Green Ghent By Train for Veggie Thursday

May 2, 2011 at 2:13 pm 2 comments

Green Ghent for Veggie Thursday.

I had a fantastic time when I travelled to Ghent in Belgium recently. I hadn’t thought about going on holiday before by train and when I was invited to visit “Green Ghent” with its 14 vegetarian restaurants I jumped at the chance!

A stunning city steeped in history it makes for a romantic weekend get away, a fun girls weekend away and is even safe for lone travelers with such a friendly feel and ultra low crime rate.

There is a lot to do so the group started off with the cycling tour of Ghent and this was a firm favourite for everyone – sporty or not. A super way to see the city and to get some exercise too.

For lunch we all enjoyed the popular vegetarian restaurant  ‘Avalon’. A reasonably priced eatery that provided big tasty portions. Everyone sung the praises of their lunch which was great to hear from a group of mainly non veggies.

After lunch we had a welcome visit from dedicated Tobias Leenaert the founder of ‘Vegetarian Thursday’ – which the whole city takes part in.

Tobias is an inspiration for getting the vegetarian word out there and now every school, restaurant and offices in Ghent takes part and supports ‘Veggie Thursday’.

A meat option can be requested – however this is against the norm!

Tobias is the passionate founder of EVA (Ethical Vegetarian Alternative) and has even been granted government funding to enable him to get the green, healthy and environmental message out there.

After a quick breather while I filmed for VeggieVision and checked emails (no rest for the wicked) we headed out for a canal trip of Ghent- upon a stunning, environmentally friendly gondola. We enjoyed the inspirational messages that are noted along the side of the canal walls and tried not to giggle in areas that you had to be quiet in.

Stopping under a large willow tree you can enjoy nibbles and a glass of wine and take in the ambience. When we left the shade of the tree it was dark and the ride back was peaceful and relaxing – another must do in Ghent.

The Belga Queen was booked for our evening meal and what a stunning restaurant to visit. They cater for me being vegan – although with 14 vegetarian restaurants to choose from you may wish to make the most and visit these.

We started the next day with a fun walking tour ‘Nibbling through Ghent’ with VIZIT. A lovely idea although not a great deal for vegans/ vegetarians to sample.

St Bavos Cathedral is super place to visit with its interesting story. Two sections of a historical painting were stolen and with just one part returned the remaining piece has never been found – despite agents and police on the case for many years.

Then we were off and again another stunning building for our lunch at Pakhuis. And they delivered vegan wise. Impressive and tasty at a reasonable cost.

Before heading back for our train connections we visited the lovely Anina Soap Creatories – a new initiative of the contemporary artist Karien Vandekerkhove. After learning the skill of soap rolling in Melbourne, Karien worked on an individual formula for making natural products without any chemicals or animal products. 

So. Travel by train? OMG yes. LOVE LOVE LOVE It.

It’s so easy, greener and less stressful than by plane. No worries about checking in luggage and really by train you can get anywhere.

I would suggest leaving early in the morning and make the most of your time. I left my door at 6.30am and was enjoying an early lunch in Ghent just hours later after a super journey on the Eurostar.

Some ‘me’ time reading and then chatting to interesting people who were travelling to Brussels for a book convention.

Bumping into the Beanstalk editor Peter too I had a fun and enjoyable journey and some much appreciated me time.

No hours of waiting at an airport, which I detest. No waiting for the flight to take off. No delays. Well a few minutes and that was fine.

I packed some vegan friendly snacks to enjoy which is advisable however not really needed with the journey being so quick.

Yes – will definitely go back to Ghent– an undiscovered gem just 30 minutes outside of Brussels.

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I travelled with the super www.railbookers.com.

Do call them to chat though the best travel options for you personally on 020 3327 2479.

Currently Railbookers offers 4 hotels in their City Break programme toGhentand we stayed at the Marriott Hotel. They serve a delicious fresh breakfast and have jams, soya milk, fruit, toast and cereals and are happy to check the ingredients for you too.

The Marriott Ghent Hotel combines a historic façade with a stylish modern interior. The hotel has 160 contemporary bedrooms, 3 restaurants, a terrace, a bar and a fitness room. The hotel is situated in the heart of Ghenton the Korenlei Canal.

For further information about travelling to Ghent you can also contact Tourism Flanders-Brussels on 0207 307 7738 (Live Operator Line, Mon – Fri) or visit www.visitflanders.co.uk for more details.

Do check out www.VeggieVision.TV for film clips on Ghent.

Karin Ridgers

www.VeggieVision.TV

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