On Sunday it was a steam train – the sound took me back to when I was a boy, and it was nicer than Dave’s snoring.
A centre for the Art Nouveaux movement, rich industrialists commissioned the ‘hot’ architects of the day to make sure the world knew that they had taste – and money.
If you look up as you walk around the city, your eyes will be rewarded.
St. Pieters station is the first sight many hopeful champion cyclists have of Gent; it’s either the start of a love affair – or a nightmare.
Or perhaps it’s a bit of both?
You only think you’ve seen a lot of bicycles until you come to Gent – there are tens of thousands of them.
With Gent being a student town and flat as a pancake, the bike is the cheap way to get around.
And unlike in the UK, the public and police take bike lanes seriously.
The Kuipke Velodrome, a place of legend; 166.6 metres with tight radius bankings and long straights for the track length – it takes a bit of taming, but when you watch Iljo whistle around there on his Specialized it looks as if it’s some sort of anti-gravity chamber.
I first saw it in the early 70’s; but Vik can beat that – he reckons that it was the winter of 69/70 when he first walked up those concrete steps.
Not that you could see much to begin with – your eyes had to get used to the cigarette and cigar smoke.
It you’re into cycling, you have to visit, at least once.
They take their take away food seriously in Gent; although no frites at the Kuipke.
But there are hot dogs, but not just ordinary hot dogs – MAXI hot dogs.
Ever since I’ve attended Gent, the stall has been there which sells post card and A4 sized pictures of the renners.
Many teams actually charge for their post cards these days; and riders are loathe to sign more than one card with their image – knowing that most go straight on eBay.
If you’re a serious collector, you take your own photos, get them printed off and then have the rider sign them – some may say ‘sad,’ we say, ‘respect!’