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Monday
Jul072014

Ghent and Lier, Belgium

A few weeks ago we visited the beautiful towns of Ghent and Lier in Belgium for a fun packed weekend. We spent two nights in a cabin just outside Ghent and biked into the town to see all the sites! We just loved the city of Ghent, a real gem of Flanders, which has managed to preserve its medieval power while keeping up with the times. In the middle ages it became one of the largest and richest cities of northern Europe and much of the city's medieval architecture remains intact and is remarkably well preserved and restored.

One of the highlights of the city is the 12th Century Gravensteen Castle. The beautifully restored castle is still partly surrounded by a moat and is now a museum with various torture devices that were historically used in Ghent. You can also walk up to the look out tower and have great views of the city below.

The main square of the town was bustling with locals of all ages enjoying the glorious weather along the river banks of the Leie. We joined right along with them devouring delicious local ice-cream while we rested our tired legs before heading back to the campground.

On our way back home on the Sunday we stopped off for a few hours to bike around the small but lovely town of Lier. The market place is surrounded by several beautiful old guild houses and in the center of the square stands the rococo town hall with the belfry tower from 1369. The Cornelius tower, a keep of Lier's fourteenth century city fortifications, shows astronomer and clock maker Louis Zimmer famous Jubileey Clock, which is displayed on the front of the tower. It consists of 12 clocks encircling a central one with 57 dials. These clocks show the times on all continents, phases of the moons, times of tides, seasons, calendar dates, months, globe, weeks, solar cycle, zodiac, equation of time and metonic cycle.

Biking outside of the city center we visited one of the most beautiful and largest 13th century beguinages of Belgium. Beguinages were founded in most medieval cities of the low countries at the time of the crusades. A lot of women had lost their husbands and wanted to live in protected communities. In the beguinages, the ladies could live like nuns or sisters, without having to make vows. Like most other beguinages we have visited in Belgium, the beguinage of Lier is a quiet and peaceful place, with narrow cobblestone streets that take you back to old times past.

First night cooking in the rented cabin just outside Ghent. 

Graslei canal houses in historical Ghent.

The bustling high streets of Ghent.

Biking along street after street of stunning town houses.

Yummy Belgian beers for sale.

Andres and Maricela biking past the Belfry, the proudest symbol of the city's independence.

he Belfry is the proudest symbol of the city’s independence. - See more at: http://www.visitgent.be/en/belfry?from_category=3336&context=tourist#sthash.uSDpyrQD.dpuf
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The Belfry is the proudest symbol of the city’s independence.
The Cloth Hall was built onto the side of the Belfry.

- See more at: http://www.visitgent.be/en/belfry?from_category=3336&context=tourist#sthash.uSDpyrQD.dpuf

Outside the 12th Century Gravensteen Castle.

Andres taking a photo into the castle entranceway.

Walking around the walls of the castle.

Fantastic views from the lookout tower.

One of the torture chambers in the castle.

Views from the arrow slits.

Peaceful view of the castle from the moat.

Biking around the castle making sure to avoid the many trams.

Watching the boats cruising the riverways and admiring the beautiful view.

Carriage rides of the town.

A nice gent sharing a beer with a lady canoeing along the canal.

Biking to the Belfry of Ghent and the Saint Nicholas' Church.

Biking over one of the city's many romantic canals bridges.

The main market square of Lier.

Biking with Seba around the beautiful and peaceful Beguinage.

Daddy, Maricela and Seba enjoying the biking.

Gorgeous cobblestone streets of the Beguinage.

The 17th century Beguinage of Lier and church.

Biking back from the beguinage towards the park to the main part of the town.

The beautiful Cornelius clock tower with its 12 dials.

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