doing themselves a favour
Even though they suffer from a severe case of poncing-twatspeak-caption-bollocks (though fortunately confine it all to leaflets which can be read, suffered and recovered from before looking round the exhibits and also easily taken away for mocking later without having to copy down key phrases into a notebook) the operators of the SMAK contemporary art gallery in Ghent permit photography of the exhibitions as long as no flashes are used. I wish more museums and galleries did this; it saves them having to attempt to sell people picture-postcards of the sculptythings from the wrong angles for way too much money and saves their customers annoyance at not being able to find photographs in the shop of the pictures they would have liked to have found in postcard form. Almost everything in the gallery was a sculptything with many viewable angles so the chance of the angle they would choose to photograph each from to make postcards to sell being the best angle would be slim. In any case a postcard or picture is only a reminder of the object and not the object itself so would hardly cause someone to not bother going to the gallery just because they felt seeing a picture of an object to be sufficient, even if they knew that there would be a much greater chance of them being exposed to mentions of things "transcending subjectivity" and suchlike in the gallery itself. There were also free poster-sized prints of a bit of one of the exhibits and free elastic bands to keep the free posters rolled-up. Unusually for a gallery there was a cheap and pleasant café which served nice-tasting coffee, cheapish sandwiches and nice soup, though unless the names of foodstuffs are the same in Flemish as they are in French or German I've no idea what they are and thus attempted to work out flavour soup I was eating from the taste and smell along with the clue of it being something white, about five inches long and apparently with a yellow bit on the end. Conceivably parsnip, though I'm not familiar enough with them to be able to confirm this from the ingested samples.
Despite a mile-long stretch of town a few streets thick from the gallery to the centre being almost entirely populated by student-houses and uni-buildings like a sort of gigantic crossbreed of Marchmont and George Square there were pitifully few sit-in or take-away coffee-places in the town-centre-end of the area which were prepared to be open after 5:30pm, excluding the open-late and wifi-enabled but smoky-smelly place used yesterday and on whose window-sill I squatted for a few minutes to check that the time of our return flight hadn't yet been significantly amended. After a bit more wandering I caught one just before it shut at six but low-volume coffees don't retain their heat well in paper cups without lids. Perhaps by only selling small measures they get round the regulations requiring places selling hot foods and drink to offer customer toilets. Although I'm very glad to have not seen any chain or franchise coffee-vendors over here so far (except for the AMT in Bruges train station) the occasional Beanscene would be handy for the as-yet-unoccupied niche of late-evening large-volume tasty-coffee provision. Still, a couple more places allegedly offering free internet have been spotted which might come in handy sometime.
Today's evening-food was from the Greenway vegetarian café on Nederkouter. Very similar in foodstuff to Suzie's Wholefood Diner, though the fittings and fixtures were a bit more polished and they want to sell you water rather than provide it in jugs. Six-ish euros got me a giant plate of vege lasagne which I was only able to finish with some effort (despite having only eaten a roll, an apple and a bowl of mystery-soup earlier in the day) and Nicky's huge bowl of vegetable-pastastuff went unfinished. Unusually for spinach-and-ricotta-esque lasagne the cheese:not-cheese ratio favoured the not-cheese, giving it a pleasantly robust texture compared to the slippy, slimy stuff without a great deal of spinach inside which gives the dish a bad name.