Well, what a day! We started with a well-needed late start, and while I felt refreshed, I knew it would t be long before tiredness would come along – we’ve become very well acquainted during this trip. In my efforts to delay the inevitable, breakfast included a delicious cup of coffee accompanied by croissants and fruit – so delicious! And then it was on to Ghent. While the bus rides may be long, they give us the chance to connect with friends, relax our tired bodies, and most importantly… sleep! After about an hour and a half, we finally arrived at our destination.
Whenever I get the chance to study abroad in college over these next few years, Ghent will be at the top of my list of places to go. The winding rivers interconnected throughout the city amongst the rising buildings, speedy bikes and trolleys allow you to ground yourself amidst the hustle and bustle – and boy, was everyone hustling today! Our visit today coincided with the start of the Ghent festival, so as we walked we got the chance to see the exciting events they had set up for the evening! Between tours, we stopped to get some delicious food and some local snacks, expanding our culinary palates one dish at a time.
Undoubtedly my favorite experience from today was visiting the St. Bavo’s Cathedral in the center of Ghent. What an experience! Over 500 years old and still standing – still leaving a lasting impact on people, inspiring prayer or even just retrospection. I couldn’t stop staring at the stained glasses windows, each filled with impressive detail and vibrant colors. Looking at these stunning works of passion and devotion, it made me think back to our own group as musicians. We leave a lasting impact not through impressive architecture, but our music, and our passion for that. While our artistic abilities aren’t for the purpose of religious honoring, the palpable passion and emotion that we are able to elicit isn’t much different than that which we experienced today in the cathedral. This group has grown so much not only in our technical music abilities but also in our emotional expression, enhanced by our time spent together, connecting through shared experiences so that we may share our experiences and passions with others. And it’s an experience that is unmatched, with an incomparable group of wonderful people!
Round two of concerts is tomorrow, so now that I’ve packed my suitcase I’m off to bed, resting up before our long day and late night tomorrow. Stay tuned for more to come!