I am repeatedly amazed and the density and diversity of photographic subjects in Europe. In Flanders, the northern, Flemish-speaking, region of Belgium, for example, within a short range of only 100 kilometers, are four major destinations, the cities of Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp and Brussels.
On a recent photo shoot in Flanders I was able to cover all four cities, traveling easily by train and taxi, with an initial connection by Eurostar form London. Bruges is the most touristy and the recent Oscar-winning film of the same name contnues to draw people fascinated by the cobbled-streets, canals, market square and old belfry. Ghent is much more a university town, home to the 15th century St. Bavo’s Cathedral, less crowded and with wider range of upscale restaurants and clubs. Antwerp is the commercial center of Flanders and hub for the diamond trade, bustling and business-like, with a broad shopping promenade and vast market square around the cathedral. Brussels, seat of the governments of both Belgium and the European Community, is by far the largest of the four, yet is surprisingly accessible on foot. Wandering in and out of the tiny streets of the historic city center, even amidst the tourist throng, I found an endless series of cafes and specialty shops, people, parks, museums and churches.