The last time I went Virtual Traveling it was to Honfleur, France for a scene in 'Rules of Rebellion', Bk.3. in 'Regency Rebelles' series.
Today I was researching Ghent for the opening scenes of 'Debt of Honor', Bk.4. in the series. It's highly unlikely I will get to visit these places - especially given current travel restrictions and the inescapable fact I need two new knees!
So I did the next best thing - and very grateful I am that I can. Google Maps, what can I say? Mwah!
My hero and heroine are stuck in Ghent for about 10 days while he recovers from a severe wound to his sword arm. Once he had recovered enough to know he wouldn't die of infection or something equally horrendous he would not have been content to lay about in the inn.
They would have done a bit of sight-seeing for sure but what would they have seen in the city of Ghent 200 years ago, and where would they have stayed?
I went researching hotels first, looking for one that might have been in existence at that time and settled on the Duke of Ghent.
What do you think? Not sure if it's quite old enough but I reckon the multiple door/window affair on the left could once have been an opening for carriages to pass through into a yard at the back. I'm going to use it anyway.
Then I needed to know what they would see on their wanderings about the city. They would not have missed Gravensteen Castle - (Castle of the Counts) and it was definitely there on the River Leie in 1815! It was the home of the Counts of Flanders from 1180 - 1353. It had a varied history after that, being used as a court, a prison, a mint and was possibly in use as a cotton factory in 1815. Eventually it was scheduled for demolition, but thankfully, the City of Ghent realized what a treasure it had, acquired it and from 1893 - 1907 restored it with advice from architect Joseph de Waele.
Here's an image of the gatehouse taken in 1823.
What struck me most about Ghent? Cobbled streets, many no more than narrow lanes, but so clean. Lots of bicycles and very few vehicles. (Or so it seemed on Google Street View!) And streets of picturesque buildings, many of which I'm certain would have been there when Captain Jackson Arlington was escorting Miss Carly Silverton about the city in 1815. Just have to imagine a few horses and carriages rumbling over the cobbles.