Travel

Travel

Hamjambo? An update from Pamela

Tiananmen Square- for the Grateful Web

I just wanted to report on the first week of vacation, since so much has happened so far!  We began with an adventurous trek to Lake Malawi, 11hours, 3 buses and the last hour in the back of a truck, arriving finally at 10pm!  But it was all worth it, because the Lake was absolutely beautiful.  Pure grey sand, crystal clear water, and green mountains jutting up all around.  We rode in a dug out canoe across the bay to snorkel in a rocky area with colorful fish, and to visit a remote village where the people specialize in pottery making.  This was one of the most incredible village experiences I have had, because the people obviously hadn't had much exposure to white people or the outside world, especially the children, but were still very friendly and welcoming.

 

The "resort" where we stayed didn't have much to offer as far as food or activities, but the newly built red roofed cottages were very clean and comfortable.  The light, smells, and feel of the place reminded me so much of summer camp!  We spent three full relaxing days on the beach, swimming, reading, and eating incredibly yummy mangoes, bananas, pineapples, and several other unusual and unknown fruits!

 

We celebrated Christmas Eve with a South African couple who were camping there, and had their campsite all decorated with homemade foil garland and ornaments, and wreaths and candle holders made out of tree branches, fruits and pinecones.  They also made chocolate cake over the camp fire and had an entire array of hor'dourves.  "What would you like to drink?", they asked.  "We have tequila, rum, vodka, gin, beer, and red wine."  It was a great Christmas! 

 

On Christmas Day morning, we got a ride back to Mbeya in a super SUV with 4 Chinese guys, all engineers working for the roads department.  We had very interesting conversations, covering a broad range of topics from Tiananmen Square and democratic reform in China to of course basketball!  And what made it even more interesting were that these conversations were in three languages: Chinese, English and Swahili!  They took us out for Christmas dinner at a 70s decor hotel where we ate chicken curry.

 

Yesterday Carolyn and I hiked to the top of one of the nearest mountains around Mbeya, and this afternoon are boarding a bus to Lusaka, Zambia, where we will get another bus to the town of Livingstone.  The adventure continues...

Zambia & Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls- for the Grateful Web

I'm glad I wrote already about the first part of our trip, since there is so much to tell from the second part!  (If you didn't get the first message about Malawi, let me know & I'll send it to ya.) Our journey continued on Saturday the 27th when we boarded a bus in the afternoon for Lusaka, Zambia.  After 13 excruciating hours we arrived in Lusaka at dawn and a few hours later boarded another bus to Livingstone for antoher 7 hour ride, and needless to say our assess were sore!  Throughout the next few days, we recovered and thankfully realized the pain and exhaustion was more than worth it!  In Livingstone we stayed at a super great backpacker hostel called Fawlty Towers, which is owned by a British guy and named after a place in a Monty Python movie.  Thier motto is "It's really not that fawlty, and there's not many towers, but it is perhaps one of the best backpackers in the world." and I would agree with that!  It's certainly the best hostel I've ever stayed in!  It was open and airy with a beautifully landscaped garden patio around the pool, big cushy couches in the main room with satelite TV and internet as w ell as other exquisitely decorated quiet rooms to hand out in, kitchen facilities, dorms, family rooms, doubles, and they allow camping, AWESOME showers, a super friendly staff to help with booking activities, and the best part was it was only $6 a night to stay there! ($8 without Peace Corps discount, and more if you want a private room.) We had lots of time just to chill there, and immensely enjoyed every minute of it!

The first day in Livingstone we walked around town, took in the sights and shopped at the local craft market (bought lots of cool stuff for YOU ALL ).  The second day we went on a walking safari in Livingstone National Park.  When we first pulled in, we encountered 3 bachelor elephants close to the road (I got some great pictures for ya, Vic!) and lucklily we were still in the vehicle otherwise we would have not have been able to be so close.  From the vehicle, we also saw just the tips of hippo heads in the river.  (Unfortunately they are only active at night!)  Then with two armed guards (the guide with a rifle the other with an AK-47) we set out on our walk through the park and came within close range of crocodiles, giraffes, waterbuffalo, wildebeasts, zebras, impala, waterbuck, and other cool creatures like foam frogs, dung beetles and ve lvet mites. The highlight was coming within about 10 yards of 3 rhinoceri (rhinoceruses?), Africa's most endangered animal. These 3 (1 bull and 2 cows) were reintroduced to the park along with 2 others (who died last year) several years ago yet they have not had any offspring and their population as a whole in Africa continues to decline.  They are surprisingly a very docile animal and were mostly dozing while we were near them, hence the reason why we were able to get so close.  The other animals in the park have become accustomed to being protected and do not see humans as a threat, so on several occassions they just stood and stared at us while we stood and stared at them!

The third day, New Year's Eve Day, was absolutely the best day of the trip, spent at Victoria Falls.  WOW is it AMAZING!  Maybe the fact that it's one of the Seven Wonders of the World will help to begin to explain how absolutely AMAZING it is!  What stuck me the most, besides the sheer force and pounding loudness of the water, was the incredible intense colors of the contrasting blue sky, white clouds, dark brown rock, vibrant green plant life, and of course the multiple RAINBOWS in the mist!  We were there just at the beginning of the rainy season so the water level was low, but there were many advantages to this.  One was we were actually able to SEE the falls.  During it's peak the falls can not even sometimes be seen because the mist is so thick!  Another advantage was we were able to rock hop and wade across the top!  (With a guide to direct and assist us across the trecherous parts with the falls rushing down just a few meters away.)  We were able to stand right on the edge and see the falls from view points (such as straight down) that very few people get to see (you would have loved it Vic!).  We also were lucky to be able to swim in a pool on the side of the falls called Angel's Armchair.  Never did I imagine in my life hanging out in my underwear with a bunch of strangers in a cliffside pool on the edge of Victoria Falls!  In the pool you could shower under the falls coming into the pool or swim to the other side and hang over the cliff to wave down to the people rafting.  We felt very lucky to be there and it was an unforgettable experience!

New Year's Eve was an international one; we just stayed in at the hostel and cooked up a big feast and drank several bottles of wine with another PCV from Malawi, a sweet young chap from South Africa, and a kayaker from France.  Later we were joined by a German family with two teenage sons, an American family with 2 twenty-somethings and an Irish boyfriend, and a pool full of drunk and naked British women!  Kwa heri 2003, Karibu 2004!

On New Year's Day we boarded a bus to Lusaka, where we stayed one night in a really seedy hostel (definitely a few steps down from Fawlty Towers), but there we were lucky to meet a British/Tanzanian couple selling cheap first class tickets on the train leaving the next day to Tanzania.  So we took the train back, which we originally ruled out of our travel plans due to the extra time and expense versus the bus.  But it was really enjoyable and from now on, whenever I have the extra time I will much prefer to take the train!  The views, especially in Tanzania were incredible, passing 2 through 2 mountain ranges and 2 wild game parks. The train ride was 44 hours, and I arrived in Dar yesterday.

Travelling to Zambia has inspired me to travel more in Africa, but I'd like to do it when I have a larger budget to work with and can afford to do things like white water raft on the Zambezi (said to be the BEST white water rafting in the world!) which we very much wanted to do on this trip but could not due to the cost ($95).  We also would have liked to see the rest of the Falls from the Zimbabwe side, which was also cost prohibitive due to having to buy a $55 visa.  A great trip to do someday would be to arrive at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe after trekking up through Botswana and Namibia, and first touring the Cape Winelands and spending time in Cape Town.  $$$$$  Someday..

Happy New Year from Africa! -by Pamela

- for the Grateful Web

Hi Everyone! Hope your holidays were warm and wonderful!  Mine were fantastic, I spent them with other volunteers in the area.  We cooked up a couple of huge feasts and made memories to last a lifetime!  If I hadn't had gotten together with other volunteers, it might not have felt like the holidays at all.  Christmas here is very subdued, because most Tanzanians don't have any money to spend on things like gifts or decorations.  In the village, the Tanzanians I know spent Christmas by going to church and spending time with their families, which is what Christmas is all about anyway.  For New Year's, the other volunteers and I had a big party at my friend Carolyn's house, who is my nearest PCV (Peace Corps Volunteer) neighbor.  There were 19 PCVs and several members of her village government and their families who showed up.  It was great to have the villagers there!  They are used to big parties, because they have them all th e time.  However, their drinks of choice are ulanzi (fermented bamboo sap) and pombe (a brew cooked up from corn and millet).  I find ulanzi to be quite tasty, like a Bartles and James wine cooler, but pombe I find to be terribly repulsive!  At our PCV gatherings, we stick to the traditional wine and beer.

Now it's back to the business of settling into my new home.  For our first three months of service, we are not expected to do anything except set up our houses and get to know the people and needs of our villages.  I have already become good friends with several of my female neighbors, the mamas, who are either teachers or wives of teachers at the school.  It is not acceptable here to be friends with someone of the opposite sex, but all the mamas bond together and support each other.  They have been very supportive of me so far by sending their kids over with cuttings of flowers for my front yard, helping me haul water from the well 150 yds from my house (with buckets on our heads!), and giving me fresh harvested beans and potatoes from their farms.  I have tried to return their favors by baking them cakes and breads and sharing vegetable seeds.

One of the biggest tasks I have accomplished so far, with the help of Doris, a neighbor girl, is digging up a large area for a garden.  The area was previously sod, and it was a tremendous amount of work overturning the soil and removing all the grass!  Doris (who is only 16 and half the size of me) could swing the jembe, a large hoe, up over her head and get it twice as far down into the ground as I could!  Of course, she's been doing this her whole life.  A common sight around my village now is all the women and children out working in their fields, swinging jembes.  The women will often do this all day long, sometimes with babies slung over their backs!   Most fields are planted to corn, beans, potatoes, and pumpkins or other squash, and these are usually intercropped together.  It is a goal of mine to encourage growing other vegetables as well, like tomatoes, carrots, mchicha (a local green), onions, etc.  I have been told however, that it may be too cold here to grow certain things like watermelon, peanuts, and maybe even tomatoes and green peppers!

My village is at elevation 6,000 ft, and every night I sleep with 2 heavy blankets. Some mornings I can see my breath!  It's hard to believe this is the warmest time of year, and hard to believe I am in Africa!  Never did I imagine I would be writing home asking my folks to send a hat, gloves, and long johns!  I will certainly need them come June and July.  Oh but I'm not complaining!  I would be complaining if I was one of the other volunteers who live down in the lowlands or along the coast.  They say they do nothing every afternoon except sit nearly naked in front of a fan and try not to sweat.  No thanks!  I'd rather be curled up under a blanket any day. 

Adjusting to a life of solitude has been somewhat challenging, but I'm sure times will easier once my Swahili improves and I become busy with projects.  For now, I have been spending my time reading, writing letters, sewing, learning how to cook and bake on a charcoal stove, doing yoga, meeting people in the village, working in the garden, and getting out to explore the INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL surroundings on my mountain bike!  It is a very peaceful life, going to bed and rising with the sun, and having no distractions except ones I create myself.

Well, except for the distractions of rats and bugs!  Hopefully soon I will have a cat to take care of the rats, and as for the bugs, I'll have to learn to tolerate them.  Most don't bother me though, and there are some really cool ones here!  Butterflies and moths of all colors, shapes, and sizes, and strange looking beetles, grasshoppers, and dragonflies.  There are some really neat birds as well.  With all the trees near my house, I have several birds that serenade me in the mornings and evenings!  I have been able to identify a few of them with the help of an ID book my friend Lori gave me before I left.  (Thanks Lori!).

Mt. Kilimanjaro!

Mount Kilimanjaro- for the Grateful Web
Pamela at Lake Kihanga, Africa- for the Grateful Web

Hamjambo!  Habari yenu?

I'm doing none other than fabulous after 3 weeks of vacation!  My friend Jamie arrived on May 18th, and we went directly to the beach so she could sleep off jet lag and be baptised in the Indian Ocean.  We then headed south to Iringa town, where we stayed for a stopover on our way to Ruaha National Park.  Ruaha National Park is one of the largest and least visited parks in Tanzania, but also one of the most scenic and diverse.  You can check out good pictures of Ruaha and other Parks in Tanzania on this great website: http://www.tanzaniasafaris.info.  As soon as we arrived in the Park, we were welcomed by a breath taking Kudu buck running across the road. Kudu are large elk like animals, light grey with a few white stripes on their sides and the bucks have huge spiral black horns.  They are absolutely magnificent animals!  We then encountered a group of giraffes, who at once took off running then stopped to stare back at us.  If you've never seen a giraffe run, it is a quite surreal sight. They are surprisingly graceful, and appear as if they are running in slow motion.

At the entrance fee gate waiting for our lodge driver to pick us up, we watched hippos wading and swimming in the river.  That game Hungry Hippos - their mouths really look like that!  We arrived at our place to stay, the beautiful and luxurious Ruaha River Lodge, where we could view giraffes, elephants, hippos and many different birds from sitting right on the front porch of our cabin!  In the morning we woke up to the the singing of birds and grunting of hippos.  We went on a driving safari one afternoon and the following morning where we saw all the typical safari animals, elephants, zebras, giraffes, warthogs, waterbuffalo, but also saw lots of lions! (three females laying by the river and a pride of about a dozen or more females with cubs and one male laying in a dry river bed), several very impressive species of birds (like the lilac breasted roller, saddle-bill stork, african fish eagle,......), croccodiles and a waterbuck.  In one scene we saw a hippo in the river, a croccodile laying on the bank just beside it, and a waterbuck stanking near in the grass!  It was an amazing experience, and we so wished we could have stayed longer! 

But we continued on to the village, where we spent 2 days walking around getting the full village experience (minus drinking the local alcohol, fermented bamboo sap.  Not a good idea for newcomers since most often they become ill after drinking it!).  Despite the difficulty of getting to my site and travelling in Tanzania in general, we decide to venture to Udzungwa National Park on or way to climb Kili.  (Pictures of Udzungwa are on that website also.)  After one long day of traveling, ending with a long 2 hour ride on a bumpy dusty road in the back of a truck, we finally arrived at our destination, the Mountain View Hotel at 8:00 at night.  The accomodations were nice enough, but the scenery made all the trouble worth it.  The Udzungwas are very well preserved because the tribes in the area held such reverence for the forests and mountains, and it is now one of the most ecologically rich and diverse areas in East Africa.  We hiked to the top of Sanje Waterfall, where we swam in a refreshing pool.  Along the way we saw three species of monkey - the blue monkey, the black and white colobus monkey and the iringa red colobus monkey, which is endemic to the Park (meaning it is found nowhere else in the world!).  We also saw several spectacular species of butterflies!  My favorite had brilliant purple-blue wings tipped by bright orange-yellow.

The next day was another hell day of travelling - 12 hours in buses until we arrived in Moshi, again at 8:00 at night.  We met up with our guide and the next day began climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro!  We ascended on the Machame Route (aka the Whiskey Route), summitted on the Western Breach and descended on the Mweka Route.  Most people climb the Marangu Route (aka the CocaCola Route) but this trail is said to be like a highway of people and littered with trash.  No thanks.  The Machame-Mweka Route is said to be more difficult, but also of course the most scenic.  The first few days of hiking, although we were climbing, were completely enjoyable.  We began hiking at 6,000 ft then first night camped at 9,000 feet and second night 12,000 feet.  We passed through serveal very different ecological zones beginning with lush damp rainforest full of lichens, mosses, and flowers.  Then on to the Moorland, with large heathers, everlastings, and giant lobelia.  Third day and night is when it  began to be more challenging.  We entered into apline desert with mostly rock and gravel and just a few sparse tough flowers.  Oxygen became thin and are breathing became more heavy.  We camped at 14,000 feet.  Fourth day was a short day of hiking, mostly for acclimitization, and we camped at 15,000 feet.  I'm glad we didn't camp any higher than this because it was freezing cold!  At 1:30am that night we began summiting on the Western Breach Route.  Most of the guide books say this route is technical, requiring ice axes and ropes, which scares most people away so they climb on the other side, up the scree slope.  But it was only technical when snow dominated the slopes (the glaciers are melting rapidly due to global warming).  It is now virtually snow free and any though we had technical equipment with us, we did not use any of it.  However for four hours we were mostly scrambling up the 3,700 ft rock face.  The moon was out when we began, but then set by the time we reached the rim and it's probably a good we couldn't see down what we just came up!  The Western Breach Route although is the most difficult is also the most successful summit route because you can't really go back down the way you came, it is too steep!  So there is no idea in your head that well I'll just turn around.  Nope.  You're going up and over the top. 

After the rock wall we walked across the glaciers near the rim of the crater and arrived at the bottom of the last bit of climbing - 600 more ft up scree and rock to the summit.  At this point Jamie and I probably would have turned back if we could.  Every step took every ounce energy and will, trying not to pass out or throw up, with a aching head, pounding heart, burning lungs and freezing fingers and toes.  Our guides would not let us stop to rest as often or for as long as we would have liked because of hypothermia.  But that's why they're guides, to help and encourage us along!  They really were great.  Very enthusiastic and strong.  They carried all of our stuff for most of the way, including our heavy jackets when we weren't wearing them.  Thanks to them we made it!  All the way to the top, 19,344 ft.  The highest mountain in Africa and the highest free standing mountain in the world!  The summit at sunrise was absolutely euphoric, with the rays lighting up the glaciers and clouds.  I hope I got some good pictures!  On the way down we suffered tremendously from nausea and headache, but once we got down to 9,000 feet again we were fine. We camped there and the next day ended.  6 days total.  It was amazing but definitely the most difficult thing I've ever done and ever hope to do in my life!

This last week we spent relaxing on Zanzibar, and I'm sure I don't really need to tell you how wonderful that was.  Pure white sand, bright turquoise blue water, hardly any people.....paradise!  We went snorkeling with the fishes one day and spent other days walking or just laying around.  It was great to be back at sea level!

I'm headed back to site tomorrow, and have lots of work to do to finish up my last 5 months here!  I hope you're all doing well and are enjoying many adventures this summer.

Pamela's stories from Africa

- for the Grateful Web

Hi everyone!  Hawajambo wote?

I returned to my village 6 days ago, and have been adjusting well despite a few struggles.  Being in the States ruined me in some ways!  I had a fabulous time there, enjoying all the luxuries that are so often taken for granted, such as daily hot showers, driving, a vast variety of food, comfortable chairs, clean stuff, wine and GOOD BEER.  And of course above all else, I immensely enjoyed spending time with family and friends.  Other volunteers that have gone back to the States warned me that everything would be so strange and that I might have a hard time relating to people.  However despite having felt a bit repulsed by our greed (which repulsed me before I left) I otherwise did not at all feel out of place.  With family and friends, I felt more connected to them than ever before.  Everything felt so comfortable and so much like HOME.  
 
The two weddings I was lucky to attend were very special times.  My friend Lori had a very simple yet elegant wedding set in an old mansion bed and breakfast, catered with Indian food and a scrumptious chocolate strawberry cake that she made herself!  My sister had the big traditional wedding, quite extravagant yet earthy, with gorgeous yellow and orange roses, a hummer limo, huge gourmet buffet at a country club and a raging dance party.  Good times all around, with so many friends and family in town!  Time of course flew by way to fast.
 
The Wednesday after my sister's wedding, I got on a plane again for Tanzania, reminding myself I have only 8 months left.  All my flight connections went smoothly, even having a 3 hour emergency landing in Goose Bay, Quebec to let off a sick person.  I spent Friday in Dar taking care of business related matters, and all day Saturday on the beach, where I ended up sleeping off most of my jet lag.  A great place to do it!  Sunday I took a bus to Mafinga, and Monday returned to the village.
 
I returned to find my house and everything in it intact, except there was dirt everywhere that had fallen from the ceiling or blown in, my clothes cabinet and all my clothes inside and my bed and bedsheets were infected with mildew, weeds had overtaken my garden, one of my (thought to be) hens turned into a rooster, and my cat was missing!  She later turned up; I discovered she had kittens in the forest behind the house because she apparently was scared of my guard who slept there every night.  On Thursday she finally brought them (4 of them!) to live with us.  I love having kittens!  Other things to be happy about (after cleaning and washing everything)  is returning to the awesome natural beauty I am surrounded by, the peaceful solitude, being out on my bike again, and my very welcoming village friends. 
 
I brought back almost as much stuff as I brough to America - all gifts - but to America I brought baskets, wood carvings, batiks, and fabrics, whereas to Tanzania I brought M&Ms, sweaters and sweatshirts (thanks Mom and Dad and Vic!), potholders, calendars, candles, jewelry, and bubbles.  They LOVE everything I brought for them, especially the jewelry and bubbles.  Even the adults have never seen bubbles before and get quite a kick out of them!
 
My last 8 months here I'm sure will go fast, because I have plenty to keep me busy!  This month I'll continue teaching English at the school, organize a second beekeeping seminar, begin making fuel-efficient stoves, and track down another place to buy modern breed roosters.  The Rhode Island Reds I brought a few months ago are not getting it on with the local hens!  (Any advice in this area would be much appreciated!  My uncle suggested country music, but I haven't tried this yet.)  The first week of May will be Girls' Empowerment Camp, same as last year but this year at an Italian convent (= good food!).  Then mid-May I'll head to Dar to pick up my friend Jamie from Alaska.  She'll be here for almost a whole month and we're doing everything there is to do here - safari, village, Zanzibar, and most exciting, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro! 
 
I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who donated money for my students.  I now have enough to take (maybe 30!) primary students on safari, buy several books for the new library, and pay secondary school fees for at least 3 maybe 4 students.  I'm still in the process of organizing everything now, but as soon as I can I'll be sending you pictures of the students and hopefully letters from them.  *** If you haven't donated but would still like to, it's not too late.  You can still send checks addressed to me (my mom has power of attourney) at my parents' address.  They'll deposit them in my account there, I'll withdraw the funds from an ATM in Dar, then deposit them in the account I am setting up here.  Wanafunzi wanawashukuru sana!  The students thank you very much!

Ghent Belgium

In this column I want to talk to you about Ghent. Ghent is the capital of the province East-Flanders in Belgium, a small country in Europe, and has about 225 000 inhabitants.

My main purpose is to give you a first impression of the city I live in since a couple of years. For this, I'll take you with me to some places that made a big impression on me … until now. Keep in mind this will not be a complete tour to all places of interest in the city! This wouldn't be possible anyway as there is so much to see and to do. Shall we leave?

Can I ask you to close your eyes? We will walk to the place from where you get the most impressive view of the city: the Saint-Michael' bridge. Now we are standing on top of this bridge, open your eyes. Do you like the view? The towers you see in front of you are the three most famous towers of the city: Saint-Nicholas' church, the Belfry, and the Saint-Bavo's cathedral. In the later, the famous painting "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" (Jan Van Eyck, 1432) is hanging, which is considered as a high point in the 15th century Flemish art. Now I want to draw your attention on the area under the bridge. Here the Graslei and Korenlei are situated. The numerous waterways passing through the inner city all flow towards the former port at the Graslei. The elegant facades of the Graslei and Korenlei represent different architectural styles. Each facade reflects a period of history remembering the visitor of the spirit of enterprise and the busy commercial activities of the old guilds. During sunny days, people are gathered at the waterside to talk, read, make music, have a drink etc. This is a fantastic area to overlook the day. Maybe you can relax here tonight before going to bed.

As regards me, the most impressive building in town is the Castle of Counts (Gravensteen), a medieval castle that was built in 1180 by Philip of Alsace, count of Flanders. Originally, until the 14th century, the castle had a military role (protecting the citizens). Afterwards, it has been used for a variety of purposes: mint, court, jail and cotton mill. The castle contains a crypt and a dungeon and also houses, court museum, and a collection of historical weapons and armors. Enter into the medieval times and discover it all during your self-guided tour! Don't forget to walk along the castle's encircling wall, from where you have a beautiful view over the city.

Lets continue our sightseeing in the "Patershol". The "Patershol" is a tight web of brick terraced houses dating from the seventeenth century. It is really nice to walk in these small streets, with a lot of good restaurants. Maybe we can come back here to have dinner later on!

At the other sight of town, at the "Sint-Pietersplein", excavations are carried out at the moment. Once a week, an archeologist gives detailed, updated information about these excavations (for free), which makes it even more interesting. While there, we should take advantage of the opportunity to visit the nature museum as well. Concerning me, it is worth the walk as you can discover other beautiful places in town in the meantime as well. Shall we have a look?

It was worth the effort wasn't it? Do you need to go away from the commotion in the streets for a while? Well, in that case I'll take you to the "Blaarmeersen", a recreation park with nice promenade walks, lawns where you can relax and read a book, playgrounds for the children, a big lake where you can surf, swim, kayak, etc. In other words, this is the perfect spot to relax and take it easy.

For the nature lovers, the "Bourgoyen-Ossemeersen" is a good alternative, a nature reserve where you can make nice walks, in complete silence. Binoculars are a must, so those who have them with them, don't forget to use them!

Ok, lets get back to the city center and have dinner in one of the restaurants I showed you earlier today (Patershol). For those who want to explore the nightlife, nightclubs and cafés are spread all over town. Don't forget, you are in Belgium, the European country known for its beers. But, always think about the day after…!

If you think one night of partying is not enough, you should come back in July as the Ghent Festivities (Gentse Feesten) take place then. For ten days, the whole city is turned upside down. Partygoers, culture lovers, and even children come into theirs own for sure. There are several performances on a number of podia and bars in town, street theatre, kermis, etc. A great time for young and old!

With this tip, I'll leave you to it. Remember there is a lot more to see than the places I showed you! Enjoy the rest of your stay, and maybe we'll meet again. See you!