If Flanders (a region within Belgium) itself is an overlooked destination within Western Europe, then think of Ghent as the neglected step-sister. Tourists stop to gawk at the grandeur of Brussels and moon over the picture postcard prettiness of Bruges – and who can blame them – but skip this University town altogether in their rush to get to the next big thing.
Lonely Planet, in writing of Ghent as one of its top destinations of 2011 — Here’s a secret within a secret: Ghent might just be the best European city you’ve never thought of visiting, in a country that continues to be criminally overlooked.
Ghent has many delights; among my favourites is the absolutely stunning Graffiti Lane, whose original name is quite a mouthful – Werregarenstraat. Some time in the 1990s, the local government declared it legal to paint graffiti inside this lane, in a bid to keep the rest of the town free of vandalism and to promote good quality street art. And from the looks of it, they have succeeded.
There are all kinds of themes to be found on the walls, from absolute abstract art, to messages of love and peace…
On a gloomy day as the one I was there on, it may seem a slightly dark and edgy place, but locals use the lane all day without any hesitation. Once the sun came out, graffiti lane was just like any of the narrow lanes scattered across the town connecting two main streets.
The character of graffiti lane changes everyday. If you stop there for a few minutes, possible to see artists at work with a spray can in hand.