Returned last week from a trip to Belgium and Northern France.
One of my destinations was Ghent where I stayed at the Marriott using points. Very nice hotel with an excellent location... right along the canal. And, I had never stayed in a former brothel before!!! There are 2 swans on the outside of the hotel... apparently, 1 swan means that the establishment is a brewery with good beer and 2 swans means that it's a brothel... who also has good beer! :-)
Everyone that I came in contact with was super! Enjoyed all of the staff.
They upgraded me to a Jr. Suite which was a welcome surprise. And, since there is no CL, I received 2 drink and appetizer vouchers (one for each night of my stay) and breakfast vouchers. Quite a large breakfast buffet with all the typical European offerings but also scrambled eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage for the American and British visitors!
Ghent is undergoing a lot of construction trying to open up the canals that they paved over. Funny how that happens, pave over the canals so cars can drive around, then realize what a tourist mecca Bruges is so tear it all up again! So, it's quite dusty around the construction areas.
Van Eyck's "The Mystic Lamb" is undergoing restoration at St. Baafs but just seeing it at all is a wonderful experience!
Lots to see and do! Very enjoyable town!
A great town to rival Bruges. And, less tourists... for now!
Will attach more photos in subsequent postings.
Above: Marriott Ghent. According to Uptake, "There are two swans adorning the outside of this beautiful historic, 150 room hotel. One swan on the outside of the building represents a brewery; two swans – a brothel."
Above: Walt Disney Swan Resort, Orlando
Unlike Las Vegas, the world's oldest profession does not enjoy legal status in Orlando, oops!
Thanks, TJC -- I have actually done research on Mary Magdalene and medieval prostitution (which was legal everywhere in Europe till the early 16th C). Do you know when the first reference appeared regarding swans? It would be very useful, because I never came across it in 15th C. records.
Interestingly, Flanders was known to be the capital for the 'best prostitutes' in the medieval world.
"Do you know when the first reference appeared regarding swans? "
Do images depicting the love goddess, Aphrodite riding a swan and the god of wine and revelry, Dionysus - one of her mythological lovers offer a starting point? Wasn't Belgium originally a province of the Roman Empire?
Good point, TJC! Belgium was indeed part of the Roman Empire. What's curious to me is that when I was doing my research for France and Italy on the subject in the late Middle Ages, I don't ever remember seeing references to cygnus, cygne or cigno. Curious.
I also found this on the web which shows how fluid symbols are:
"The Swan holds a multitude of representations including love, grace, purity, beauty and sincerity. Another attribute of Aphrodite, the Swan also symbolized chastity. The Celts believed the Swans were benevolent deities and legend has it that their images were forged into silver medallions worn around the neck for protection. In Hinduism, the Swan is known as the Hamsa bird and signifies the divine mind and the breath of spirit. The Swan is also another symbol of the Virgin Mary and the purity and love she symbolizes."