leuven is a small city, next to brussels, but much older (1,000
years old). i wrote about it in march when i wrote about the guy
falling off his motorcycle.
anyway, leuven has lots and lots of churches in it. how do i know
this? because last night we got a tour of all the churches in leuven.
not that the tour was planned, of course. ingmar and i were planning
to meet geert and annaleis for dinner at a portugese restaurant
in downtown leuven, but we had a hard time parking. the space we
found was about 1/2 mile away from the restaurant.
ingmar asked me to remember where the car was, so we could find
our way back. no problem, i told ingmar. the good news is that we
parked next to a church, and we'll just look for its steeple when
we return. anyway, it was a nice walk; we crossed a small bridge
over a canal, saw some nice photographs in a shop window, and walked
by a city drinking fountain.
you can guess what happened next. yes, it was dark, and no, we couldn't
see the steeple. geert and annaleis (who live in leuven) offered
to walk us to our car, and off we went. since we forgot which way
we came, we told them that we left the car next to a church, right
after some water.
"ahhh, i know right where that is!" says geert. great! and guess
what; he even knew a shortcut to get there. annaleis is happy, because
she grew up right next to that church, and she's able to show us
her childhood house on the way to our car.
we walk a half a mile, and ingmar and i take one look at the church.
it's not the right church, we say. and besides, we didn't cross
any water to get here. we need to cross a small bridge over some
water to get to the right church.
"ahhh, you mean a church with water. i know right where that
church is!" says geert. so we walk a while longer, and come to a
bridge, and then another church. but it's not good news; again the
church is wrong.
this is getting silly. so i try to remember what else we saw along
the way. i tell annaleis that we walked past a "beethoven kareoke"
on the way to the restaurant. she knows where that is, and suggests
that we go there and re-trace our steps.
we stand outside the kareoke place, and for the life of me i can't
remember which side of the street it was on while we were walking.
i remember that we saw a water fountain, and there is one very close
to this kareoke, so we go there.
when we reach the water fountain (they're rare in leuven), we look
around. neither ingmar or i recognize the place. i'm positive that
this is not the way we came. so we ask geert if there are any other
churches, with water and water fountains, that are in the area.
"ahhh - you mean a church with water AND a water fountain. i know
right where that is! you should have mentioned the water fountain
earlier!" great. along the way to the next church, annaleis is pointing
out some nice landmarks and historical sites, but we're not really
interested. it's after midnight, and we just want to check in to
the hotel, and go to bed.
again it's not the right church. everyone is getting a little edgy.
we are also panicky, and start walking half-way down streets, just
to turn around and come back when we don't see anything we recognize.
ingmar has gotten so upset that he's dead silent, and answers every
question with a grunt. geert and annaleis are trying to keep the
conversation light, but it's getting pretty strained.
we see a couple more churches, but they're not the ones. and now
we're out of churches. everyone is frustrated, and geert and annaleis
are offering for us to spend the night with them. ingmar is looking
for a taxi that he can ride around in. i have no clue what to do.
i try to remember what other shops i saw - i mention a family medical
center, but nobody knows where that is.
finally, i say that i need to draw a picture. nobody has paper,
so i pick up a sharp rock and use it to draw a chicken-scratch map
on the sidewalk bricks. i draw the church, our car, the bridge,
and the water fountain. plus the location of the cathedral and the
geert and annaleis walk around the crude map a few times, studying
it. then geert says, "ahhh, THAT church - we should have drawn that
earlier! i know just where that is! we'll take you on a shortcut
not that we believe him any more, but since we have no other options,
off we go. we walk past the kareoke. past the water fountain. down
the street that i was sure we didn't walk on. all of a sudden i
get excited - i remember this street! the photographs are there,
and the family medical center is there! i tell the others, but for
some reason they're just not as excited as i am. we cross the little
bridge, and arrive at the car. right where it was supposed to be.
only 1/2 mile and 90 minutes from the restaurant.