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2 August 2015

Visiting Leuven & Brussels

As you may already be aware, I'm hoping to move to Leuven next month as part of my Erasmus year abroad. My family and I thought it would be good to visit Leuven beforehand so I could familiarise myself with the main parts of the town and find my bearings for when I move in September. Towards the end of July, we did exactly that and spent two days exploring Leuven and a day in the center of Brussels.

I had already made a list of everywhere I wanted to visit before, one of those places included finding the KU Leuven law school. It is located in the center of Leuven with the rest of the University campus nearby. The law school here in Edinburgh is very picturesque and I'm delighted the law school in Leuven is simply beautiful too.

Next, we found the University library. It's free to access for KU Leuven students, but we had to pay to visit the library as well as either/both the bell tower and the library exhibition. We bought tickets for the bell tower and we were all terrified! The bell tower comprises of a good few set of spiral staircases with small exhibitions on each of the landings. I was the only one of my family to actually step outside at the top of the tower as it was very high up - but we were all rushing to get back down as we were warned the sound of the hourly bell was extremely loud.

The square which the library is a part of seems to host various events throughout the year, when we visited it was beach volley week.

We didn't try a lot of Belgian foods whilst in Leuven. On our first night we actually ordered a Dominos takeaway to have in the hotel as we were all knackered from walking all day. This photo was taken at a restaurant called 'La Vignette' on our last night in Leuven. I'm not a fan of beer/lagers, but as there was a Stella brewery behind our hotel, I had to give it a try.

Belgian National day is celebrated on the 21st of July every year. We assumed this was a national holiday as all of the shops in Leuven were closed and the town was pretty dead, so we hopped on a train to Brussels central. The city was packed on this day with the emergency services showing off their vehicles, police dogs and hosting activities for the public.

After spending the morning walking along Rue de la RĂ©gence, we headed in the opposite direction to Galerie Du Roi. The shops here are very expensive, but it was nice to have a look in all the Belgian chocolate shop windows and the shopping centre itself is very beautiful.

Around from Galerie Du Roi is Brussel's Grote Markt where the guild halls can be found. Anything named 'grote markt' in Belgium is definitely a place to visit, both the squares in Leuven and Brussels are stunning!

The visit was short and sweet, but I have learnt a lot about both Leuven and Brussels and I'm excited to head over there again in 6 weeks where I can temporarily call it my home for 10 months. 

Apologies my blog posts have been very infrequent this summer. Life is hectic at the moment - I have two resit exams in the next couple of weeks (sigh) so a lot of my time is going towards studying for those. I won't be able to move to Leuven unless I pass my exams, so they are most definitely priority for me at the moment.

I have already started a list of blog posts I'm planning on writing when I'm free again towards the middle of August. I can't wait to start taking photos and writing up blog posts properly again!

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