Our stay in Belgium is coming to an end. At the end of our journey, we take a boat tour in the city. The tourist boats for the round trips by the canals leave in the center. They start at Graslei and Korenlei, the quays at the right and left bank of the Leie.
We start our boat tour at the Graslei. The friendly and competent boat guide quickly provides us with some umbrellas, as it is not sure if it will stay dry.
First, we head south to Jakobijnenstraat.
There we make a turn and drive back past the drop-off point, along the Lieve to Prinsenhof and Rabot, the lock at Begijnhoflaan. After that, it goes back to the Graslei again.
Our good-humored boat captain tells all kinds of special features about the architecture of the buildings, like at Graslei.
Next to an old granary, we see a small house with a blue balcony, the former customs building.
Next to it is the building of the guild of free skippers. They were called free skippers because they were born in Ghent and therefore did not have to pay taxes. Above the entrance of the building is a portrait of Santa Maria, the ship of Christopher Columbus.
In the further course, the building complex of the old post office appears. On the occasion of the World Exhibition in 1913, one converted the building into the shopping gallery De Post and the luxury hotel 1898 ThePost. A copy of Big Ben in London towers the building complex.
On the bridge pillars of the Sint-Michelsbrug, we see on each site a sculptured relief, one of a woman and one of a man, symbolizing the rivers Leie and Lieve. The confluence of the rivers in the city and the two reliefs represent a love story.
The Sint-Michielskerk and the university are on the right after the bridge.
We pass the Lightning Bird Tree, which shines blue at night. This art installation was created on the occasion of the Ghent Light Festival 2012. It is a tribute to the fairy L’Oiseau Bleu, The Blue Bird, written by the Ghent Nobel Prize winner Maurice Maeterlinck.
On the way back at Korenlei, our female boat driver draws our attention to a building with two golden swans on the facade. The swans were the sign that there was a brothel in the building.
Again, we pass Gravensteen Castle and the Prinsenhof.
A day before, we already walked along this part of the boat tour. You find the description of this section in our article Walk to the Prinsenhof in Ghent.
Another interesting fact is that 4 weeks in November, one lowers the water level of the rivers and canals by one meter. The time when the residents can maintain or repair their houses.
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