December 2 2017 – December 3, 2017
Christmas markets have quickly become one of our favorite things to do on a December weekend. Nothing beats walking around in the chilly weather, wearing a Christmas sweater, eating all of the fried food, and drinking Gluhwein. Since we had an open weekend, we decided to head to Ghent, Belgium which is just a short 2.5 hour drive from Amsterdam for the markets.
So Saturday morning, we rented a car with our friends Shannon and Noah (Shanoah) for a quick overnight trip. The drive was pretty uneventful and Shannon fell asleep while I read the Elon Musk biography. But once we got to Ghent the party started. As soon as we checked into our hotel and walked out into the main square, we felt something was amiss. It was past noon and the Christmas market booths were closed. We thought maybe the other markets opened earlier in the day so we kept walking only to find more closed booths and crews setting up an ornament ride.
After a quick google search, it was confirmed that the Ghent Christmas markets opened the next weekend. We were all pretty bummed as the visions of hot potato pancakes (Noah), Raclette (me), Gluhwein (Shannon), and wurst (Tyler) flew out of our heads. How could we have allowed this to happen! We played the blame game for a few minutes and it was decided that I should be at fault. But whatever.
Since we still had hotel rooms and had driven all the way there, we decided to make the most of the day. Starting off by getting a yard of beer. We went to this cool place where you have to give them your shoe to get a beer. I guess this is due to the fact that people either try to steal the glasses or break them easily. We had no mishaps and everyone got their shoes back.
The rest of the day kind of turned into a sightseeing pub-crawl. It was so cold outside (-2 C) that we could only stand to see the sights for a short while before having to find somewhere to hunker down. Ghent does have a nice array of old Gothic architecture to admire and I was pleasantly surprised.
On Sunday our plan was to visit the castle and hit the road. I really enjoyed the castle tour and learning about the different weapons they used throughout the castle’s history. We also saw the torture room of the castle and all of the torture devices. There were great views of the city from the top of the castle, and we finished the tour off walking around the grounds.
While we were walking back to our hotel, we stumbled upon a cool alleyway covered with graffiti.
Because we didn’t want the weekend to be a total bust, on the way home we drove 30 minutes out of the way to go to Taco Bell. It was worth it.
Here’s some of the bars we went to:
Water House on the Bierkant