Friday, August 3, 2007

3000 Leuven

One of the goals of this trip was to get to know this city in the Flemmish side of Belgium, just 15 min. by train from Brussels National Airport. We were lucky again to have great hosts that let us stay in their place for our stay here. Jorge and Fanny are a couple from Chile who have been studying here for the last three years. They kindly welcomed us in their appartment in one of the many residences for students of the KUL. They not only gave us a place to stay, but the opportunity to share with them and get to know them better. We tried some great Belgian beer with them and even found one that CMS liked.
Because our time was limited in Leuven, the help of our hosts was invaluable in pointing us out and showing us some of the main attractions of the city and of the university that is one of the reasons of being of this bastion of Flemmish Catholicism (according to Lonely Planet). Their ultra adorned City Hall, the impressive Reference Library of KUL, the streets that connect to the Grotte Mart (the Grand Plaza in front of City Hall), and their innumerable restaurants, cafés and beer halls. The weather has been great for the time we've been here and we cannot say we missed Toronto's smog alerts when we have a balmy mid-twenties temperature all day long as we promenade ourselves surrounded by brick buildings over cobblestone streets and sidewalks.
This was my very first experience in a place where I could not make sense of any of the written signs. Some of you might have already had this experience, but for me I have been always in places where whatever sign around is either in Spanish, English, or French, and thus, I've been able to at least make sense of some of the words. So, even though English is extensively understood in Leuven, there are only a few exceptions where there are any explanations in any other language that is not Flemmish (Dutch). It seems I have found another language to start exploring with its fascinating double vowels and bizarre syntax.
For now I am sure we will be back to Leuven, and tomorrow we leave towards our 24 hr. stay in Brussels. I might be writting my next posting back in Toronto and then will leave to visit my family in Guatemala, therefore I may seem to have abandoned my blog, but be sure that I will come back to give you other impressions of this adventure.


ale said...

Me encanta cuando en la vida uno se cruza en caminos tan inverosímiles como la plaza de Leuven. Cierto que la última vez que pasé por allá fue en abril, pero digamos que casi casi nos cruzamos.

Me pasa lo mismo con el flamenco y su ortografía, y la sensación que tendría que entenderlo porque algunas palabras me suenan a inglés pero otras no tienen absolutamente nada que ver. 15 minutos para descifrar los horarios de salida del tren...

Tuve que reírme a escondidas al leer sobre el buen clima. Pregúntele a cualquier belga qué piensa del clima de su país...Yo también he tenido una suertaza y he podido ver más allá de las nubes algunas veces. Ya nos veremos por allá en algún invierno...

En cuanto a la cerveza, una conquista más de los belgas. A mí tampoco no muy que, ni a mi familia, pero todos fuimos conquistados por una u otra variedad de por allá.

Igual, para nada mal la uni, ¿no?

Feliz Bruselas. Chocolates. Cerveza. Comida. Monumentos.

Manolo said...

Ay! Ale, the roads we have crossed... your comment had left me remembering that other place that we visited in different occasions, San Lucas Panzós. I did my one and only Anthro field work there, but in a year you didn´t get to go. No beer there, but only Dr. B´s Danish cookies and the "autan" that marked the end of the nightly conversations with colleagues.