then we came upon an area with lots of greenhouses where they were growing flowers and shrubs. Some, presumably, in the greenhouses, but we saw lots of plants growing in the ground and in closely packed flower pots. Here are two shots of a man weeding azaleas which are in flower pots -- thousands of them.

After lunch on our floating hotel, we transferred to a small motor launch for a narrated tour to the old city of Gent. It was about an hour and a half or two hour trip including several of the canals within the city. Our guide was very informative. After the tour, we were on our own for about four hours until 8:30 during which we were free to explore the city, have dinner, and, in my case, to take advantage of a good free WiFi connection in the Marriott for a phone call to Kathleen.

The City is full of remarkable old buildings. I took too many pictures to sort through this evening, so I picked just one -- the Gravensteen or Castle of the Counts.

For dinner, I opted to keep it very simple -- the famous Belgian frites, in this case served with a small amount of Flemish Beef Stew. And, of course, a Belgian Beer. I arrived there alone, but Jana joined me -- she had the frites with Indo Peanut sauce. 

The original plan was that we would return to the barge, individually or in small groups, by taxi. However, we decided as a group to re-engage our motor launch to bring us all back together. We left Gent at 8:30 in the same boat but with a different guide. He added a few new stories and then turned the wheel over to Luis (one of our guides) who added some stories of his own. The boat was then expertly brought alongside the quay by Jackie, another of our guides. 

Lest I forget -- here is the video of today's ride:

This is my 10th tour with ExperiencePlus, but it is the first time I have done the bike and barge or boat and barge option. It is really nice to be able to cycle in different places every day without having to pack and unpack each day. 

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