On a road trip from Amsterdam to Normandy we found ourselves having been in the car too long and needing a break. When we checked the GPS we saw that Ghent, Belgium was only 3 miles away. The only thing we knew about Ghent was the famous altar piece from the movie The Monuments Men.
It was a Saturday afternoon and the old town was hopping. After driving through 2 pedestrian only streets we found a parking garage with 1 spot. From our parking spot we walked across the Leie River on a picturesque stone bridge. From the bridge we could see a castle that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We walked past 3 really cool looking churches and some amazing smelling chocolate shops on our way to see the altar piece. Besides the art being amazing the thing that changed our lives here is that our kids took an interest. This was the second on this trip from Amsterdam to Paris where they listened to the audio guides. The first was the Anne Frank House. I was not surprised there because we spent months preparing for the Anne Frank House and for Normandy. But we had zero plans to stop at any churches in Belgium.
After the church we got waffles and ate them in a square near the church. From here we shopped our way back to the car. This included stops at Leonidas and Neuhaus Chocolates It was an amazing diversion on a long drive. Some of the best destinations are the ones that you never planned. Like all of our one day or short stops in places more time could be added here but the stop was amazing.