The alarm clock went off at 5am on Sunday. Plan was to leave at 6am for #Leuven, Belgium to visit the oldest kid at the University over there for a few days.
We eventually took off at 6:30am which I consider a success. A long drive ahead of us and me as the only driver this time. But since it was a Sunday, the Autobahn was OK. Apart of course from the Ruhrgebiet …
Eventually we arrived in Leuven at around 3pm
We booked the cheapest hotel we could get and the rooms don’t disappoint the low expectations 😉 But the beds are OK and we really don’t use it for more than 3 nights to sleep. So why spend more? Leuven is a rather beautiful city with lots of places to kill time.
On Monday we were visiting various places in Leuven. First the university library which was burned down two times by German soldiers in world war 1 and 2. We had a good view over the city from the top of the library tower. There was an ongoing exhibition about censorship.
Then we went on to the botanical gardens where the city were just about to store all the palm trees for winter that were decorating the city.
Tuesday we took the train to Brussels and payed The Atomium the mandatory visit. Quite impressive from the outside. Inside the usual exhibits about how the place was build and renovated over the years.
After that we drove into the city center by tram to visit the chocolate story museum. That was informative and delicious.
Just around the corner was the famous Mannekin Pis which we only noticed due to a huge crowd of Asian tourists being photographed by their tour guide in front the Mannekin. While writing this review I learned that they apparently dress up the figure on a regular basis with suits. Check the link above for pictures of that.
Wednesday was rather rainy. We had our famous yellow rain jackets and no fear. But the draw back with those jackets is that all the water goes straight down to your legs. If you don’t have watertight trousers as well, you still get rather wet. I also figured out that my trusty Blundstone shoes finally got severely cracked soles and giving me wet feets in the conditions as well.
We had plans to visit the St. Peters church in the old city center. But eventually had to learn that just this month it’s closed on Wednesdays for the public 🙁
So we ended up visiting the old town hall across the street from the church. There was an exhibition about Dieric Bouts – the cities famous painter and sculpture artist.
This was quite impressive as just on this day additional rooms of the town hall were open. There was a very kind old guide in the exhibition which gave us additional explanations in German as the electronic tour guide was only available in English.
In the evening my daughter an me went to the “Grand Cafe Industrie” (I don’t link to their page as that is apparently malware infected at the moment). One of two old but beautifully kept cafes at the place near the train station. Belgium is famous for their beers and of course I had to try one at least once during the drip.
Thursday morning we hit the road again to go back to Berlin. This time during the week, with heavy traffic expected on the Autobahn. Overall I think we were lucky that there was no real standstill for more than 2-3 Minutes. But it was quite full and basically a long chain of Trucks from the German border all the way to Berlin. It just shows that Germany completely messed up its goods transport system. Only relying on Autobahn and trucks is a rather stupid idea. Most of these trucks do long distance transports and could have easily gone on trains.
Over all this trip was quite depressing for “a German”. The Netherlands and Belgium seem to work much better than Germany. People seem more calm, friendlier and overall happier I’d say.
Friday we went off to the countryside after breakfast. Autumn has finally arrived and although rather late. Only now, at the end of October, the trees turn colourful and still got most of their leaves. Sky is grey with heavy clouds and misty rain. If you know me… than you know I like every season 😉