By accident, we did this cycling tour rather late in the season, being half of november already. A bit coldish, but with gloves perfectly doable and no competition with other cyclists ;-) But there's another advantage for castle maniacs. Most of the castles, about at least a dozen, are surrounded by giant private parks, making it not always quite easy to see them from the streets through the trees and the verdure. At this time of the year, we could actually see quite a lot of their exteriors.
Most castles and landhouses date from the nineteenth century and were built by rich textile barons from Ghent. But the pearl of this tour is without any doubt the medieval castle of Laarne. At least the central part dates from those days. The rest was altered in the Renaissance era, with a walled geometrical garden in front of it. Rather recently, the treelined avenue between the center of the village of Laarne and the castle was redesigned. We had a little break in 'Café Sint-Hubertus', a typical flemish bar with an original tile floor.
One disadvantage. We crossed several times the highways east of Ghent, affecting a little bit our global appreciation of this tour. On the other hand, it's not mandatory to buy a map. Googling PDF and 'Kastelenroute' brought us to a free version. The tour was signposted as well but quite a lot of these signs were missing. Something to be fixed for the next cycling season.
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