Belgium:       Leuven       Brussels       Ghent       Bruges       Antwerp

Leuven, Belgium 2004

Let us begin with Leuven, our home away from home and our base of operations for touring the northern part of Belgium.  Leuven is a small gem and Belgium (at least the Flemish part) in microcosm.   The cobblestone streets, the shops, squares, restaurants, medieval cathedrals and other buildings are similar to those we would see in Antwerp (Dutch: Antwerpen), Ghent (Dutch: Gent), Bruges (Dutch: Brugge), and Brussels (Dutch: Brussel).  By far, I took most of my photos in Leuven, and we spent more time here than in any other place for the simple reason that we returned here every evening and we walked through the old town at least twice a day.

Not once did we get into a car.  We walked.  Though there are roads through the old part of town, we saw almost no traffic;  automobile traffic was largely limited to the modern roads around the periphary of Leuven (marked in yellow in the map below).   The squares where we ate and shopped were mercifully free of traffic and the ever present smell of gasoline that is so omnipresent in Amercan cities.  We and the locals ate out of doors in fair weather and rain (all the restaurants have awnings that could be extended in inclement weather) without the sound of cars to ruin the dining experience.

Map of the town of Leuven.

Click on the map above to see a larger version in a separate window.

To the left is a map of the center of Leuven (courtesy of Google Maps).   I marked our daily walk from the Begijnhof Congreshotel to the Leuven train station in red.

As the text and images below describe it took us through the cobblestoned medieval quarter of Groot Begijnhhof, past St. Anthony's Chapel, the Oude Markt, the Grote Markt (where we ate many a dinner), St. Peter's Church and the Town Hall, that I marked in blue on the map, then onto a modern street lined with shops and businesses (Bondgenotenlaan) that led to the train station.  This was a 2.5 kilometer walk, about 1.5 miles, that took us less than 30 minutes.

The weather was splendid during most of our stay, raining on only two afternoons.  In the event of inclement weather, one could always use an umbrella or drive on Leuven's circle highways (colored yellow) that surround the old city in concentric circles.   That was never an issue for us, and we enjoyed the daily walk in both directions.

Please enjoy the pictures below.

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On to the capital city of Belgium, Brussels, the bi-lingual enclave within Flanders that is only a short train ride from Leuven.

Belgium:       Leuven       Brussels       Ghent       Bruges       Antwerp

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