Ghent, Belgium

How not to travel Ghent

Summary: I had a great time in Belgium and Ghent was so much better than i had expected. The week was pretty light on the work but I did manage to get the project well and truly started. This was my first week actually working on the road so it was a big test!

It’s a classic start for the blog because i managed to miss Brussels and Bruges entirely.

Nomad list: Nomad list rates Ghent 3.5/5. Why bad? No serious adult night scene and tepid weather. (Similar to that in the UK) Why good? Ghent had high scores for Safety, Happiness, Healthcare and internet speed. 

Best bits: The people, the beer & the architecture.

More pictures: http://www.instagram.com/how_not_to_travel

Where to work: Plenty of coffee shops and bars with Wi-Fi along the main high street. I liked: Take five espresso (http://www.take-five-espressobar.be/) – very cozy upstairs to sit and work. Also the coffee is awesome + it’s close to the town center.

What to do: Get on with some work in Take five, kayak through the city waterways, give Be Virtuals virtual reality experience a go and eat the sushi at Sushi Plaza.

Cock up count: (3) One interview fail and Two missed buses, (currently tipped as flixbus customer of the year)

Learn from me:

  • Arrive at long-haul bus stops at least 15 minutes early (Duh)
  • Make sure your phone is set to the correct time (time zone shifts) + set appropriate reminders for work commitments that take this into account
  • Work a little bit every day – momentum people, momentum!
  • Don’t overbook: The nomad life has constant opportunities to go out – I can already tell saying ‘no’ is going to be vital in order to make this lifestyle sustainable.

The trip has started suspiciously well. Free stay at a friends place meant an incredible host and a place to stay 10 mins walk from the city center.

| Dom introducing me to Belgian fast food |

Everyone is really nice here, I was constantly having conversations with people on the street without any awkwardness and was never alone for long before someone asked me where I was from and we got talking.

A classic example was when i was on my way out of Belgium having just missed my second bus of the trip. I was sat at a bar ringing sweat out of my t-shirt (i’d ran to arrive 5 minutes late, obviously) when a bloke sat down next to me and offered to buy me a beer.

An hour of increasingly loud conversation later and bus no.3 almost left without me because by this point half the bar was wrapped up in a debate about the best places in Amserdam to visit.

| I’ve been obsessed with Duvel for the last week |

Whilst we’re on the topic: The beer was soooooo goood. Honestly. Peng. Most of it is 8% ABV though so be careful chucking them back. For my English friends – the large ‘head’ is for taste. Just trust the Belgians and drink – quality over quantity is the name of the game here.

If you like a tipple then there’s loads of good bars (even a comic book / gaming bar: https://comic-sans.business.site/) and Ghent even has a few small clubs which were fun in a group.

The scenary is fantastic. I’m a terrible photographer but you can get a taste for the architecture and waterways below. It’s one of those cities you can really let yourself get lost in. It’s extremely safe, small enough to have personality and big enough to offer variety. Watch out for the trams and bicycles though.

Also – If you like to run like me then there’s a long canal route you can head down.

| Ghent riverscape |

There’s plenty of stuff to do in Ghent. Kayaking in the sunset through the city waterways was particularly awesome.

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| Credit: Dominic Crossland | Insta: @dcrossland | http://www.instagram.com/dcrossland |

I also really enjoyed the 4 player co-op virtual reality experience at Be Virtual here: https://www.bevirtual.be/ – The picture below doesn’t do it justice, you’re attached by your headset to the ceiling but once the goggles are on the immersion is crazy. The blue mat’s you see in the picture below are as far as you can walk within the environment and then, to get further you need to ‘teleport’ which starts to feel natural and become reflex within 20 minutes of play time.

Virtualreality.jpg

| Taken in Be Virtual, Ghent |

If you’re in Ghent go get some Sushi from Sushi Plaza (http://sushiplaza.be/) – Fantastic service and fresh fish delivered every day. The sashimi was some of the best I’ve ever tasted.

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| Taken in Sushi Plaza – Ghent |

Ankara was also a very good place. A  Turkish / Mediterranean restaurant they served up perfectly cooked medium-rare meat and way more food than we could eat. Definitely, recommend the shared platter. The 4 person platter had lots of food left over though, you could definitely get away with splitting a 3 person between 4.

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| Taken in Ankara – Ghent |

Progress with work was good overall, it was easy enough to find different cafes to sit in and the calm nature of Ghent makes it relatively free of distraction. As mentioned above i recommend Take five here: http://www.take-five-espressobar.be/ and it’s also worth checking out Koffeiene: https://m.facebook.com/koffeinegent/.

This part of the journey was a soft start really as staying with a friend i had the luxury of privacy and a workplace free of distractions. Even still I got less done than i had intended this week. But progress is being made.

The writing has started, Instagram is ticking over and the adventure has begun.  Join me Next Monday for stop #3 – Amsterdam.

Soundtracks for the stay:

Paolo Nutini – Better man (Soul / Pop) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5y4_Mi0fCz0

Eminem – Fall (American Hip-Hop) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfTbHITdhEI

Keith Ape – It G Ma (Japanese Gangster Rap) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPC9erC5WqU