Tuesday 21 May 2013
The next morning, Walter & Veerle got up at sparrow fart to pick up Marijke from Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. Susie and I took the opportunity to do some washing. We then set out for Ghent. For 45 minutes we got hopelessly lost trying to find our way to Temse station, even though Merel had kindly printed us a map. Eventually, we identified the correct route by a process of exclusion. We had to wait for some time at Temse station, where a thermometer on the platform informed us that it was 11.5°C.
We caught a train to Sint Niklaas and then on to Ghent, where we boarded a tram to the old part of the town, which was incredibly beautiful. We ascended the famous bell tower and watched a fascinating machine like a giant pianola operate the bells. The main drum was made in the 1600s, and evidently it was still working well. The views of Ghent from the top of the tower were spectacular, even though the weather was foul.
We then explored the old part of town and we got lost in the Turkish quarter after we wandered off the limits of the tourist map. We retraced our steps back to beginning of Sleepstraat where we find a Turkish restaurant that was lovely and warm inside, and that had great food with huge servings. Suzie ordered an eggplant dish which came with tasty Turkish sausage. I ordered a lamb dish that was very plain but lean. The meal came with a free entrée of mini-pizzas, and a superb dessert of something that resembled custard laced with slightly burnt sugar. It was bloody delicious.
We headed back to the old part of town via a tunnel adorned with graffiti, at the end of which we found a funky retro shop in Serpentstraat where we bought a gift for our hosts.
We then caught the tram back to Sint-Simon station in Ghent, and boarded a train back to Sint-Niklaas. As arranged, we phoned Walter at the penultimate stop and he met us out the front of the station in bad weather. When we returned to the house we were greeted by Marijke, and she told us about her about her time in Suriname. We then sat down to a dinner of roast pork, chips, mayonnaise, and salad.
Amazingly, Marijke went out after dinner. We were in bed by 10:30 p.m.