Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

From Japan to Leuven - part 1

As I mentioned in my most recent post, I went into Leuven on Wednesday with my colleague and friend F. One of the things I like about her, apart from the fact that we share some common interests, is the fact that she's very punctual. Although she lives some 35 km away and had to tackle the extremely busy Brussels' 'ring' (which is not unlike the Parisian 'périphérique', but not as long), she arrived at the agreed time. We drove into Leuven. It took longer than expected, because for the first part of the journey we were caught behind a tractor. And the last kilometre or so we found ourselves following a garbage truck, collecting the waste paper in some of Leuven's narrowest streets. 

Parking was no problem, as the underground car park in the centre of town was only half full. We started out doing some shopping for my mother ... and got lost. Well, you can't really get lost in Leuven as the town isn't all that big, but the street I was looking for wasn't where I remembered it to be. You may recall that I attended secondary school in Leuven. At the time I knew the town like my mother's back yard, but that's almost 40 years ago ...

Finally, with the help of a town map and a friendly local resident, we found the street and the shop we were looking for. I didn't take any photos of this part of our trip as we were too busy chatting and getting back on track. We also did a lot of window shopping - lèche-vitrines in French. It was great fun. I ended up buying one item that was not on my initial shopping list: a multi-coloured top with a geometrical design which will be perfect with a recently acquired green cardigan.

By then it was almost noon and time for an aperitif on a sidewalk terrace in the sun. But first I wanted to show F. the statue of Fonske. Here it is.

'Fonske' or 'Fons Sapientiae' as he his officially called, was a gift from Leuven's University to the city of Leuven to commemorate the 550the anniversary (1425 -1975) of the Catholic University of Leuven. 'Fons Sapientiae' means 'Source of Wisdom' and shows a student pouring water into his head while reading a book, the water representing the wisdom he's acquiring. This interpretation however is different from the artists initial intention, which was a student drinking too much beer and reading about the effect it had on him. After a protest from the Students' Association which didn't appreciate the fact that all students were depicted as beer drinking rascals, the town council came up with the new, more dignified explanation.

Here's a closer look of Fonske. 1975, the year in which he was inaugurated, I left Leuven to continue my education in Brussels ... So Fonske and I have never been properly introduced!


chm said...

It is always a pleasure to look at pictures of Leuven's famous Gothic buildings.

Nadege said...


Niall & Antoinette said...

Must go and visit ... adding it to the list :-)

ladybird said...

Chm, You are right. Even after all these years, I'm still in awe before so much beauty.

Nadege, That's the right word!

N&A, Don't forget to contact me in advance. It'll be a pleasure showing you around and buying you a nice lunch! Not to mention a beer tasting session :)

VirginiaC said...

Very interesting....I like Fonske!

ladybird said...

Virginia, He is cute, isn't he? :)