Camping in the heart of Gent - traveller blog
I had set sail from South Carolina two weeks prior to my visit to Gent, Belgium. As a first time user of Camp In My Garden, I was very intrigued by it, and thought it might be the best way to really become swallowed by the culture of the country I would be camping in, and that's exactly what CimG provided me with...
I found myself first hiking through the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland, my 28lb pack being my only friend in this solo mission across Europe. I had become fascinated by the level of trust here, it's nothing like the states. Knocking on farm house doors, and asking for a little plot of land to pitch my tent seemed to be no problem, even hitching a ride with a sweet little old lady seemed easy enough. The only downside to this way of camping was the amount of loneliness I was experiencing, and all had been running the same way up until the morning I left Holland for Belgium.
I arrived mid-afternoon about 40km outside of Gent. I asked which way the city was, as the bus driver laughed saying, "It's that way, good luck, it's far". Feeling confident, I hitched a ride with a delivery driver to the center of town, and found myself only steps away from my CimG host's front door. I rang the bell, not knowing who in the world was about to open it, and to my surprise, I was greeted by possibly the sweetest young woman I'd met in the last two weeks. She was warm and welcoming, so unbelievably so in fact she kept insisting, "My home, is your home".
We sat and began to get to know one another over a bottle of wine. I quickly learned the girl before me was quite possibly one of the most interesting people I had ever met. She not only opened her home to guests for CimG, but she was a teacher, an ecologist, a definite true blue, and to top it all off spoke four different languages. The apartment was located literally a few steps away from the city centre, the garden was beautiful, but the experience I had not twenty minutes after I arrived, being seated between four amazing people, speaking this beautiful language, talking about loved ones lost, new relationships, music, movies... I've never felt more welcome, and I can safely say I experienced in that moment exactly what I was hoping I would find on this adventure. Surrounded by amazing people, thousands of miles away from home, yet feeling like I was exactly where I was supposed to be.