Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Category Archives: Belgium – Louvain-la-Neuve

Wall art in Louvain-la-Neuve

One of the things that I love about Louvain-la-Neuve (LLN) – two years ago, thinking that I could ever love Louvain-la-Neuve would be a joke – is the vast amount of interesting wall art that’s scattered around the city. I don’t know if it’s just a LLN thing or a Belgium thing. Maybe it derived from the Belgians’ love of comic books, as I know in Brussels they have huge murals of popular comic strips. In any case, the wall art in LLN definitely adds a certain dimensionality to the city, however small it may be. I just love finding new pieces of art emerging from random corners of a new street or the sight of artists in the process of painting a new wall. It’s really a different and curious type of culture.

Like the previous host city-themed posts (Sculptures of Bordeaux, Streets of Bordeaux, Streets of Louvain-la-Neuve, It’s all about Saint-André, among others), I’ve been collecting images (in my mind) for the “wall art” post. Then one day in November, I had a rare free afternoon to do whatever I wanted. So I took my camera for a stroll around LLN, photographing some of the wall art that I know of around the city. By no means is this a comprehensive collection, but they are the ones I see the most often. Take a look!

This mural of a girl in a field of wild flowers is located right beside the Place des Sciences, close by my lab. It’s a relatively new painting – I think I saw it being painted sometime at the beginning of October this year.

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A very Belgian spring…finally

Spring has arrived in Belgium…I think. I can never really be sure, because Belgium has frequent unpredictable mood swings. It was snowing two weeks ago and I thought we’d skip spring this year. Alas, last weekend was a glorious 22 degrees, so it really did seem like the end of winter…I think?

I see a lot of cats in Louvain-la-Neuve, and this one I liked a lot. One day as I stepped out of the house to go to work, it ran over to my feet out of nowhere and whispered the softest “MEOW” I’ve ever heard from a cat. Then it ran off quickly, as if it was shy. Honestly, it may look badass in the photo, but on the contrary, it’s super gentle and adorable ❤

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Streets of Louvain-la-Neuve

I’ve been back in Bordeaux for three weeks and while it is nice to be back in the city I love, I’ve gotta admit that I kinda miss Louvain-la-Neuve.

Hmm, how did this happen? Louvain-la-Neuve, not just a campus, but barely a real city. I didn’t like it much when I first stepped into Louvain-la-Neuve, that much was certain. The place felt more like a trap than a comfortable place to live.

It took a while to discover the charm hidden within, a process that required living there for a few months at a time and frequent absence. Gradually I found myself starting to like Louvain-la-Neuve more and more as I found ways to enjoy the “city”, as I took delight in the small, unique things that surprise me.

So, after having written about the streets of Bordeaux, I feel that it is only fair to dedicate a post to the streets of Louvain-la-Neuve 😉

On an unsuspecting Saturday afternoon, if I am not out and about travelling to nearby cities, I like to take slow strolls around Louvain-la-Neuve. Although the area of the place itself is not big, there are so many hidden corners that I seem to have missed during my walks that I slowly discover one by one. It’s always fun to get lost, then find my way again.

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Bois de Lauzelle, love at first hike

Last year I discovered the beauty of autumn in Louvain-la-Neuve, and I am glad to have spent most of October here this year as well, to see the beginning of the end of fall. What a mesmerizing season filled with grace, vibrance, and dynamics.

There is a forest nearby my campus called “Bois de Lauzelle”, a great place for a nice afternoon hike. From the centre of Louvain-la-Neuve, it’s about a 15-minute walk. Not too far, huh. One would think I would have gone there already during my previous stays in Louvain-la-Neuve. Nope. Due to my laziness, I’ve never visited the woods, even though I knew of its existence since the beginning of the year. It’s like Antwerp and Maastricht. I didn’t make the effort to visit until this time around, when my departure from Belgium at the end of the month may be for a good 6 months.

So, on a cloudy Sunday morning after a rainy day (the day I went to Antwerp), I ventured into the woods for my first autumn hike. Laziness had to be conquered, yes, but I was not going to let this opportunity escape me again. After Tobermory and Kawartha Lakes, I was determined to discover Bois de Lauzelle, on my own.

As I started my hike from the centre of Louvain-la-Neuve to the outer parts of the city, I passed by the Parc de la Source where this gorgeous bird was chilling among the branches. I think it was a swallow…I could never be sure of bird names. The leaves were still very much green, but traces of yellow and orange have begun to appear everywhere.

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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?

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