February 10,2017- St. Nick and the Pickle Vat

Such wonderful adventures today.  Slow start although woke up super early.  Denis went for a run and I took my time.  By the time we were both ready to set out I was starving.   We found a great little place to have breakfast just down the street.  They were kind of an organic, vegan type of place but did serve meats and cheeses.  I had yogurt with fruit and tried a piece of their gluten free bread. I would have made good toast but as usual fell apart easily so would not have made good sandwich bread.  Denis had eggs, ham and bread I think..

Then we headed out to do some touring.  We started with the Cathedral of St. Bravo.  It is one impressive place.  Looking at all the art and wood work and gold items etc they kept a lot of artisans busy over the centuries.   We went down in the basement where the original church was.  There are fresco’s on the walls and ceilings that are just 10th century old.  We spent a while there and no doubt it is gorgeous and impressive and a must see.  There was some one practicing on the organ and occasionally a person singing and it was beautiful.   Would love to attend a mass there just for the music.

We checked out a couple of other buildings around the squares and after a cup of coffee decided to go to the Belfry museum. It was darn cold out and thought it might warm us up – NOT!!!  But again it was worth the visit.  They have various items on four floors of the belfry.  The first one had four soldier/guard statues. One from the 1337 and the others recreations.  They are called the Stone watchers and stood in the corners of the Belfry.  Then we climbed a bit and found the lift to get us from there from floor to floor. The windy stone steps were not going to work for me.

On each floor there was something different. The Dragons were fascinating.  Some had bullet holes in them from the World War II.  The Dragon watched over the city for centuries. The oldest one guarded the city from the Tower for 500 years.


Then we learned how bells are made – what a process!  It takes weeks and weeks of careful work to make one of those beautiful Carillon bells.   There are 54 bells and every Sunday morning there is a carillon concert by the City of Gent carillonneur.

We were in the clock room and I took a video that I posted on facebook to show the clock bells go to work.  It is like a very large music box of the old fashioned kind. It is such an interesting thing to watch and see how it makes the bell sounds.  How did someone figure out how to do that?  Always makes me feel kind of dumb that things like that make so sense to me.

Then we walked up the final stairs and walked around the outside of the building and took some pictures.  Denis went a little higher to see the bells up top.  I did not want to do those tiny stone steps.  But he did take a picture for me. This is the Cathedral of St. Bavo.


Then we went into St. Nicholas Church.  I am surprised they don’t call it a Cathedral as well because it is very big and only a stones throw from the other one.  Anyway, it turns out there are statues, paintings, stained glass, altars and wood carvings all over  the place with St. Nicholas and the three children in the pickle vat. It is said that St. Nick saved three students on their way to Greece to study philosophy in about the 12th Century that were kidnapped and their teacher killed.   Nick found out about it he went and saved them.  Somehow that turned to into them having been children and he became a patron saint of children but he is also known as the patron saint of merchants and sailors.  Go figure…

After that we went back and I got into some warmer clothing.  Always helps to dress appropriately for the weather which I had not done.  Needed more layers and tights under my jeans.  Then I was fine for the rest of the day.

We walked along the canal and saw the Castle of the Counts which we are going to tour  on Sunday if all goes according to plan.  We went and had a bowl of the best soup I have ever had.  It was so good and warmed me up and it felt great.

Then we found Patershol which is a group of windy streets dating back to the Middle Ages.  It was lovely and I kind of wanted to hear the footsteps of houses on those cobbled streets.  Each house was different but just gorgeous.  Would have loved to see inside of one of them.

On our way back we found a grocery store and got ourselves some food so we can eat here in the mornings instead of going out for breakfast.  Also it will help since we are going from here to other cities on two days and if we get back and are tired we can eat here.   After a rest and deciding maybe we had better have a little super we went out and had pizza and an italian restaurant.  Great thing about the EU is all the variety of restaurants available.  We shared and seem to be perfectly happy with that.



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