Glitches and dining by candlelight - when the lights went out in Ghent

Sequestered in the railway station, schlepping luggage up and down the stairs for hours on end, was perhaps not the most ideal set of circumstances under which to commence my long-awaited stay in Gent, offering a hint of a glint as to what other type of travails were unsuspectingly lurking in the wings, waiting to trip me up.  And, let’s not even get into the topic of windstorms, rain and hail, even though those elements significantly contributed to wrecking havoc on my four-day sojourn.  Could it get any worse?

Yikes!  Did I pack the umbrella and rain boots?

Oh…. and let’s not forget about yet another unforeseen minor calamity – for, just as I had finally ensconced myself in the quaintest of French bistros, parched and ravenous after a harried day of climbing and lugging, anticipating the most delectable of feasts, mere seconds from savouring mouth-watering beef bourguignon to be washed down with the finest of merlots…the unexpected happened!

Our quaint French bistro 

A loud bang, followed by the lights flickering on and off.  On and off.  And then off.  Blackness.  Silence.

Momentarily stunned, unable to fathom the reality of what exactly had just transpired, my thoughts flip-flopped between possible scenarios.  Did I somehow inexplicably lose consciousness, only to emerge temporarily blinded?  Did I imbibe in a tad too much vino?  My mind raced for a reasonable explanation – was all of this just mischievous trickery by some fun-loving apparition out for a few chuckles or was there something of a more sinister nature behind this most bizarre of events?

Yikes!  What happened?  Where's my dinner?

Nope.  Nada.  Nothing of the sort.  Just an average run-of-the-mill power outage – you know – the type that frequently occurs during thunderstorms and inclement weather.   Yikes!!  Imagination once again off on a tangent, lost in its own world of illusion (or, was that delusion?) veering on the edge of insanity and borderline exaggeration.  Not quite, but you get the picture.  (In defense of Imagination, at least it’s back home doing its job, in contrast to going AWOL this past summer, abandoning me in the lurch, as it gallivanted around the globe on its not so lucrative world-wide adventures.)

A flurry of frenzied footsteps followed, as the ever so clever wait staff, brandishing lanterns and candles, hustled to appease the qualms of bewildered diners.  Darting from table to table, the white apron clad team were on a mission to please, re-assuring frazzled guests that this unfortunate blip of events was merely a temporary inconvenience – and, would they care for a complementary glass of vino?

Indulging in some vino just seconds before the lights went out

Not missing a beat, the chef worked his magic and churned out plate after plate of delectable cuisine, five-star succulent dishes to please even the most discerning of gourmands.  Whipping together a bevy of gastronomic delights was a feat in itself, not to mention the additional challenge of having to chop and grill as well as bake and broil – a couple of flickering candles the only beacons of light.

Vino, ambiance and candlelight

I marvelled at this fortuitous turn of events, as who would have thought that I’d be happier than a clam whilst banqueting by candlelight, nestled in the welcoming warmth of this charming bistro.

Oh…and should I even bother to tell you about the collective sighs and groans when the lights eventually came back on? 

Come traipse along with me in search of gastronomic cuisine, and, if perchance, lightning strikes, then thank your lucky stars, for you’re in for a real treat and a dining experience like none other - after all, it’s the unforeseen minor glitches that make meandering the globe so memorable and worthwhile!

Stay tuned for the mis-adventures of cuckoo ol’ Auntie Nora in Belgium and the Netherlands.  What next?  Trapped in the St. Anna tunnel?  Yikes!!

Next blog – in three weeks – Wednesday November 18th!!  Stay tuned!!

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