Exploring Gent – Tips on where to go!

Hi guys, just got back from a two-week stint in the Lake District, UK! Was so amazing! I really want to write all about it but since I had already started writing about my previous trip in Belgium, I’d rather finish telling you all about that first. So, here goes!

During our third day in Belgium, we explored the medieval city of Ghent. Ghent is called the ‘Flower City‘ because of its fertile soil and flourishing colorful greenery, however personally I’d rather call it ‘Little Venice’ or ‘the City of the Canals’, because, of course, it is riddled with picturesque winding canals, just begging to be explored through a boat ride (which in fact, I actually did… more about that in another blog post).

The largest canal is called the ‘Sea Canal’ and it actually links Ghent to the port of Terneuzen in the Netherlands, thereby providing a great route for exporting products made in Ghent, most especially textiles. The canal is, of course, man-made, and it was constructed in 1827.

Wherever there are canals, there are of course bridges. Ghent, being a completely medieval cobbled city, is endowed with some magnificent stone bridges. The largest one, and the one I made a point of traversing, was the Saint Michielsbrug, which is an imposing stone arch in the middle of the city, and which was built in 1909. From the bridge, one can admire a magnificent view of the city center, with its gothic Cathedral and Baroque Town Hall. Not to mention all the cute medieval houses and many of the other canals! So very romantic!

Perhaps not so well known, is the so-named ‘Graffiti Street‘, which is, actually, a narrow winding street full of the most artistic and eccentric sprayed paintings imaginable. Unlike the rest of Ghent, this is a modern addition to the other-wise historical town. Yet, it does not detract from the town’s medieval charm. Rather, it adds some special quirkiness and color. It is actually quite hard to find and we had a merry time exploring the winding hidden alleys of Ghent while trying to find it!

No one can visit Gent without admiring its Stadhuis, or Town Hall. Built in the late flamboyant Gothic style, in the 16th century, the Stadhuis of Gent is quite large and contains a chapel, a throne room, and an arsenal hall. And talking about gothic architecture – make sure you also visit Saint Bavo’s Cathedral! The photos say it all!

Last, but certainly not least (before the boat ride, that is), we climbed up the many stairs to the famous Gent Belfry Tower, which is the tallest building in Gent. The view from up there was simply breathtaking and quite well worth the climb!

P.S Don’t forget to also take a look at the Gravensteen Palace which is a real fairytale castle! It also served as a location for the filming of the T.V series ‘The White Queen’, which I love by the way. 

More about this trip will be written in future blog posts.

Please note that all photos are originals taken by me on site (apart from these last 3 of the Castle which were taken by my other half).

 

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Hell Girl – Anime Review

To be honest, I just started watching this anime yesterday so I cannot REALLY write a review as of yet, so this is more of a portrayal of what the anime has conveyed to me as such up to now, when I have only seen the first three episodes.

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First of all, the graphics are lovely. The characters are well drawn and the background scenes are very detailed. The anime is set mostly ‘in real life’, that is, in a city in Japan, however parts of it also take place in a surreal place – somewhere between heaven, hell and purgatory, somewhere in dreams perhaps, where the tormented spirit of the ‘Hell Girl’, Ai Enma, resides, with her three companions and servants. It is quite a dark anime, which may be considered to be gothic and/or horror too.

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Ai Enma, also known as Jigoku Shōjo, is a mysterious figure. Sometimes we are treated with short images of her past, when she was killed. We know someone who loved betrayed her, that she is angry about it and has looked for revenge for 400 years ever since, all the while being a ‘Hell Girl’, that is a powerful spirit who grants those who want revenge, the death of the people they name. Ai Enma offers a covenant – those who want her to rid them of someone, who is shipped to hell, are given a black poppet or doll, with a red string. If they decide to accept the pact, they untie the red string, on the condition that once they die, they too will go straight to hell, as payment for the debt owed to Ai. The ‘fun thing’ is the way they make their request in the first place – Hell has ‘gone modern’ in this case, since all they have to do is send an email request at midnight, and the Hell Girl promptly sends them a text message on their mobile to confirm the receipt.

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Very VERY interesting plot line. Each episode portrays a different story – a different client, and why they choose to sell their soul, in order to get rid of a particular person who is doing them, or a loved one, harm. Some of the scenes are fairly strong and psychological, in fact this is not an anime for children, but is marked 17+

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The anime is not short – having three seasons of around 23 episodes each. I have also discovered that there is a live action series, comprising of 23 episodes of half an hour each, which I definitely mean to get as well.

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All in all, I am really looking forward to continuing this series. Aaaaaaaa Anime <3!!!

Game of Thrones – S05 FIRST FOUR EPISODES LEAKED!!!

I wish to apologise for not writing for quite some days now. A lot of things are going on, not to mention the fact that I’ve been sick for around 5 days now, and I am heartily fed up of it.

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Fed up of not being able to sleep properly, fed up of my chest hurting due to all the coughing, fed up of feeling as though I have a tennis ball lodged in my throat (what I actually have is inflamed glands), fed up of not being able to speak louder than a whisper without splattering everyone with phlegmy bouts of coughing, fed up of not being able to breathe, and fed up of feeling so damn tired all the time!

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Anyways, no more moaning – scout’s honour!

Because finally, the fifth season of GOT has begun!! I haven’t watched the first episode yet, but I can’t wait to hear that catchy GOT tune blaring across my TV again! What’s more, not just episode number one is available, since THE FIRST FOUR EPISODES OF GOT WERE LEAKED OUT!

Yessss dears!! We get to watch four uninterrupted hours of this devilishly enthralling saga!

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Thank you HBO!

Game of Thrones – WHY I ALREADY HATE SEASON 5!

FINALLY Game of Thrones Season 5 is premiering on HBO next Sunday!

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I cannot believe it’s finally here! The wait seemed interminable, and its continuation so far away! But it’s finally arrived, which just goes to show how time really flies sometimes. It’s actually frightening if one thinks about it.

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Anyways, as many of George R. R. Martin’s interviews affirmed, not only will this season portray things which happened in the last two books published, it will also go forwards in that some things which have not yet come to pass in the books, but which fall in line with the scope of the story, will appear on screen.

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I am really not happy about this. I understand that trying to fit an epic like GOT onto the screen is no easy thing, however George should have thought things through, especially since he is very much involved in the making of the T.V series itself (which is why, in my opinion, it is one of only a handful of Epic Fantasy novels transposed to film, which has not gone to the dogs). The fact that he continues to postpone the publishing of the next book, ‘The Winds of Winter’ is just a publicity stunt. He wanted the series to catch up with the novels, problem is – now the T.V series has not only caught up, but is surpassing the novels themselves!

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As a reader + watcher of GOT, I much prefer to get new information from the books first, and not from the T.V series!!

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Anyways, I’ve been reading the last two books as a preview of season 5. Am in the middle of the last one now and should be finished by Sunday. Tonight I will also be watching the last 2 episodes of Season 4 again.

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WINTER IS COMING!

(actually Summer is… but what do I know? ;p)

‘Reign’ has gone down the Drain! Beware SPOILERS

Two days ago, I finally finished watching Season 2 of ‘Reign’ – another ‘one of those’ semi-historical, yet fictional dramas on court life in baroque 14/15/16/17th century something. Now I admit, these kind of serieses are a guilty pleasure, even though I’m aware of the fact that the viewer is lucky if she actually gets 5% of actual historical material which really happened.

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Season 2 of ‘Reign’ however, was just too much. Apart from the awfully NON-HISTORICAL… not even REMOTELY SO (seriously, they were not even trying) clothes, which really emit a discortant screeching sound in my ears, seeing as to how I’m a Medieval re-enactor and costuming, at this point, is in my veins. So, apart from the fact that the queen and all her courtiers are dressed as if they are going to a Prom.

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Apart from the blatant historical fibs (the King, for example, didn’t even have a bastard brother – and this guy plays a major role in the series). Apart from Mary’s inexpressive face, Kenna’s Indie get-ups which get weirder and weirder (wtf), the costumists’ disregard of headresses (they turn them into hairbands when they actually remember of their existence), and apart from the winding never-ending plot which sees the same five or six characters romancing, having sex with, and fighting with each other alternately.

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Seriously, WHAT’S WITH MARY ACCEPTING HER HUSBAND’S MISTRESS AND MOTHER OF HIS BASTARD-SON BACK AS ONE OF HER BEST FRIENDS??

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I say it again… SERIOUSLY?

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She even has a role as godmother to her husband’s bastard child! She’s just gotten raped and fakes everything is ok in order not to botch the baptism!!

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Is this woman a martyr, a saint, or just a plain bloody pussy? That being said, do the writers of ‘Reign’ actually know the meaning of the word ‘realistic’? NO WOMAN would ever happily accept her husband’s one time mistress back in her life, her palace, her friendship, or her heart! Mary accepts her not only as part of her husband’s life, but as a member of her ‘posse’, one of her beloved ladies. She even helps her, tells Francis about the child, and tries to find her a wealthy husband!

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Throughout it all, I was like COME ON!! Do they really expect us to believe something like that could actually happen? Ok, maybe Mary was too good a person to let Lola die of the plague, she did not want to lie to her husband about the baby, and she did not want to leave Lola penniless… I can sort of get that… if I squeeze my eyes very tight and let my mind roam a bit… but taking her back as a best friend as if nothing had happened? Telling her all the realm’s secrets, even that she, the Queen was raped, when she told no one else in court apart from a very select few? Hugging and kissing her and smiling at her fondly?

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NO WAY

And it’s not that I’m hard-hearted, or jaded, or dont have any mercy. It’s that, this is totally unrealistic – NO ONE, not even Mother Theresa, would behave as though this ex-friend had never betrayed them, had never slept with her life-long partner and gotten a child, behind her back. NO ONE.

As such, I think I’m still going to watch Season 3 of ‘Reign’ since I started it, however my respect and enjoyment for the show has definitely gone a lot downhill.

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No, I DO NOT like British Comedy!!

I am so fed up of people expressing shock and despair whenever I say this. Most of my friends and acquaintances, not to mention work colleagues, seem to believe that because I love to read, to write and have a sarcastic turn of mind (not to mention a weird morbid kind of humor), I simply MUST be the kind of person who enjoys British Comedy. Now, excuse me, but where on earth does this assumption come from?

To be clear, I am not talking about current British comedy serieses like ‘Millie Inbetween’, ‘Stella’, or ‘Miranda’ which serve piping hot jokes relevant to today’s world, but about those 60/70s comedies which, through an assiduous cult following, are still alive, even though, personally I think that their skeleton should have been dead and buried with the beginning of the new century.

Mud splatters like ‘Porridge’ and ‘The Young Ones’ just don’t do it for me. In fact they irritate the hell out of my day!

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I tried watching ‘Fawlty Towers’ and it was ok… in small doses. But I am really grateful that I won’t have to watch it again.

I like ‘Black Adder’, but I just can’t stand ‘Monty Python’… the jokes are too childish and they just sound like stupid adolescent boys trying to impress each other to me.

Recently I’ve started watching ‘One Foot in the Grave’ and surprisingly, I’m enjoying it. I simply loved ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ too. The point is, both sitcoms were produced and aired in the 90s and 2000s, and so, although not being ‘current’ they at least can be said to have a modicum of ‘smart satire’ instead of throwing racial jokes around whenever the author looses any hope of finding a suitable punchline. Another thing is that, like ‘Black Adder’, they are dark comedies, and so all the more relevant to today’s world (unfortunately… depends on how you take it).

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Anyways, I’m more than sure that after reading this, some people would just love to grab their torches and pitchforks and come after me with all they have. I don’t expect everyone to feel as I do, and as long as you enjoy them, good luck to you. I just find them totally silly, not to mention that they bore me to tears. Sorry ;p

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