Travels in Belgium: Gent (June 6, 2014)

Ghent

Attractions:

  • St. Bavo’s Cathedral and Van Eyck’s Adoration of the Lamb
  • City Hall
  • City Pavilion

During our travels in Belgium, we had a brief interlude in Ghent before we approached the capital, Brussels. As one of the largest cities located in the Flanders region of Belgium, Ghent is an important port and center of the flower export trade. Its medieval buildings and St. Bavo’s Cathedral are the main highlights.

City Pavilion, Ghent

On our way towards the cathedral, we passed by the City Pavilion—a relatively new structure of wood and glass that is used for concerts, dance performances, and markets. There is also a hidden café that is underneath the structure called the “Belfort Stadscafé en Stadsrestaurant.” Continue reading

Travels in Holland: Haarlem (May 29, 2014)

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Attractions:

  • Grote Markt
  • Frans Hals Museum
  • Molen de Adriaan
  • Kathedrale Basiliek St. Bavo [St. Bavo’s Cathedral]
The brave maid and her companion, Haarlem, Holland

The brave maid and her companion, Haarlem, Holland

In the early morning, the town of Haarlem awaits us. We arrive in the quaint town passing by a memorial commemorating the brave maid and her proud companion. Following the lazily, winding cobbled stone paths, we watch as store vendors clean their shop and creative restaurant artists doodle caricatures on the store windows. Then, we enter the heart of Haarlem—the Grote Markt (Big Market). From there, we take in the sights and sounds before choosing our next destination.

Haarlem is a short journey by train from Amsterdam (about 20 minutes) and is easily navigated by foot. Following the main street from the train station, several shops and small restaurants line both sides of the street as one goes toward the town center—the Grote Markt.

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The Grote Markt is the main square with the most important buildings of the town, including the town hall (see below), Grote Kerk (leftmost building in above image), and many restaurants for a savvy adventurer to try. On certain days, there are market days selling clothing and other goods. Unfortunately, the church was closed the day we visited so we could not explore the interior.
DSC05930 Continue reading