Sunday, 20 December 2015

Living In Leuven: Week 14 | Erasmus Law Dinner & Flying Back to Edinburgh


It's my last week in Leuven this year, and besides the obligation of having to study almost every day, my friends and I managed to fit in a couple of Christmas celebrations throughout the week. I also flew back to Edinburgh on Friday - it's a bit strange being home, but I'm enjoying catching up with my family and the comfort of my own bed, so I'm more than happy for the time being.

Town Hall, Leuven

On Monday, I had my last constitutional law lecture in the morning. I knew I had a lot of errands to run, so I did those afterwards, starting with a trip to ACCO to buy some stationary supplies. I dropped into ALMA for lunch and had a 'kerstbroodje' (Christmas bread - cranberry and turkey).

I had been working on my Advanced Legal Methods research proposal for an hour a two a day for about a week and had yet to sit down and have a good go at it. So, I decided to spend Monday afternoon in the law library and it turns out I only had a proof read and my bibliography to complete and it was ready to be submitted! I'm so relieved it's out of the way, also a bit concerned as it's the first time I've had to submit ANY work this academic year - I still can't get over the fact we're barely excepted to do any homework in Leuven.

I, then, went home and gave into the hype and watched Love Actually for the first time. In my opinion, it's absolutely terrible and I actually ended up turning it off halfway through - what's the big fuss over it?!

Law Erasmus Christmas Dinner

On Tuesday, I had a Criminal law class 4-6pm, followed by an Erasmus dinner which the law faculty kindly organised for us. It was held in the cafeteria of De Valk and although I sat with friends I've known for most of the semester, we were joined by a couple of new faces and it was great to meet more law students. Unfortunately, it's probably one of the last events we'll go to together as a group, as most students here are only staying for one semester. I'll miss them all dearly throughout the Christmas holidays, but hopefully we'll get together one last time at the end of January to celebrate post-exams before they head home for good in February.

For dinner, we had Stoofvlees (beef pot roast) and fries for main, followed by Smoutebollen (deep fried doughnuts) for dessert, all washed down with some Gl├╝hwine (mulled wine).

Christmas Tree on Tiensestraat

At the very top of Mgr. Ladeuzeplein is a temporary two storey restaurant/bar during the Christmas period. When I first visited the Christmas market last week, I was intrigued by it, so Domen, Dominik and I decided to go there for a drink after our dinner.

I'm not usually a beer drinker, but was tempted by a Leffe Kerstbier (Christmas beer) and it was surprisingly quite enjoyable! Afterwards, we headed to the Capital on Grote Markt, which apparently is home to the largest beer collection in the world with over 2000 Belgian beers on the menu. I didn't feel like experimenting that evening, but I've definitely made a mental note to try out a small fraction of the beers on offer next semester.

Wintertijd, Grote Markt

On Wednesday, I had my last Criminal Law class from 9-11am, then I headed home to study and have some lunch. I had an appointment to get my eyelashes done that afternoon, so decided not to go to my Terrorism class, thinking the appointment would take a good hour of two (clearly had my priorities right that day!). However, the appointment only lasted 30 minutes and I've since wrote a blog post about my experience (you can read all about it HERE).

Christmas Market, Leuven

On Thursday, I only had my Human Rights lecture scheduled at 4-6pm, so I decided to venture out and take photos of the Christmas decorations around Leuven that afternoon.

There's a beautiful garden on Grote Markt this month - they've since named the area 'Wintertijd'. I haven't actually explored a lot of Leuven since December started. The whole month seemed to have whizzed by and since I was in Budapest for the first weekend and Cologne the following Saturday, I regrettably haven't had time to see a lot of what Leuven had to offer during the Christmas season.
 
Oude Markt, Leuven

After my lecture, I walked around the Christmas market on Mgr. Ladeuzplein for a quick look and to take some photos of the area. To be honest, the Leuven Christmas market is nothing compared to the markets in Cologne and I even think the Christmas market in Edinburgh is a lot better. I was quite disappointed by the white tents that covered the square, I think it would look a lot more traditional and festive with wooden huts, but as the Christmas market is only present for 10 days, I guess that would involve a LOT of preparation. Compared to big cities such as Edinburgh and Cologne, I didn't really expect Leuven to compare in that respect.

When I got back to my residence, I packed my suitcase and did some last minute preparations before leaving for Edinburgh on Friday morning.

Grote Markt, Leuven

As I didn't have any plans for Friday apart from flying home, I left my residence earlier than originally planned at 10.30am and headed to Leuven station. Flying from Brussels International airport requires a quick 15 minute train journey from Leuven. I got to the airport at 11:30am and had a good few hours to shop around and have lunch before my flight at 2:30pm.

Mechelsestraat, Leuven

I arrived in Edinburgh at 3:10pm (local time) and my Dad was there to pick me up from the airport soon after. Since arriving home, my family and I have had takeaway dinners, movie nights and have gone out for lunch together. It's so good to be back!

I'm back in Edinburgh for just over three weeks and although I have a lot of catching up to do with family and friends, I'll be spending the majority of my free time either in the University library or in my room studying. My first exam is on the 16th of January and I know they'll creep up on me quickly after the Christmas and New year celebrations are over.

Vaartkom, Leuven

This leads me on to blogging over the festive period....

As I'm not officially 'Living in Leuven' during this period, I think I'll take a break from weekly blogging until my exams in Leuven are over and my life is a little more interesting again. I have a LOT of University work to catch up on and even when I arrive in Leuven again on the 10th of January, I'll be stuck in my room until the 27th when my exams are complete!

If you have exams at the start of next year - good luck! In the meantime, have a great Christmas & New Year and I'll see you when 'Living in Leuven' posts resume in 2016!
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