I’ve been to Leuven, but I’ve never written about it. In fact, I’ve been to Leuven four times last year, but each time I went, I headed directly to a specific meeting point for fellowship, and never explored the city beyond the route that I took.
To introduce Leuven a bit, it is in the Flemish region of Belgium, which means people there speak Flemish, not French. Leuven is located north of Louvain-la-Neuve and east of Brussels, forming an equilateral triangle on the map. Leuven is home to the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL), which is directly related to the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL, where I am at) as UCL split from it in 1968. I don’t know the entire history behind the event, but due to some language tensions, what used to be known as the Catholic University of Leuven split into KUL and UCL, and UCL “moved” to Louvain-la-Neuve in Wallonia, providing French-language instruction.
My visits to Leuven generally began at the train station as I arrived at around 19H00. Then I would stroll down Bondgenotenlaan (name of a street) until I got to the Grote Markt and took a turn onto Naamsestraat (another street name) until I reached my destination at 19H30 for the start of fellowship. At the end of fellowship, I took the same route back to the train station at 22H00 in order to catch the last train back to Louvain-la-Neuve. Unfortunately I don’t attend this fellowship anymore due to the tight timing. Sometimes I can’t make the train that gets me there on time, and leaving early at 22H00 doesn’t give me much time to mingle at all 😦
The few times I was there, however, I really liked Leuven. The wide streets and the gorgeous Gothic architecture were certainly refreshingly different from Louvain-la-Neuve. I’m sure there’s much more to see beyond the limits of the city centre, and it’s a trip I’ll have to re-take one of these days, when the weather is slightly better.
The silhouette of an unknown structure glowed prominently straight ahead of me as I walked down Bondgenotenlaan, towards the Grote Markt. In October last year, I usually arrived in Leuven right before sunset, just as the sky was turning dark. This was taken during my first time in Leuven, and that silhouette really stood out and amazed me.