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Published: September 18th 2011
Leuven Town Hall
Toward the center of town. Unreal architecture.
Uhmm...I think so?
I endured the struggle and sweat necessary to lug my enormous baggage from the claim carousel in Brussels airport to make my train connection. An adorable young man from China named Hao helped me get them on the train and we spoke for the 15 minute journey. I asked for tips about finding housing, navigating the city, and communicating. He told me that learning Dutch would be moot, seeing as most bartenders know English. Excuse me, Hao
. Hao dare
you assume I'm a boozer!? (Did you see what I did there?)
I exited the train praying for Laura's presence because I had no clue where to go, had she been M.I.A. From behind me, I heard a deep voice attempt to verify my identity. I thought "okay...either Laura is a dude, or she brought a buddy" and was rather pleased to find that it was another EMMAPA student from Serbia, named Vlad. He and Laura were there to be my angels and help me roll my life-filled luggage to our hotel.
After getting settled and changed, Stella Artois and grub were much needed. We stomped around for several hours visiting sites including Oude Markt (The
Are stilettos a part of your wardrobe? Think again, you hussy.
Longest Bar in Europe) where the pubs butt up to one another for blocks and blocks. We also walked through the Leuven beguinage (google it
) grounds, found our faculty on the KUL campus, and wrote down every 'te huur' contact we could find. Te huur (to rent) and te koop (to buy) signs are slim in the center of town. Those studio flats and kamens (rooms) which are still available can be quite pricey. The fact that practically the ENTIRE CITY closes down on the weekends doesn't make our search much easier. Breakfast had to wait until 10 this morning, when my new favorite French bakery, Le Pain, opens on Sundays.
My favorite part of the day was our time in this incredible playground we stumbled upon on the outskirts of the city. 4 PE kids on a series of 'our size' play structures? Game on. See attached video.
The hotel was all I needed it to be. Bed, shower, sink, toilet, desk. IKEA galore. The twin beds pushed together was a trip. I likely snored like the train I rode into town, after my 24 hour travelfest. My friendship with Laura may be short lived because of
Spinner of death and Teeter logs.
American Gladiators, eat your hearts out.
it. Tonight, I'm at Blauwput hostel and will stay until permanent housing is sorted out.
Favorite things about Belgium thus far:
1. Tipping is considered 'unnecessary'. Servers expect to get stiffed because they are payed hourly wages. (I asked out server...and tipped him anyway. What a foreigner.)
2. Everyone dresses up. Shined shoes, tights, slacks, coats, heels, skirts. No flip flops, sweats, hoodies, uggs, tshirts, or ball caps. I'd better work on my spit and polish.
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