Movie Theater Popcorn!
I lived in Leuven for six months in 1999. During my stay, I frequented the movie theater (on Bondgenotenlaan a few blocks from the train station). This theater has the BEST popcorn in the world. It is unlike anything I have ever had!
It is not butter popcorn. It is SUGAR popcorn! No, not carmel corn! SUGAR corn!
I suggest you get a big bag.
1. Thai house is to die for (by holiday inn) There is a "sampler" deal that is exceptional. Also, if you like the shrimp crackers at all, they sell them by the bag at the store behind the restaurant.
2. There is a bakery at the corner of Bogaardenstraat and Ravenstraat that has the BEST sandwiches and truffles.
Sandwich: Get kip curry (curry chicken)
Truffle: White chocolate Well, I lived there as a student for 6 months when I was 21. I am now 25, back in the states with a full-time job. What I wouldn't give to be 21 and in Leuven!
I used to go and toss a football with friends in Donatus's Park. This is a park where students and families go to relax. I got a kick out of their reactions to some dreadlocked-female playing football....American football.
Take a walk and get lost in Leuven. I still remember my walks vividly. Quoth John Denver, it fills up your senses.
Sculpture Trail II...
Next statue was one from local legend. This woman was apparently raped and murdered and her body thrown into the river. But the body refused to sink and kept coming back to the surface, no matter how her assailiant tried - so he was eventually brought to justice (I hope).
Along with Leuven's moving history, visiting the Library and beguinage was my fondest memory of this day-trip.
At the library, there was those minutes in the cold and the wind, listening to our guide Jan (I recommend him, English-speakers wouldn't be left aside). History of the University Library, closely tied to the fate of Louvain.
Then, visiting the reading room reminded me of friendships bound in libraries. Since we couldn't talk that much in classrooms, after some "rounds of observation", we relied on those afternoons in our school library to loosen up.
Afternoons in library and music classes were hours we used to await for so much.
Apart from making friends, and you would find later how things were at that time for me, libraries meant some other thing for me.
It means the discovery of old books, with the dusty smell of the yellowish pages. I've been always a keen reader. Reading everything: newspapers, books (novels and biographies alike, no sci-fi for me), women magazines, economics and business reviews.. and of course, like many here, travel and discovery magazines. In few words, some trash, some culture and some education. Visiting this elegant reading room was something of impressive, of course.
While entering the room, it stroke me as an evidence: the smell of libraries is special. The atmosphere is serene.
I have some preference for the smell of old books. Hate the smell of glue and ink of those books that are just out of the press.
More than I suspected, I like the atmosphere in libraries. It all came back: some time spent in my university library, in some Brussels University library: studying, making notes. Trying to study would be appropriate. The stacks are always tempting. Chewing the copied notes that teachers used to read (!) during the lessons at university is a so-so activity. What is more interesting is understanding the theoretical notions from experience, seeing it in real life... and in stacks, there were books, weeklies, reviews in every subject.
Those times I skipped lessons to read in libraries suddenly came back with this visit.
I'd say, I developed from those early years some need to dive in there, wander through the shelves, sometimes read the books there.. the other times, xerox like mad.
The Arenberg castle
The castle of Arenberg wich is now property of the univercity, was before the world war the home of the family Von Arenberg. They were one of the richest families in this part of Europe, but with the war the Belgians thought they helped the germans and so the family had to move out... Know you can walk around in the park or follow classes in the castle.
Bilingual street signs
On quite a few street corners in Leuven, you'll see a secondary plaque underneath the street name sign with a totally different name on it. This is the name of the street like it is known in "Leives", the Leuven dialect. It more often than not refers to activities which would take place in the street in question, or any other particularities.
In the case of the street pictured here, Vital Decosterstraat (mayor of Leuven during 1901-1904) , the name is Petatemèt - which literally means "Potato Market".
There are plenty of others throughout the city, such as a square called "De Zeve Ukke" ("the Seven Corners"), or a tree lined street called "De Klaan Bummekes" (the Little Trees") - all of which have little or nothing to do with their actual, official street names.