Travel

Urban Exploring in Ghent

on
August 17, 2018

Urban exploration (often shortened as UE, urbex and sometimes known as roof-and-tunnel hacking) is the exploration of man-made structures, usually abandoned ruins or not usually seen components of the man-made environment. (Thank you Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_exploration)

I love a bit of Urban Exploration. For me it’s often much more exciting than wandering around the centre of a city or the touristy ‘must see’s‘. Not that the touristy areas can’t be captivating but I find something way more satisfying in the thrill of taking a look around a location that isn’t listed on Trip Adviser or in Lonely Planet or on a Google image search.

If you’re interested, there are loads of websites dedicated to finding interesting places and sharing the experience with others, but mostly this isn’t something I plan. On the occasions where I’ve stumbled across something worth exploring, it’s usually by chance, which I think adds to the excitement!

This time chance led me to a dilapidated warehouse just off a cycle path in Ghent. I was actually cycling back to the van with a bag full of chocolate after spending the morning walking around the centre and doing some proper touristing. I noticed a break in the greenery along one side of the track that looked like it led somewhere.

I stopped, had a closer look, and saw through a hole in the vegetation a metal ladder rising up to something unknown above. The only reason someone places a ladder somewhere is because there is something at the top that’s worth getting to, so without further hesitation I locked up my bike and started to climb.

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It was pretty overgrown but easy enough to get to the top.

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At the top there was a small path and another ladder that lead up to a large courtyard and an obviously long-abandoned warehouse (complete with shopping trolley).

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Inside was the remains of a caravan, maybe someone had lived here at one point…

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with their dog.

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The warehouse was massive, with loads of little areas to explore

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… and more shopping trolleys.

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It was eerily quiet. The roof creaked and groaned in the wind and the space was littered with unusual things from a past time. People had obviously used this space since it had stopped being a warehouse.

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The walls were a patina paradise and nature was starting to slowly reclaim the space again.

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I think the funniest thing I found was a seeeeeriously old bottle of Coke, just standing in a corner. The best before date was sometime in 2005, which means it must have been about 16 years old! It seemed to fit the post-apocalyptic, dystopian feel of the place. If I squint and look at this picture it could almost be from one of the Fallout games. A voice in my head told me to take the Coke for extra health in case I ran into a roaming Feral Ghoul on the way out but I didn’t have space in my inventory so left it where it was.

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I spent about an hour in here, exploring and taking photos. This is definitely one of the more interesting places I’ve found. I wonder how many people have just ridden past with no idea!

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