The London Lassie takes a trip to Belgium…
My ambition has always been to visit every country in the world and I suppose I have been to a lot of places atypical of the British ‘Packed it. Booked it. F***ed off’ – Russia, Finland, Mauritious, Hong Kong, Haiti, Australia…. Nevertheless I barely go off the beaten track. Did I befriend Aborigine women with sagging chests in the outback? No, I drank cocktails overlooking Sydney harbour. Did I explore some remote snowy Russian village? No, I went clubbing in a chic Moscow nightclub. Did I follow the Inca trail? No, I lay on the beach and drank Pina Coladas.
It’s not that I don’t have an interest in places off the beaten track. I just like the finer things in life and to be honest, I just haven’t got round to visiting these places yet. If you only have 5 days in Russia you’re obviously not going to skip Mosco and St. Petersburg right? However, I have started to realise that when you go off route, you discover so much more.
I recently went to Brussels to visit some friends I met in Sydney for a weekend of calorific cuisine (Pain au Chocolat and Moules Frites), crazy nights out, sunshine, amazing architecture and liquid gold beer.
On my first day my friends decided to show me another city. Antwerp – city of style? Bruges – picturesque and thrown into the mainstream thanks to Colin Farrell? Nope. Gand. I hadn’t heard of it either but I’m so glad I went!
Gand is Belgium’s answer to Venice. Mirror-like, rustic canals vein through its quaint side streets. The banks are filled with a contrast of modern apartments with balconies, adorned with Acne-wearing hipsters and antique like crumbling restaurants serving fine wine and Moules Frites.
From left: Virginie, me, Sylvie and Maite. Mywhite lace skirt is from Topshop and is my new summer wardrobe staple.
Restaurants serving calorific delights line the edges of vein-like, rustic canals.
Moules Frites with white wine and garlic – yum!
It seemed funny at the time to keep our lobster bibs on…
Couldn’t resist snapping this cute loved-up couple!
There was a music festival in Gand that day and the stages were set over the canals on bridges. When we got a boat trip (for 6 euro each!) we sailed under these ear busting stages and it was like having our own private gigs! The addition of sunshine, shopping in Gands selection of alternative boutiques, a gut-busting lunch by the river and a Hoegaarden beer made it the perfect day.
Gand is only a 40 minute drive from Brussels, which is only 2 hours on the Eurostar from London.
Get to gorgeous Gand!