Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

If this is the beginning of spring

Two more weeks until daylight saving time begins. Two more weeks until our second annual training school. Two more weeks until I head back to France. Hooray!

I know I mentioned that there hasn’t been much sunshine in Louvain-la-Neuve lately, but when when there is sun, this is quite a relaxing place to be at. Ever since the trip to Ghent, I’ve stayed in Louvain-la-Neuve every weekend – gasp! Weekend afternoon walks became my activity of choice here, especially pleasant during the two weekends when it was warm and sunny out! Spring was definitely coming, right?

Wrong. Weather here fluctuates like the lottery. When I thought the sunny weather meant that it was the beginning of spring, Mother Nature burst my bubble by sending snow last week. Splendid. For two or three days I felt like we were back in that period of time at the beginning of February when Europe was invaded by a sudden cold attack. I almost had to get my scarf and gloves out again. Not amusing.

I am glad, however, that I did take advantage of those warm days and left the house to enjoy the rarity. My favourite place in Louvain-la-Neuve is definitely the lake. When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with the lake for a nice, relaxing afternoon.

On this day, my original destination was actually not the lake. I began by wandering through some residential areas of LLN, stumbling upon some new, unvisited places, before somehow ending back at the lake, as always. Really, how far could you go?

I usually have to go through this tunnel or underpass, whatever you call it, to get to the lake on the other side. It’s not that I’m afraid of anything sketchy going on – I mean, it literally takes 10 seconds to cross – but somehow I have this irrational assumption that it would stink in there. Then I take a deep breath and hold it until I am all the way on the other side. I think I sneaked a breath once when I was crossing the tunnel, and…it didn’t stink. BUT I still hold my breath every time I go through it…

Lake Louvain-la-Neuve is a great place to observe the birds that surround the area. Although I didn’t see the swans that usually hang around the lake, there were whole flocks of geese, ducks, and seagulls scattered all around.

Apparently Canada geese don’t only live in Canada. After “living” with them for 5 years in university – not a bit too scarce on the Waterloo campus, UWers would know what I am talking about – I certainly didn’t miss them much.

These two ducks caught my attention for quite awhile, as their behaviours were way too entertaining. I suspected that they were dating or something, because they seemed to like to tease each other, and they would follow each other everywhere. Here they are on land after a leisurely swim, drying off themselves.

I like playing around with the colour accent effect on the camera, especially with the blue sky. The black and white brings out the peacefulness of the LLN cityscape, so calm and tranquil.

It’s interesting to think back to when I first arrived in Louvain-la-Neuve. Wow, that was more than a year ago. I thought the place was quite ugly and boring and wouldn’t stop trying to find ways to get out. That was why from March to May last year, I practically went to a different city every weekend.

Now, I’ve taken a liking to the univer-city setting. From a distance, Louvain-la-Neuve is actually a pretty little town 😉

The clouds decided to return to try to engulf the sun, but before I concluded my walk around the lake that day, I found out what the clouds were really up to. Apparently they turn into a fire-breathing monster when no one is looking…or well, they THINK no one is looking. Better run…

On the way home, I spotted these birds chilling way up high on the top of a roof. Max zoom on my camera only gets me this far. Seems like they’re enjoying the unusually great weather as well.

After a bit of birdwatching, something stirred in the air, causing the birds to lift off into the sky. I watched them for a bit and realized that they flew in a defined pattern, so it was quite convenient to predict where they’d be at any given moment. They flew in circles, cycle after cycles, before resting again on the roof.

It was quite spectacular. I’m glad I stood there and observed a little before going home (and I’m glad my camera battery survived that last bit!)

Next week I’m going to Paris and Brussels, two places that I’ve been to a few times already, but with a purpose. Well, two purposes. If I succeed in taking some nice pictures, I will certainly write about it!

6 responses to “If this is the beginning of spring

  1. London Caller March 13, 2012 at 12:35

    Ha… We do have a lot of Canada geese in London too.
    If you love birdwatching, you should visit St James’s Park when you come to London.
    There are lots of exotic waterfowls there, including four white pelicans.
    It’s one of my favourite parks in central London.

    >Ah, I was wondering what “thosai” was, but I was more used to calling them “dosa”

    Oh yes, it’s also “dosa” here in England.
    But we call it “thosai” back in Malaysia.
    Are there many Indians living in Canada too?
    I know Vancouver is like a Little HK. 🙂
    I saw some stunning pictures of Vancouver in Canada House, London.
    It’s such a lovely place, behind the snowy mountains overlooking the sea.
    Aiya… Good fengshui! HA!


    • Annie Bananie March 13, 2012 at 17:54

      I went to some park when I was in London, but I don’t think it was St. James’ Park. And yes, there are many Indians in Canada (at least in Toronto)! Sadly I have not been to Vancouver yet 😦


      • London Caller March 19, 2012 at 09:57

        Ha… Looks like you’ve seen more of Belgium than Canada, Annie.
        Are you actually studying in Belgium? 😉
        Enjoy your “European” lifestyle.



        • Annie Bananie March 19, 2012 at 11:08

          The idea of travelling never occurred to me in Canada…AND it’s expensive =_=” I am in Belgium now but will head back to France next week, constantly switching between the two places 😉

          乾炒牛河 = yummmmmmmmmmmmmmm! 今年回多倫多要吃個夠~~


  2. Marina March 14, 2012 at 19:48

    I love that you caught the ducks mid-flirtation. Thanks for visiting my site and I’ll definitely be checking yours for updates in the future! It seems we are in similar expat situations 😉


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