Co-Working in Ghent: De Krook
In the past week, Corey and I have averaged five hours of work per day. A significant improvement from Paris where it was more like two. It’s clear that the difference is in the spaces we choose to work, or space.
I’m realizing how important it is to find the constants in an ever changing lifestyle. For the past week our routine has been to wake up, pack our backpacks, and bike five minutes to De Krook where we set up shop for the day. It’s a calming routine set to the backdrop of a new city in a new country.
We discovered this place on our second day in Ghent, when we’d done enough sightseeing and needed to get some work done. Corey found it in a Google search. It’s not exactly a library — in fact, Ghent’s actual “Bibliotheek” is located just across the street. However, you might make that mistake when you enter the building and see an open room of glass cases styled with books.
But you should know as soon as you take in the architecture of the building — this is something different.
Past the glass cases is a cafe. The ample seating is stickered with signs (which I translated) that says guests are free to sit and work, but to please buy a drink or a delicious piece of cake. I go one better with a chocolate croissant most mornings.
Corey and I sit at a long bar across the back of the room with open windows and ample outlets. One of the pitfalls of working in Paris was the cost of the cafes. Sure, you could begin the day with a simple coffee and pastry — but you were expected to buy something each hour. Here, the atmosphere is much more relaxed. This isn’t a cafe, but more like the “premium” part of the work area. About every two I hours I grab a snack and maybe a beer, and my total for the day hovers around six euros.
My favorite part of De Krook? The water fountains. One of the first major shocks I had coming to Belgium was that you had to buy water every place you went. No pitchers, no carafes, not even a small glass on your table to start. It’s 2.50 euros for a glass bottle of water no taller than an iPhone. But at De Krook there are water fountains with faucets that fill up my bottle every thirty minutes with nice icy water.
Our longer work sessions definitely don’t keep up from getting the most out of the city. Yesterday afternoon we stumbled into the Cathedral of St. Bavon.
We followed a tunneled hallway down to the catacombs where we experienced the strongest A/C unit in Europe to date. We think we’ll be back to hang out with the Saints when the temperatures get up into the 90’s later today.
We leave Ghent in less than a week, which already feels too short. Our plans to visit Brussels have changed due to the recent threat at the train station — but we’re headed to Antwerp this weekend.
We’re also excited to attend a group coworker session this Friday and meet some fellow remote workers!