There seems to be something of a "sculpture trail" in Leuven. Whether this is official or not I don't know, but wherever you wander you'll come across some pretty interesting works of art. This sculpture is (obviously) a hot air balloon, and it represents friendship, according to the plinth beside it.
That's quite appropriate because this trip that I made was all about friendship - meeting people that so far I'd only chatted with on VT. It was a lovely visit, and one of the nicest holidfays I've had.
(Bag time, Caro?)
Stella Artois city
Stella Artois, the beer widely known and spread is from Interbrew company, one of top5 world breweries.
The company is located in Leuven (near the train station). If I recall it well, it bears the brand and label of Stella Artois on its red-orange facade.
Stella Artois was a traditional brand that was brewed in Leuven from the 14 century. But only from early 18 century, it was given the name of Stella Artois (Artois being the family name of the master brewer. I don't remember of the initial name of the brewery, though.
This beer is now the flagship brand of Interbrew company. It gathers some famous beer brands here. To name a few Stella Artois, Bass, Leffe, Beck's, Jupiler and Hoegaarden (this is OK with mussels-fries, for me). Whether those are the best of Belgian beers is debatable but they are well-known and quite best-sellers. That's a debate I would not damp in for me NOT being a beer-connaisseur at all. I am not even a beer lover. I just appreciate some of those I could taste.
That's for Stella Artois/ Interbrew in Leuven, "beer capital city of Belgium".
Also, another brand of the area is Domus (domestic brewery), a beer from the tap with special pruduct around Christmas period. Never tried it. A visit here may interest you, check this http://www.domusleuven.be/ When the voluble guide at the City Hall told us that around 200 buildings in the city belong to Interbrew, I suddenly realized why it is sometimes nicknamed "Stella Artois city".
For sure, the fact that Stella Artois has been brewed in Leuven for years and that Interbrew HQ are there have to do with that, but not only.
Part of the collection are some of the buildings on Grote Markt area. I guess not the City Hall, neither the Tafel Rond and Sint-Pieterskerk.. but very probably the brewer guildhouse and surroundings. :)
No pic of the Interbrew HQ (a right picture will come).
Update March 3: Just heard on the news Interbrew and AmBev group (Brazil based) just agreed to merge (not really merging in finance technique, rather exchanging shares). InterbrewAmbev will become then Wold's n°1 Brewery. Prior to that, Interbrew was World's n°3 whilst AmBev was n°5. Well, some happy news in this gloomy period in Belgium.
Leuven in action
In leuven there's always something to do. Every day there's somewhere a party, a concert, a festival, ...
From 6 untill 8 june Leuven will turn into an open air theatre scene with streets lighted by fire and flames, marketplaces decorated by modern art and bamboo structures. And of course you, if you don't like theatre or you just need some 'refreshment' you can escape to the beerparty. More info on www.leuveninscene.be
During the summer there are the 'Beleuvenissen' a range of concerts on fridayevening. Classical, Jazz, Folk, Tropical and blues. More info on www.beleuvenissen.be
From 13 untill 15 august than you have the Martrock Festival with this year K's Choise, Urban Trad, Brainpower, ... More info on www.marktrock.be
I noticed that many streets had two signs with different names on them, one with the official one, the other in local dialect. Sometimes this is a translation of the official name, but often it is something totally different. I'm not sure what pottekesmèt means, but surely not Father Damiaan Square.
A little something for the guide
rainy weather gear: rather a water-repellent hat than an umbrella. That leaves your hand for shapshoting. telelens: you may need it for the close-ups; film rolls: you can always buy them there; memory sticks The guided tour we had at the University Library was done for free (would check whether it usues to be FREE or NOT). We brought, though, a box of chocolate for Jan, the guide. He doesn't ask for anything but it's well deserved.