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A Londoner returns to Gent (part one)

Posted by Jeremy Gray on 08/27/2003 06:51:37 AM

So, with two weeks between jobs, what else was there to do but book a couple of trips to Belgium. The second is a day trip tomorrow to a few places near Brussels – not entirely certain of the route yet – but the first was a four day weekend in Gent last weekend.

We’d been in Gent several times before, but hadn’t spent any quality time there for some time, so I was keen to get back and see what was up. With Bob Hendrickx’s ‘295 cafes' book having a total of 11 cafes in the centre of Gent, it was certainly going to be a tough weekend, but I was definitey up for the challenge.

Our Eurostar was bang on time, so we got to Gent at 5pm Friday, and were soon in our first Bob café, De Muze, which is a nice little local’s boozer right opposite Gravensteen castle. It’s an ‘art café’ which basically means that they have a few pictures up on the walls. I was more interested in the beer, and a Hommelbier kicked off the trip very nicely. The free Bob beer was a Tongerlo Dubbel, which, while not exactly a world beater, was perfectly acceptable. Next up was De Onzekere Tijd, down Hoogstraat, again a bit off the tourist trail and full of locals celebrating the start of the weekend. A decent range of beers, here I had a Westmalle Tripel and a free De Koninck.

Off to ‘t Klokhuys in the Patershol for dinner of waterzooi with chicken – yum - then we checked out what we had heard was a pretty crazy place – ‘t Velootje. Well, crazy it certainly is. Its definitely the only bar I’ve been to where you go in the loo and bang your head on a bicycle wheel. There are bikes hanging everywhere, massive candelabra, firewood and laundry piled up all round the place, gas lamps, skulls, you name it, its hanging around somewhere. You really have to see this place to understand how mad it all is. Somewhere in the madness there is some beer, and I had a Pater Lieven Blonde followed by a free Pater Lieven Bruin. Definitely one of life's more unusual drinking experiences.

Then it was back to one of our favourite bars in Gent, ‘t Waterhuis, which still has an excellent range of beers. There it was a De Cam Gueuze and a free Jan van Gent – the most disappointing beer of the weekend. We wrapped up day one with a couple of jenevers at Pol’s Dreupelkot – and yes, being a Bob bar, one of our jenevers was free. A very pleasant end to day one.

Day two - watch this space......


A Londoner returns to Gent (part one) - Jeremy Gray, 08/27/03 06:51:37 AM

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