Grand Béguinage

Yesterday was our first free day in Belgium. Everyone took the opportunity to sleep in, however, I think that most people woke up at a reasonable hour for fear of sleeping away an entire day. Myself, I got up around 10am and hit the road for a run. At this point in my ‘getting back in shape’ plan, I am just willing myself to run the distances that I am running. I did a good solid hour and ten minute run which was a wonderful way to start the day. I ended up, quite by accident, exploring a new part of the Leuven area called Heverlee . The problem with all of this running is that I find all sorts of interesting places when I am without my camera. I ran past a great park and by the Oud-Heverlee-Leuven Soccer Stadium. I had the urge to hop the fence and run onto the field, but I decided against it!

When I got back I went over to the market and grabbed a great sandwich for just 2.80 euros. Then I headed back to the Irish College to wait for Dr. Brooks to give us a tour of the Grand Beguinage. This town-like site was built in the early 13th century to provide living space for semi-religious unmarried or widowed females who wanted to maintain independence. This particular Beguinage is designated as a UNESCO Heritage Site. The most striking thing about this experience was realizing just how old the structures were. In Canada, our concept of ‘old’ is Quebec City. In Europe that is nothing! Even right here at the Irish College we have discovered that some of the timber beams have been carbon dated back to 1000 A.D. That is a really really long time ago!

After our walk I headed out to wander to city of Leuven. Yesterday was the longest day ofthe year and Leuven was alive with street vendors and entertainment. Take a look at my pictures and you will see a little bit of what I mean. I actually hit the city by myself for a couple of hours so I had the opportunity to just kind of explore and go with the flow.

The day ended off with a nice dinner at a restaurant called Domus. We packed it in relatively early for us, although not near early enough, because today was an early morning!

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