Leuven (Louvain)

We woke up last Saturday morning with no plans, which is unusual.  So we picked a place we hadn’t been yet and hopped on the train.

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Leuven (in Flemish) or Louvain (in French) is a very fun city.  How can you not be when you are home to a huge university AND Stella Artois?  Actually, let’s give it the credit it deserves.  Catholic University Leuven is the largest and oldest university in Belgium and Anheuser-Busch Inbev is the world’s largest brewery group.  What?  You thought Anheuser-Busch was American?  Not anymore.

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Anyway, Leuven has the air of a true college city.  Restaurants of every kind, art studios, book stores, street art including quite a bit of yarn-bombing, and an enormous university library with a history all it’s own.

As our trip to Leuven was very last minute, we didn’t realize that we had decided to visit during some sort of city wide sidewalk sale/festival.  We walked out of the train station and stumbled into a brocante/braderie, then walked toward the Grote Markt where we found crafty stalls and a tai kwon do demonstration.  We choose a nice outdoor table at  lunchtime and were entertained immensely by passing street artists in costumes and, my absolute favorite, a parade of geese marching along to a drum and whistle.

We found geocaches!  We passed by two weddings!  We wandered through the Grande Beguinage checking off yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site (Belgium is full of them)!

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Leuven, you have joined Ghent as one of my favorite Belgian cities.  We will be back.

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