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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Rain It Raineth

But that doesn't stop us! Phil was determined to take some photos of Gent landmarks, so out we went, armed with umbrellas. We didn't count on the wind, which destroyed umbrella #1 in moments. In fact, the streets were littered with umbrella bones, though most people we passed disdained the
parapluie, as proper Belgians should.

First, of course, we stopped for hot chocolate.

Then we walked down to this amazing 17th century building near the Korenmarkt, adorned with dancing demons that look ancient but are not.

Next I managed (sort of ) to photograph the Gent golden dragon atop the Belfort. Legend has it that it was brought from Constantinople in the Middle Ages and won in a war between Gent and neighboring Bruges. The dragon's fiery breath wouldn't have done much harm today.

Neptune rises from the canal and swivels, a little alarmingly, in the wind. He's actually the symbol of the Gent tourist office.

This is the Dulle Griet, a medieval cannon named after a legendary Flemish character, Mad Meg. Supposedly, she led an army of women to pillage Hell and was immortalized in a painting by Pieter Breughel the elder. A bad-tempered woman is called Griet in Flanders, implying that she could plunder hell and return unscathed. I am sure this is meant to be an insult, but I admire it. I am considering changing my name.


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