On the 8th we took a train west to Ghent, a beautiful, medieval town with old churches, art, and architecture. It's biggest drawing power is St. Bavo, seen below, where it houses the Ghent Altarpiece, or the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb. This is the sole reason why we took the trip because I was taken aback by The Annunciation when I visited Washington D.C. and I felt it was important to see this masterwork.
It didn't disappoint. We were so glad we went, because this polyptic (the one above was a replica held within the church for tourists who didn't want to pay the 4 € to see the original) was gorgeous and ripe for devouring, despite having been completed in 1432 by Jan and Hubert van Eyck.
The Conversion of St. Bavo, by Rubens was also displayed there.
There was a lot of construction going on all over the town, so there was a bit of noise added to the din and chatter of the townies and tourists, but it didn't damper our strolls to any extent.
St. Nicholas Church
The churches were beautiful, to say the least; though St. Bavo took the cake. The window above was taken at St. Nicholas Church, where you were allowed to take photos. St. Bavo clearly had rules posted photography of any kind was forbidden, but as far as I could see, pictures were being snapped everywhere with no ramification. So I slyly snapped off few (many) myself from under my arm doing my best to get as many reference images as I could.
The Guild Houses
Castle Gravensteen (8€ a person) was worth seeing for "torture rooms", dungeons, collections of ancient weaponry and the view of the entire city of Ghent when the tour reached the top of the walls.
De Man van Smarten
by Maarten Van Heemskerck
The Museum of Fine Arts was the final attraction of the day. Although the collection was not the most exciting I had ever seen, it did provide some good hunting grounds for artists of second tier value that you would otherwise not get to see. The medieval section was very good. And I thought there were some good finds in the expressionist to modernist rooms (though my photos might not be the best representatives - not a fan of my cheap 8 megapixel Olympus FE-310). The main attractions at this museum are the two Heironymus Bosch works Christ Carrying the Cross and St. Jerome at Prayer, which were wonderful. I'm downplaying how excited I was to see these works (top: always, always take more than one photo of works, such as these).
Jong meisje op een rood tapijt
by Felice Casorati
title: I apologize, my photo of the plate is too blurry to be able to tell you
by Frits Van Den Berghe
De val der heiligen
by Frits Van Den Berghe