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Trip: A weeked in Ghent Date: 25 – 27 November 2016
Route: Delft – Roosendaal – Antwerp – Ghent
Transport to Ghent: Train Transport in Ghent: Tram, bus, walking
Company: Aegee Delft Stayed the night at: Hosted at someone’s house Highlights: Gentse Gruut Brewery
Faraway places with incomprehensble languages, white sand beaches, never-ending rainforests or fields of eternal snow are the dream of any traveller. However, sometimes we should not forget to explore the gems closer to home. Especially when you are working or studying fulltime it can be hard to travel as often as you want and as far as you want. The positive side of this is that you start appreciating what lies more at reach. One of these destinations for me was Ghent, in Belgium. Of most destinations I go to I have certain expectation. I do my research well and know all the things I want to do and see. When I meet people who did things that weren’t yet on my list, that list will just expand and expand. For Ghent this wasn’t the case. Just another city not too far from home where they brew good beers. Alright then. However, Ghent managed to positively suprise me. For example, how many cities have a castle right in the middle of it? Or that sweets exist that you had never heard of before? Or that it is possible to brew beer without the use of hop?
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To all Urban Explorers, adventurers, backpackers and everybody else who might be interested in beautiful, abandoned places. Please pay close attention, as this beauty unfortunately won’t stand for much longer. It is a shame, breaking my heart, but the beautiful Château Miranda will be taken down soon. For everybody who can still quickly get their ass over there, please do and for everybody else, this page will just be in rememberance of one of the most beautiful places that I have ever visited.
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Exams and a study-related excursion have prevented me from writing lately. Such a shame, as I was already running behind on schedule. I am not mentioning this by means of an excuse as to why I haven’t posted lately, but because the study excursion turned out to be a lot more succesful than I had expected. Not only study-wise, but also environment-wise have I been amazed.
An in-depth review of the trip will follow under the correct country-headers, but I wanted to used this post both as a sneak preview as well as toto express my amazement of how close you can live to beautiful nature without even knowing about it. Because I study applied earth sciences, the trip was focussed on the geological aspect of the things we got to see. However this was combined with walks through the area that I would recommend to anyone with the slightest interest in hiking.
Just briefly look at the following photos. Where would you think they were taken? I am not sure what I would guess, but I would certainly not guess it right.
The colour and shape of the rock formations, combined with the contrasting blue sky that we were very lucky to have would never give away that the photo on the left was taken in Luxembourg and the right one (although you might have recognised that from a Dinant postcard) in Belgium. If I hadn’t taken these photos myself I wouldn’t have believed it. The larger picture above wasn’t taken by me, but I was there when it was taken and that one too was really taken in Belgium, despite the alien-like atmosphere it has to it. The region in the Ardennes is eally interesting to rock-climbers too!
We also found volcanic deposits in the Eifel, Germany, ordered as if someone had been playing with coloured sand like this:
Amazing isn’t it! Okay, I can understand that rock formations might not be the first thing you look at when you’re walking around an area and I therefore won’t bore you with my interprations of how they formed, but these special outcrops are so nice just to look at and would absolutely catch my attention, even I would not be studying geology. Some rocks even contained large mineral crystals that were absolutely beautiful and that you can sometimes buy on those markets, how cool would it be if you found a souvenir like that in the wild?!
Yet another little discovery I made during the same trip is not another rock, or hiking area, but a book. Yep. Not for everybody, as it is in German (I don’t even speak German properly, but I bought it anyway, because it is such a fantastic guidebook, especially for hitchhiking trips). The book contains 24 European countries, complete with maps (not detailed ones, but they have all the highways on them) and descriptions of hotels, hostels, bed & breakfasts and guesthouses on the way. This means that you can look up a nice place for a stop when you’re driving on the highway and will want to stop after +- two more hours of driving. Handy when on a roadtrip, but near essential when your hitchhiking without having a clue when you will get a ride to where and when you’ll need a place to stay for a night.
All in all you might wonder why I am so enthusiastically speaking about German books and places that are close to home to me, but might be miles away for you. This is because it is not necessarily these places that are so amazing. It is more that I’ve been living only about a three-hour drive away from these places forever and have flown miles to enjoy the wonders of the other side of the world without having ever seen what is just around the corner… It hasn’t been until the last few years that I have taken an interest in visiting countries and places closer to me.
There is so much to discover and for those with little money or time, I guess I want to teach the lesson that travelling and seeing marvellous things is not a matter of getting as far from home as possible, but a matter of opening your eyes.
Have you made any unexpected discovered lately? Please share where you love and what place close to you amazed you.