A few weekends ago we had our first consecutive Friday, Saturday and Sunday with not a bit of travel in it. Stemming from an accidental booking* of Rome in January, we may be forced into another such weekend since the funds set aside for this weekend have now been newly assigned to the first weekend we are back in Belgium in 2013. Can I say "weekend" more? However, I might just be getting excited about a stay in Leuven for the weekend (guess I can). There are things to be discovered in our own backyard.
For instance, there is an amazing set of trails in some woods nearby. And when I say nearby I mean a 45 minute walk from our apartment and then the trails I'm pining for (get it, pining? Woods have Pine trees..? ...I'm sorry, it's late/early) would take us quite a bit of time...Chris, are you reading? Are you already dreading the four hour long hiking possibility?
Also, I know it's for the kids, but
SANTA SINTERKLAAS came to town yesterday in a parade that we missed by seconds (cue sad face). Luckily his house is set up in the groot markt and I want a glimpse of it. Apparently this is the man that brings presents on December 5th and in the morning the children only receive them. Since Chris keeps getting the "youth" discount everywhere (under 25), I hope he's not expecting a present...
Lastly, the Belgian Art House is a pop-up gallery that was installed in the ground floor of our building and I just realized it closes up after this weekend. A trip to that is necessary as well.
Okay, wow, really getting off topic this morning. What I want to show you today is what we did with our first no-trip Saturday.
We visited the Groot Begijnhof which is to say, a very quiet section of Leuven that used to be residences for non-married, semi religious women back in the early 13th century. Get this, they are still used as residences today. I'm not sure how much rent is but wow, that would've been fantastic. Owned by the university now, students and other academics live within. Most of the other places we've been to that are historic landmarks and tourist sites previously housing families or royals are now only museums. It's pretty wonderful that each charming Begijnhof we've visited up to this point has proven to be the only place where it remains: once a residence, always a residence (at least for now).
It became dark very quickly while we were there and my fingers were turning red from the cold. I refused to take off my fuzzy mittens (Thanks Mom M!) any more and keep switching between all the manual settings, atempting to get the right exposure for these photographs. This new camera is a less professional one than my old D70s that I had for years. I (obviously) have yet to figure out how to even get to the manual settings quickly and efficiently. I gave up and we headed to find something hot to drink and somewhere warm to sit. Tomorrow I'll show you what we found. Visitors, the little place you'll see tomorrow almost warrants an "alert" but fret not, we will take you there for sure.
Until tomorrow, Happy one-week-until-Thanksgiving!
In case you were still wondering...
*Chris found a great deal on plane tickets to Rome (!) for a super quick, one-day jaunt on what he thought was this Saturday. Turns out it was for a Saturday in December. And that same date in December is the day we are supposed to be in Paris. Needless to say we had to do some very quick maneuvering of dates on the airline's website and change our reservation without losing too much money. I am actually thrilled with the outcome because now instead of whizzing around Rome in one short day for our first trip, we'll have a whole weekend. God works in mysterious ways, sometimes through the slip-up of a date read seconds before tickets are bought, without trip insurance, and for that I am thankful!