One of the diversions that has kept me from my routine this summer was a short trip to Belgium. Having taught Art History since the previous millennium, I have made it a point to see most of what I teach in person and this year I wanted to close the gap on one of my favorite works of art...the Ghent Altarpiece. And so I went to Belgium to see the Ghent Altarpiece. Now you might think making a trip to Belgium just to see the Ghent Altarpiece might seem a bit obsessive, but keep in mind there are some other things in Belgium other than the Ghent Altarpiece. Now having said that I will admit that I spent two days in Ghent and for four or so hours each day that I was there, I sat in the little room where the altarpiece is and just looked at it, which may qualify as obsessive I suppose. But in my defense, it is actually many paintings, but because it is not permitted to photograph it, I would suggest a Google image search to get an idea of its complexities. Above is an image that will give you an idea of what it looks like in general, but in real life it is much larger, say about 11' by 15'.
Anyways, I had a delightful time and was able to experience some of the finer things of Belgian origin. My daily lunch was a baguette with a chunk of Belgian cheese washed down with a cold Belgian beer and some Belgium chocolate for dessert. Dinner was pretty much the same thing, which you might think would get monotonous after 10 days, but I avoided that by simply eating them in a different order each day. But what of breakfast you might ask? And here I have to confess that I purposefully avoided eating a Belgian waffle the entire time I was there and instead had a baguette, a chunk of cheese, some chocolate and since it was morning I substituted some fruit saap for the beer. Why avoid waffles? Well, just in case I ever go back, I didn't want to leave myself nothing new to experience.
Anyways, it went about as smoothly as a vacation could go. I saw a ton of great art, saw some beautiful places, took some great walks, ate some great food, drank some great beer and rather than say anything more, here are five pictures. And let me conclude by saying if I had just spent the entire vacation looking at the Ghent Altarpiece if would have been worth it.