Today was our last day in Belgium. We just got back from our game, and we lost a real close contest. After a sluggish beginning, we were able to pick up the energy and storm back into the game. We got some tough breaks and missed some critical shots that usually fall for us and the deficit proved to be just a bit too much for us to overcome. Hopefully we will have better luck in Paris.
Since it was our last day here in Ghent, Belgium, we packed the morning and early afternoon with some great sightseeing. We started the day off with a boat tour through the canals of Ghent. Like Brugge, the architecture is stunning. I heard more than once from other guys on the team that they felt like we were in a scene from the movies. It seemed truly unreal that we were in such a beautiful city. The canal tour took us down the main part of the city, under bridges, around the base of castle, and even took us literally through the branches and leaves of a tree emerging from the canal.
After the canal tour, we went just down the cobblestone road to the castle that the boat ride previewed for us. This structure was jam packed with history, and beautiful overviews of the city. The castle itself was enormous. We were able to see its torture chamber, an execution room which contained a guillotine, and a few rooms full of medieval weaponry, armor, and other artifacts. The most impressive item I saw was a sword that was taller than anyone on our team. I don't know how anyone could have used it, but evidently they did. The levels in the castle were connected by long spiral staircases. These staircases were built specifically so that going up the stairs you would have to use your right hand to hold the railing, and to descend the steps you would have to use your left. This is because, in medieval times, knights were required to be right handed thus would hold their swords in their right hand. So attackers invading the castle would climb the steps and have to use their weak hand to use their weapon, while those protecting the castle of the invasion would be able to strongly come down the stairs holding on with their left hand and fighting with their right. We also spent a lot of time on the castle roof, where we were able to take great pictures of the entire city.
Our last stop in Ghent was a cathedral that was truly incredible in size. We were able to go inside and walk around and behind the alter. We saw all sorts of rooms that were probably used to help the church in its governmental proceedings because at the time of the church's construction, the church was the primary form a government. Coach Moore told us that any of the workers that helped construct the cathedral and died while it was being built, were mixed right into the cement and buried right into the walls of the building. Coach Burrell was also able to convince just about everyone on the team that the cathedral was constructed in just 30 days by workers who worked 24 hours a day.
Belgium was great, and I think it surprised everyone on how beautiful and overall how impressive it was. Tomorrow morning at around 10:30 we will be commencing our four hour trip to Paris. I think everyone on our team has been looking forward to this city more than any other. It's very late here in Ghent, and it's time for me to get some sleep. I hope all is well back in the States. Goodnight!