Day four: Belgium (Leuven)July 26, 2009
We woke up at 8:00am and when I wanted to sleep a few minutes more Marcus simply pushed the snooze button again and again and again. I took a shower in a huge bathroom on a medical looking shower chair with Marcus assisting now and then. Marcus prepared my soup for me with warm water straight from the tap (because there was no boiling water available), the creme ritual and then dress. The breakfast was of great quality (5 star) comprising champagne, crêpes (pancakes), scrambled eggs and fried eggs, sausages and mushrooms (the well known full English Breakfast). It was delicious. After an hour we went back to the room.
Abdij van ‘t Park
Marcus had planned a trip to the nearby “Abdij van ‘t Park” (Abby of the Park) to see and especially hear the Sunday morning mass. We could only reach it by riding cross country because of road constructions. I don’t know whether Marcus was serious or not but he dared not to get into the Abby. The door was also closed so we didn’t know if mass had already started. We did however walk around to see the the main and the supporting buildings, the ancient graves and the pigeon house (see picture). There also was a muddy lake behind the Abby.
Then we went straight to Diest, a small town close to Leuven. My mother and a girlfriend of her went to this city by bike just after WWII (1954). They stayed with an aunt of either my mother or this girlfriend (so she told us in a text msg-conversation). We learned by experience that the town center of Diest is on Sundays the central gathering place for all local (surprisingly well behaving) Harley Davidson riders. Marcus is sitting on what we believed to be the local Town Hall stairs (see photo above).
We had coffee with pastries in a cafe, then took a walk around (and in) the local church and then sat down again at the corner of the two main streets of Diest. Diest is a small city indeed. We took our time to order and when we finally did each of us ordered a “baguette”, for Marcus with ham and “groentjes” and for me with cheese. The order was taken by a sweet little girl (according to Marcus). I asked him how he knew but I never got a proper answer :-). We went back to Leuven to let Marcus finish a pocket by Maigret while sipping a beer (Rochefort) and me to have a 2-hour nap.
Back in the centre of Leuven
At 19:00 we went to the centre of Leuven again. We walked around on the “Groote Markt” (Large Market) and on the “Oude Markt” (Old Market). We watched the people passing by while sitting on a terrace and drank something.
Dinner in a Sicilian restaurant
We decided to grab a bite but because I didn’t feel well (I also was very tired) and I suggested that the most safe option for me was the Sicilian Italian Restaurant we found in between the hotel and the center. We went to that restaurant and I fell immediately in love with “mamma”. Such a typical Sicilian woman. Marcus and ordered the same: ravioli filled with truffles with a sauce of fungi porchini.
The food was delicious until the moment I felt a fried maggot in my mouth. The kind of small maggots you can find in old fungi porcini (I regonized them at once because I lived in Rome for a while and often went the market to buy fresh fungi porchini). After that experience I didn’t fancy my food anymore. Marcus however finished his plate, such a Tiger. We asked for the bill and had coffee in the hotel in the still warm night (al fresco).