I've been driving (and taking the train) to Gent for over a dozen years. I've seen the redevelopment of the Korenmarkt, the redevelopment of the south, the redevelopment and building of the new strange building near the Belfort in what used to be the easiest and most convenient car park in the whole town.
Every project - and there are always two or three at a time - means major disruption and inconvenience to both visitor and resident alike.
Yesterday I wanted to pop in so that I could visit my favourite chocolatiers anywhere and buy my bride a box of their masterpieces.
This isn't a difficult place to find, right by the Belfort, and I know my way around the town pretty well by now, and I know the Vrijdagmarkt and other good places. Yesterday even the orange detour signs which so blight the town had crossouts on them with new even more convoluted detours above, below, to the side, or (often) missing altogether.
What should have been a simple 20 to 30 minutes took over 2 hours.
I have never seen the place in such a mess. One local shopkeeper I spoke to said that it is killing trade and making her very worried.
It is not only in the centre but as far as the medical centre.
That's my last trip into Gent by car - maybe at all - until they straighten out the mess.
Moral of the story - Gent is a beautiful place with a great feeling and with my most favourite chocolates by a mile, but it is not worth visiting by car, and maybe if you are on foot take extra care around the works.