Dienstag, 29. März 2011


Hey Leutz!

Ich habe meinen Eintrag über meinen Kurzurlaub in Belgien textlich soweit fertig. Ich wollte ihn nur noch mit ein paar Links und Fotos versehen, damit das ganze ein bisschen ... ja, anschaulicher wird. Sollte aber in den nächsten Tagen fertig sein. Freut euch drauf und nehmt euch Zeit: das wir dein langer Eintrag :)


Samstag, 26. März 2011

Holidays in Leuven

I'm still indecisive whether I wnat to do this in English or in German. It will probably be full of mistakes if I do it in English, but never the less, this should be a nice training. So what, here we go!

Once again, I'm giving you the long story, I hope you don't mind. But if you do, well ... :D So when my Study Buddy from Italy left, he wrote me an email that he'd be in Leuven for the following semester and he'd be very happy to host me if I liked to visit him. So I decided: let's go see Leuven and visit my Study Buddy (I mean, that's what international relationships are relly for, getting to know different people, seeing different places of the world, you know?). I wanted to do the trip after my exams and before the next semester started. So I packed all my exams into the first 4 "free" week to have the ohter 4 weeks for working and travelling.

But than I got ill and decided: ah, forget about working :D So in correspondence with my Study Buddy (I'll cut this short to SB), we made up the long weekend from 24th to 27th of March. With excellent help of him the booking of the hostels was no problem. He was very VERY sorry he couldn't host me himself, but his girlfriend arrived one day before me and his room really isn't all that big. But I'm not mad about it. Seriously (don't take that personal, SB), but I it's quite enough to spend all this wake time with you ;)

So I took my time to recover from the illness (took me 2 entire weeks) and after some very necessary clean-up actions at home I was ready for the ride. I went from Hanover over Collogne and Liège (which is Lüttich in German apparently) - by train, sure. I arrived at Leuven perfectly in time at 17.34 but I couldn't see SB along the track (he promised to fetch me). I was just walking down the track when he called me. I answered the call and after two sentences I saw (and heard) him phoning as loud as his Italian nature dictates it.

He then brought me to my first hostel. Yes, I stayed only for three nights, but I had to change the hostel in between, because the second hostel (which really was way better than the first one) was booked out for the first night. Anyway, the Youthhostel Blauwput is an ... let's say ok-ish place to stay. It's a very new building, the house and the rooms can be accessed via key cards, every room has it's own bathroom and toilette, group rooms are seperated by gender. The breakfast is included and on their web page they promised a free hot drink on the arrival, but I actually didn't get one. Maybe I should have asked. Instead of that, my welcome present was a map of Leuven my SB gave me.

So I shared a room there with two other guys who I actually never met - I only heard them, but to this I will come later on. Next stop was fnac. This is a French company for consumer electronics and I needed an SD card for my camera. I used a card from my brother before, but he wanted it back. I had another one from a friend but it turned out it was broken. So I wanted to buy one on my departure at Hanover main station, because I remembered there was a photo shop in the station, but it kinda disappeared. So I watched out for a suitable shop during my stop in Collogne but couldn't find one there either. But luckily my SB knew just the right place to go :)

Afterwards we went over the central place in front of the great University Library (big pic!) where there is this peculiar bug on a pick in the center. Weird. He (my SB, not the bug) showed me the way to the second hostel and to his place. Both are within a distance of like 50 to 100 meters of each other. So, we arrived at his place and his girlfriend arrive shortly after us and we made up the plans for the night: Dinner with some Hanoveran fellow students of my SB (of which one also had his girlfriend in town, the other one's arrived the next day) and afterwards party in the city.

So we had pasta (of course) with 6 people and went down town. In Leuven, there is this place - the "Oude Markt" (the old market) - which is also considered the "longest bar in Europe". I couldn't figure out wether this is a more or less official name or just a local thing. On this place, there was one bar after the other. 34 locations in total, covering more than every second building. I noticed already that many buildings are very slim; many were only 3 to 4 meters wide. This wasn't any different on the Oude Markt and made all the locations unique and interesting places.

Cutting the evening short, after 4 hours of drinking, talking, joking, dancing or just: partying I was back at hostel at 2.45. I had my alarm clock set to 8.30 because breakfast would be from 7.30 to 9.30, checkout until 10.00. Unfortunatly, my roommates had other plans - but I suggest that's just how it will always be. I had my cellphone in my hand the whole time so I can still recall the times of the events: The first roommate got up at 7.00, used the bathroom, dressed, left the room around 7.30 - right when the other one got up. The second one left at 7.55 and came back at 8.15 to brush his teeth and gather some stuff. So at 8.25 I was finally alone and left in peace again in the room, so I decided not to wait for the alarm and got up.

The breakfast was a little sparse but ok, although my remaining sleepyness and some headache made it a little harder for me to keep the overview. I had already broaght all my stuff from my room so I didn't have to go back again and could just leave after breakfast. I went to the second hostel and checked in. I sure couldn't enter the room jet, but I wanted to get my access information and leave my luggage there. This hostel, the Leuven City Hostel, is stuated in an older building (compared to the other hostel) within the inner circular city road. I'd say it's a typical back-packers with a comunity kitchen for all the guests to prepare lunch or dinner. Breakfast is included here as well and there is a fridge for your own food to store. In the entrance room there is a couch and a computer with free internet. The internet can also be accessed via W-LAN with a password. Also al the rooms and the building itself (during the night time) are accessable only with 6 digit key codes. Last to mention: Free hot drinks for guests all day long (machine is turned off during the night time). So I had my second coffee here.

After the check in, I went out to explore the city. With my map and my orientational senses nothing could go wrong! First stop: the super market. I needed something to drink to finally reduce my headache.

The map is really fantastic and if any of you should ever decide to visit Leuven - which I'd say is really worth it - I strongly recommend picking up this map and studying it at least a little bit. Not only does it offer a map of the Oude Markt with all its bars with a short description, it also points out 103 points of interest through out the whole core city of Leuven. To each point, there are a few sentences of information and some stations are marked as "Tourist Classic" or "Local Tip".

So I learned quite a bit about the city while I was wandering around. For example, the city's main church was supposed to have a tower of 170 meters hight. But dued to water in the ground, it collapsed when it had only 50 meters. So, they decided to make it only 30 meters after all. What a blunder! It still is very impressive (although I didn't visit the inside). At least as impressive ist the towns hall, which is right beside the church. Both buildings are built in what I'd say is late gothik style, made of white (and unlike Cologne Dome still white) sandstone.

Another very impressing building is the University Library I mentioned earlier already. The building was a donation from the USA, because the old library was destroyed during the first world war. It has 48 bells corresponding to the 48 states of America of which it contained back in the day. All around the build (and on the inside as well, I assume)there are the names of the schools and universities who took part in the donation. The map said, it'd be very worth it to visit the inside as well - although you can only get into the reading hall for free. I don't know why I didn't do this and I regrett it. But this can only mean that I'll have to go there again.

After my little tour through the city I got back to my hostel around 12.15. I knew, my SB and I made up 12.30 for the next meeting, but I didn't want to be there too punctual so I did some surfing in the internet. But since I didn't show up, he was concerned about me and came to the hostel (12.39). So we went off to have lunch in the mensa, meet some people and make up plans for the evening.

After lunch we met the others (I already knew them because of the evening before) at 14.15 in front of the international café "Pangaea". It came out that there should be a party that evening, so plans were made. Also, a guy from Equadore told us, that if we wanted to visit Brussels (only half an hour by train), we should go to the Natural History Museum, because they've got Dinosaurs. When my SB heard that, he completely freak out like a child. He was so excited to see these Dinosaurs. So plans for the next day were made as well.

We kept sitting in front of the Pangaea until around 15.00 and I almost feared to get a sunburn because it was shining so strong. It really was unbeleavable hot there that day. So after my third and forth coffee, we decided to split up again. I think my SB wanted to get some more sleep (could be wrong, I don't remember correctly) and I wanted to go on exploring the city. I wanted to find one garden in particular. So I went off the other direction and found the garden quite easily. But unfortunatly, at first I couldn't find the entrance and when a was around it almost entirely, certain natural needs forced me to leave and search for a different place.

So I went back to the hostel, had a nap and went out for another walk. By the time it was 16.30 and the next meeting with my SB was schedulded for 19.30 so again I had quite a bit of time. As I was wandering through the city, I remembered he told me where the Engineering Facilities were stationed, so I tried to find them. But all I found were the Sports Facilities. It still was quite nice :) When I finished my tour it was 19.15, so I had walked for almost 3 hours. Because of all the action over the day and all the sun and fresh air, the evening was quite eventless. It turned out there wasn't too much of a party at Pangaea, so I was back at the hostel and ready to go to sleep at 22.30.

The next day, Saturday, we went to Brussels as planned. We, this was my SB and his GF, one of the Hanoverans and his GF and me of course. It appeared that the Hanoveran guy knew the city quite well and had already made up a plan of what to visit and where to go - that was kinda nice :)

We wanted to go to the museum first, so we had to change at Brussels Nord. The Hanoveran described it as the World's Ugliest Station, but I kinda liked it. It looked a little bit like 1930s Science Fiction drawings and I'm really curios to know wether this was just the architectural style of that epoche.

Next we arrived at Luxembourg Station. This is right in the center of the European Quarter. So we came to see the European Parliament and some other European government institutional buildings. But since it was weekend, all these places and buildings were died out.

The Museum itself was really huge and for only 6 euro for a student it was totally worth it, although we had some trouble with the cashier because she didn't speak any English at all and none of us was capable of clearing up the situation in French. Never the less, the Dinosaurs were quite impressive and my SB couldn't hide his pleasure. So now I've seen two T-Rex skeletons already, count rising :)

Afterwards we all slowly became hungry, so we decided to get some food. But beforehand, we had to walk through the European Quartier (once again), by the King's Palace, tbe Old England building, and the again very impressive Brussels Palace of Justice. Then all over a sudden, there was a cliff in the middle of the city from which we had a nice view over the nothern parts. From there we could also see the Atomium, which was far too far away to walk by... We had to go down there by a lift, but it was free, so no problem with that.

On the lower level, we walked some smaller roads by cafés, small shops and places until we finally found our destination: Quick. This is some kind of a Belgium fast food chain but somehow we must have picked the completely wrong lane and therefore had to wait about 20 minutes until all of us were served.

After being fed, we again walked through some pedestrian precincts. We still had to see the Grand-Place (big pic!) (also very impressive) and of course: the Mannekin Pis. But unfortunatly, the entire day so far was very exhausting to me. So I didn't catch too much of it all. I can only say: Brussels really worth a visit! We then went back from Brussel Midi and the rest of the day again was quite uneventfull.

The next day, I had my journey back, so the events of my holidays end here. As a conclusion I'd say both, Leuven and Brussels, really are worth a visit. Depending on how much action you want and how many sights you "really" want to visit (and not just pass by) I'd say, you can easily spend 2 to 4 days in Leuven and at the very minimum 2 days in Brussels. Leuven is more of a very old city with many young people (because its University) while Brussels is a Metropole with both, older and more modern buildings combined.

So long, that's it. Oh, I'd really appreciate it, if you leave a coment on whether or not you liked this entry (and in case: what you like about it). That'd be great. Thanks a lot.

Until next time,

P.S.: erm... apparently, I failed to put my own pics in here, satisfiingly... so just some pics via link from the internet... Enjoy :)

Samstag, 5. März 2011

Für jedes Werk der rechte Schuh

(Auch wenn es einwenig zweideutig ist, bin ich mir doch relativ sicher, dass jeder weiss, wie es gemeint ist.)

Ich habe mir heute nämlich, nachdem ich mich ausreichend von letzter Nacht (CeBIT) erholt habe, neue Schuhe gekauft. Als ich letztes Wochenende bei dem guten Wetter spazieren war, dachte ich so bei mir: "Mensch, wenn man jetzt die richtigen Sachen hätte, könnte man schön 'ne Runde laufen gehen."

Lang leben die spontanen Pläne! So habe ich mir also heute entsprechende funktionale Kleidung gekauft. Ein Paar Schuhe, eine Hose und ein Paar Strümpfe ergeben - eine ganze Stange Geld. Aber ich bin überzeugt, dass es eine gute Investition war. Ich muss es jetzt nur noch entsprechend nutzen. Außerdem hatte ich eine gute Beratung durch einen Kumpel von mir und habe durch ihn auch noch ein wenig Nachlass bekommen können (trotzdem, ein Schnäppchen ist was anderes, aber was solls).

Leider war ich erst sehr spät da, so dass ich ihn noch einige Zeit über den eigentlichen Feierabend hinaus beanspruchen musste. Aber das war, scheint's, ok. Danach sind wir auch gleich noch 'ne Runde gelaufen, weil er heute auch neue Schuhe bekommen hatte (zufälligerweise die gleichen, die ich mir auch gekauft habe). Das war gut. Das werde ich jetzt öfter machen.

Das werde ich jetzt öfters machen ... ich habe festgestellt, dass ich scheinbar die falsche Einstellung zum Sporttreiben habe. Ich war im Laufe des letzten Semesters nicht einmal sportlich aktiv. Das ist echt schon traurig. Auf dem Weg (vom Einkaufen) nach Hause dachte ich dann: "Vielleicht schaffe ich das ja nächstes Semester." Dann wurde ich stutzig. Das ist ja eben genau das Ding. Dieser Satz ist doch zu übersetzen mit: "Mal gucken, ob es nächstes Semester passiert, dass ich Sport mache. Wenn ja - super. Wenn nein ist's aber auch nicht schlimm." Autsch.

Mit der Zeit ist das ja immer so eine Sache. Man spricht zwar davon, "Zeit zu haben", aber irgendwie trifft es das oft überhaupt nicht. Letztlich kann man Zeit doch schließlich nicht besitzen, oder? Naja, in gewissem Sinne kann man sie als eine Resource betrachten und es geht nur darum, sie effizient einzusetzen. Wenn man keine Zeit für etwas hat, bedeutet das doch lediglich, dass andere Dinge höhere Priorität haben und deshalb mehr von der Resource Zeit bekommen. Wenn man also unzufrieden damit ist, wie viel Zeit man für bestimmte Dinge "hat", dann sollte man wohl mal über seine Prioritäten nachdenken.

Um auf das Thema Sport zurückzukommen, wie mein Kumpel es auch formulierte (so oder so ähnlich): Kein will, müsste, sollte mehr! Machen oder Lassen! Konsequenter sein! Bewusster sein! Alles andere ist Mist! ...mehr oder weniger...

So, nun soll aber der Überschrift nochmal ein wenig mehr Gewicht zukommen. Mir ist nämlich aufgefallen, dass ich doch einiges an Schuhen habe. Aber jedes Paar ist auf eine Aufgabe spezialisiert. Neben den neu erworbenen Laufschuhen habe ich auch noch Motorradstiefel, Hausschuhe, Anzugschuhe, Festivaltreter, Fahrradschuhe und natürlich meine ganz normalen Alltagsstraßenschuhe. Das sind immerhin 7 Paare. Ganz ordentlich wie ich finde, dafür dass ich ein Mann bin ...

So, das war's für heute. Bleibt fit! Bis die Tage,