Leuven is peaceful – brink buildings, cobblestone streets, and many more bicycles parked on any given street than cars. During the past couple days it rained in the morning, but has turned sunny by mid-day. A set of bells in the town square signals time passing every 15 minutes.
I love buying food here. We went to a large market in the town square on Friday, where I bought freshly homemade yogurt and brie. I also came home with carrots and non-GMO strawberries.
Bread in the market and the grocery store is baked, and then put through a bread slicer before your eyes. I haven’t gone out to eat yet – we have been making group meals at the hostel, but the ingredients make the meals special, along with sharing it among friends. I also enjoying the automatic macchiato/latte/cappuccino/espresso/coffee/chocolate coffee/hot chocolate with water/hot chocolate with milk/hot water machine in the kitchen of the hostel. I have been drinking much more caffeine than usual because a delicious drink is just a button push away, frothed milk and all.
A couple nights ago we got to climb up to the bell tower and hear a concert performed on the carillons by the bell player of Leuven – an official position at the University. We climbed up 200 steps for a beautiful view of the city and to hear an hour-long concert. Carillon playing is an important part of Belgium history and culture. After WWII, campuses in the United States began to create their own bell towers on college campuses after enjoying the beauty of them in Belgium.
I got tired by the end of the night...
Today I am off to race a 1500m in Kortrijk, Belgium. I am not too anxious about the race. I want to get a good effort in after arriving in Belgium a couple days ago. I felt pretty sharp in my pre-meet yesterday, so I’m hoping that can translate to some good racing over here. At the same time, I am still yawning all the time and trying to get used to the time change. There are a lot of good runners, and especially American runners, in the race. I should have fun racing some of my steeplechase competitors in the race.