I had this draft post, that was intended to be published during the autumn season (when the pictures were taken). But well, let’s do thing differently and post it in summer! I have a new logo btw, but I’m not sure if it works? Any suggestions are more than welcome!
I was born and raised in Leuven, a small city in Belgium, just 20 minutes from the capital Brussels. In Leuven we like to say that it is rather a town than a city. It’s not big at all. In my opinion Leuven is definitely worth a visit. It has a beautiful cathedral and town hall in Gothic style, and other medieval remainings such as the beguinages and ancient city walls.
As you probably already know by now, I love to travel. I love to explore places, cultures, and also love their history. While going to foreign and exotic places is a lot of fun, I also really enjoy the simple things right back home. So that’s why I decided to write about my city Leuven. Rather than ‘highlighting’ the touristic spots Leuven has to offer, I prefer to share my personal favorite with you, the Abdij van t’Park (Park Abbey). It is located just outside the city center, and for me the perfect place to find some rest, take a walk and try to solve the unanswered questions in live.
The history of this Abbey takes us back to the year 1129. So… it’s quite old. Without going to much into detail of it’s history, abbeys used to have a very important role in society. The Abbey owned lots of grounds (at some point 2.472 hectares), from which now a small fraction still remains (according to Google 42 hectares). Today it’s one of the best preserved abbeys in Belgium. The landscape takes you from farm lands, to ponds, pastures and country lanes.
The entrance I always use is the Sint-Jans gate. Before you get to this gate you actually already passed two gates. So I think the domain used to be divided into different segments. After going trough the gate I usually make a turn right, towards the ponds.
I really enjoy a walk around the fishing ponds. Two of them were excavated in the middle ages, the other two in the 18th century. The purpose of them was fish. Through a certain system (I don’t know exactly how) they could empty one or more ponds, which makes it quite easy to catch the fish. Now you can just enjoy the reflection of beautiful autumn colors (and in summer the summer colors?!) and the many birds that made this place their home. In any city I’ve been to, I always loved the contrast places like this give to cities. A place of rest, peace, nature, … Looking at these pictures you wouldn’t tell that this place is located about a 100 meters from a city.
As many monuments, the Park Abbey also knew an evolution. The Abbey became quite important and soon expanded. Buildings got added and adjusted up until 1730. Since then we could say nothing changed… except for today. During years (and many more to come) they are renovating the interior. A big project that costs a lot of money. I already took a sneak peak inside last year, and it looked wonderful. Can’t wait for the day the project is finished.
The views here are stunning (in my opinion). It is my home, it is simple, it is full of history, nature and culture coming together. I come here to think, or not to think. To empty my head, to take in the environment.
Because of the renovation I couldn’t go inside this time (this time is like months ago), however if you are interested, you can take a virtual tour in and around the abbey. (For this ‘virtual tour’ go to this site) It is in Dutch, but at least your eye gets to see a bit of the interior. I remember I saw the library last year. The monument opened because it was monument day in Belgium. The ceiling was in 3D! Figures were worked out beautifully in the ceiling. I also saw the interior of the church, and the cloisters. Somehow I also found that from the inside the building is a lot taller than it seems from the outside.
And to finish, once again, any potential guest bloggers => I’D BE VERY VERY HAPPY TO HEAR FROM YOU 🙂