June 20, 2010

Sara's Lovely Leuven Visit and Photos

Europe 2010
Sara came for a visit and brought along some very yummy American goodies (my favorite Duck Rabbit beers, some brownie mix - which is NOT the same in Europe - Two Hearted's, Founder's Breakfast Stout, The Poet Oatmeal Stout (can you tell how great of a friend she is!?) 

During her visit, we went to Brugge and Ghent, and spent some days in Leuven. Over the weekend, Sara's brother, LJ, was able to visit as he was in London for work and stopped off in Brussels. Our weekend trip was planned to head to some Saison breweries in the Hainaut province of Belgium. Saison's are farm-house style ales that are typical to the Walloon  (French-speaking part of Belgium) regions. Most of the beers in Belgium are heavily influenced by the yeast strains, often many of them being wild, or many of them only existing within the Belgian valleys. The second stop was to Fantome Brewery in Soy. This took us through the Ardennes through some gorgeous country side. We also stopped briefly to view the Roquefort Abbey (also a Trappist abbey producing Roquefort beers), and ended our day to watch some World Cup games in Libin. 

The next day we got our history on and stopped in Bastogne (WW2 Battle of the Bulge) to see some historical war memorials. The main square of Bastogne features a US Tank and memorial to many of the soldiers who fought off the Germans. From here we headed to Monschau, Germany; a lovely small town that is famous for their mustard. Here we sampled some mustards and began our trek towards Koln where we intended to watch the Germany vs Australia game. Once in Koln, our hostel staff gave us some recommendations of where to try the best Kolsch (the beer style originates in Koln) and where to view the game.  The city had put out a huge screen and free entry to the grounds of the FIFA World Cup Stadium! This was a true European football watching experience - and seems like once in a lifetime for us. Germany won so it was a very happy day to be in Koln.  After the game, we headed to a local brewery to celebrate with some Kolsch's.

The next day we explored Koln and stopped by the Koln Cathedral. You can climb up the belfry tower (some 500 steps up a winding staircase) to get a lovely view of the city and surrounding areas. To end our trip, we headed back to Leuven just in time for viewing another World Cup game in our main city square, the Oude Markt. 

Sara's photos (click above album) or click here: http://picasaweb.google.com/swobker/Europe2010#

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