Sunday, January 4, 2009

Belgium: Part 2

We travelled from Brugge to Brussels, and then to stay with friends of my brother in a town called Tildonk. We stayed there for Christmas. I don't have any pictures of Tildonk, but it was similar to the rural outskirts of Geneva, if any of you know that area.

While staying at Tildonk, we took a day trip to a nearby university town called Leuven. It's a nice place and worth a visit.

Saint Peter's Church, Leuven

The church window from inside

The town hall next to the church is impressive. It's probably hard to see in these pictures, but those are pairs of carved figures standing back-to-back between the windows. The small gables on the roof all had wooden shutters over them. A very striking building.
The late gothic town hall

Late gothic slightly later. When it was lit, it was greater.

The sight that greeted us between the church and the town hall was baffling. There was a long stretch of hanging metal bars, and people would dress up in a bell costume and walk the length, striking the bars. It didn't exactly create a beautiful melody. It was reminiscent of running a lawnmower over a gravel path.

Running of the Bells (I)

Running of the Bells (II)

If you were to summarise the trip to Leuven, it would probably be with the phrase "What the hell?" Beside the bells, we stumbled into some sort of pagan druid dance display. There were also a bunch of old people beating drums, but somehow I only ended up with a picture of the nubile young woodsprites at the front. I've read enough fantasy novels to know that elves don't age, so those old people were just fooling themselves anyway.

Fashion accessories from the House of Bjork

We went to a Pizza Hut around the corner for lunch. As part of my ongoing attempt to get to the core of foreign cultures, I ordered the only exotic looking drink - called a Fristi. The waitress laughed at me because apparently only children drink Fristi, but I'm a cultural anthropologist, so she can get stuffed.

It's strawberry milk, in case you were wondering.

Not bad, actually

We returned to the square outside the Pizza Hut later in the day. They had lit a large mirrorball which looked very pretty in the dusk.

Leuven: A pretty town.

Posts on Brussels and the long-anticipated Norwich trip soon.

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