Oudenaarde - Brugge

September 7th, a Monday. Oudenaarde was left 9:27AM for our next destination, being Gent (some people might call it Ghent). We followed the upper Schelde (Escaut) for another 26 kilometers (over 16 miles), descending two locks on the way, crossed the Ringvaart and continued on the Schelde towards the last lock with the grand name ‘Brusselsepoortsluis’. The lockkeeper asked for our ‘vignet’, a requirement when using the Flemish waterways – surprisingly not when using the Walloon ones. Of course we know this and answered him that we wanted to buy one. What followed was a nasty man, informing us about not being able to sell us one and lecturing us about ‘an obligation to have knowledge of the rules’. There was this patronizing smile on his face all the time; we could scoop up his Schadenfreude. Anyway, he was unable to let us descend ‘his’ little lock. One of us, guess who?, had to travel back by bike to ‘Sluis Merelbeke’, a distance of some 10 kilometers (6,25 miles) to go there and back. After a delay of two hours we moored at Gent’s Portus Ganda at 5:07PM, hardly visible here on the left far end – in front of the last boat.

The first picture makes it patently obvious there was a gathering of historic boats. This was organized by the ‘Vlaamse Vereniging tot Behoud van Historische Vaartuigen’ (VVBHV) (Flemisch Society for Preservation of Historic Vessels (Crafts?)), celebrating 10 years of existence of Portus Ganda. We think this ship deserves a picture of itself, being obscured by the six in front of it on the first picture. We liked this one the best.

Gent’s Graslei, a touristic hotspot, less crowded in September.

It’s a real gem of a city, Gent, with loads of beautiful historic buildings like its belfry and city hall. There’s a dragon on top of the belfry. We just missed that one – a sloppy performance. No worries though, see: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gent#/media/File:Belfort_met_draak.jpg.

Although we now are having a month containing an ‘r’ in its name the weather was still great last week – as proven by this picture of Gent’s Korenmarkt, decorated with a load of historic facades.

This (mini) grand piano stood at the Poeljemarkt, protected by an open, modern, building called 'De Stadshal’. Everyone feeling the need to play it was given the opportunity to do so. We passed the piano several times during our stay in Gent and never saw it unused.

Another thing we noticed was the word ‘Hoteles’. What language is this?? Did we miss something?

A bike with the text underneath its saddle ‘Weer een auto minder’. In English ‘Again another car less’. Underneath is a reference to Belgian’s version of a climate-challenge website: http://www.climatechallenge.be/nl/news/klimaatcampagne-111111.aspx.

After 5 nights (and four full days) we left Gent on Saturday the 12th of September, 10:04 in the morning. As we were planning to travel to Brugge (Bruges) we took the north route, meaning that we had to pass the Bataviabrug. (Batavia, during the Dutch colonial era the name of the city that is nowadays named Jakarta.) There is no big deal in passing a bridge, but this one proved to be special. Its lifting system consists of two hydraulic columns, pushing up (and consequently slightly stretching) the entire bridge. The red light kept five oncoming cruisers at bay.

This is where we are now, Sunday, in Brugge’s ‘Flandria’-port. We arrived 4:27PM yesterday, after having ascended one lock and passed a lift-, a swing- and two drawbridges. We have to admit that the stretch between Gent and Brugge is a bit uneventful – as is the port, compared to Gent. Brugge admittedly is a pretty city, although it’s almost impossible to visit it because we are waiting for some technicians to do several jobs to our floating home. Yes, it’s an expensive season this time! Next week more about the coming week – stating the obvious…