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Reports

Sunday, 13 May 2001
--> Leuven (B) day 1

Today I discussed about world conflicts, got to Leuven within 30 minutes and played a soccer match with Colombian and Mexican exchange students… Hey! Blisters of my feet!
I drunk a cup of coffee after waking up and had a shower around 10 o’clock. Even though it was about 20 degrees Celsius, I slept as a rose in the typical girlies room of Sophia, the daughter of the house.

Before the ’brunch’ (breakfast and lunch together) I had enough time to write some previous days reports and I know I am still some days behind while typing this…

Time flies when you are having fun.

The meal was just like yesterday - a lot. The Nys family aren’t big meat eaters, so they offer themselves a great variety of vegetables and fruit. And it all goes accompanied with some glasses of white wine, although it was only noon. That’s normal here!

Around noon I called to my parents place at home in the Netherlands, not forgetting to congratulate my mother with Mothers Day. I don’t have his particular present for her (yet), but just speaking to my parents again felt really good.

Some neighbours of the family came over and while the kids played outside or watched TV, I got involved in very interesting talking with the men. From the Northern Ireland to the Israeli conflicts and the involvement of the United States in it, secretly of course.

I am still very amazed about the fact that Belgium has five (!) governments. Accumulate that with the three different languages they speak here (Dutch, German and French) and you’ll understand that federal decisions go very slowly and it takes years for a highway to be built.

Just imagine yourself in your house with ten people speaking only different languages and maybe you’ll understand the situation when somebody asks around “Who is finally going to do the dishes?”

The next place I’ll be visiting will be the city of Leuven, the absolute oldest University City of complete Europe. And of course I had to enjoy the student life there.

Dirk, the Nys family father, insisted on bringing me to this city, some 42 kilometres Southwest. And when the visiting neighbour insisted on bringing me to, nobody interfered… How generous!

I arrived at the address of my next guesthouse of Wouter and his Colombian girlfriend Elisabeth, who live almost in the center of Leuven.

As I got in and dropped my backpack in my personal room I got appointed there, I handed the couple the Gift that I took with me from the Nys family. It was a wooden basket with self-made jelly, a manual tea maker thing and various tastes of tea. And Elisabeth admitted that she’d always want that tea maker thing and she could even use it for the coffee!

After drinking a glass of water – it was over 25 degrees – they wanted to visit their Colombian friends who had moved to a new house, very closeby. So I got on a mountain bike and we all cycled around the center of town along the railroads to this Villa Park where they lived.

When arriving there we weren’t alone. A group of eight young Colombian and Mexican exchange students were already enjoying the first days of beautiful weather here, drinking the beer Leuven is proud of: “Stella Artois” and passing around a bottle of tequila and Colombian rum. After a few beers I had to try that too, according to this group. It tasted pretty good, but I knew I had to slow everything down.

I am not really used to drinking rather a lot. And as they spoke only Spanish, their drinking speed reflected on their speaking and it got all very difficult for me to understand.

After they did some common singing, talking and more drinking, it was time for a soccer-match in the back garden. How could they keep up with that all? Of course I had to join and prove myself as being not such a great soccer-player. Southern America won with 5-50 or something. Because of the heat everybody stopped counting and just looked out for the ball…

This coming night I could count the blisters on my feet without looking at them…

Around 8.30 that evening we said goodbye to this group and cycled back home where Elisabeth started to prepare a meal. Spaghetti like I have never tasted spaghetti before. Ohhh mmm…

But what about the next days, I started to think. At Ludo´s place on Friday I was invited to visit the radiostudio of Studio Brussels, the most popular radiostation in Belgium next Wednesday.

If I would stay another day in this great city of Leuven (on the bicycle I didn´t see it all and everybody suggested that I shoud see the student life here) I would go to Brussels on Tuesday. With two inviting persons in the city of Brussel (and the capital city of the European Union) I´d make the radioprogram without any troubles and then carry on through the West of Belgium, on my way to France!

Wouter and Elisabeth were pretty tired after this whole afternoon and they offered me to take me out to town tomorrownight, if I´d stay another day.

After a few phonecalls, everything was arranged. One more day in Leuven tomorrow! What a great city this is, tomorrow I´ll be seeing even more!