Leuven, Belgium: Stella Artois Tour

Leuven.  We had originally planned to spend the day in Gulpen and then head to Leuven to do a very late Stella Artois tour and then head to Bruges.  I was online trying to find things to do in Gulpen.  Trust me, other than the view of the hills and farm land, this little town has nothing to do (obviously except the amazing Greek place I talked about in another blog entry).  We relaxed in the morning and had a beautiful breakfast and then headed to take some pictures of the farm lands.  That took about ten minutes and we decided to see what there was to do in Leuven.  I’m so glad this part worked out.  We arrived and found this small town to be full of culture and beautiful architecture.

First stop the University in Leuven.  It was a palace before and now it has been turned into the University of Leuven.  It had very symmetric shrubs and water flowing all around it.  It was a nice stroll for us and we managed to take some pictures inside as well.

We walked across the street to the restaurant called Hotel where we proceeded to eat a large portion of Italian food.  Here, we saw a group of old men sitting around talking about philosophy as they sipped on whiskey.  It automatically upgraded the restaurant and our class level.  I tried to sneak a picture of this but I guess it would be awkward to be caught.

After the filling lunch we really needed a long walk so we piled into our car and drove downtown.  This was where the heart of Leuven was.  We first went into the St. Michael’s Church and I found a very nice story about St.Michael who went through a huge change in life.

As I went on a scavenger hunt for a post card the others began to walk towards the Stadius which is the town hall.  In front was a band playing jazz and some children playing in a Welcome to Leuven sign.  Here was where I did some souvenir shopping.  Just down the street was rows and rows of small shops and a department store that sold super cheap stuff.  This area was a true European experience and really really nice.

When we were finally done shopping and eating ice cream.  We headed towards the Stella Artois Tour.  I highly recommend this.  All you have to do is go online and sign up for a group tour.  Let me tell you, the tour was extremely professional with a very knowledgeable man.  We got to see everything from the hops fermenting to how they canned the beer.  What was even more interesting was the last part where they had a large bar where they feed you as much beer as you want.  The shop contained a lot of very cheap Stella Artois and Company’s (Leff, Hoegaardan) pint glasses and serving platters.  I almost bought the whole store!  Then as we left the tour all buzzed and happy, we got a bag full of sample beers.  Trust me. DO THIS TOUR.  It is worth it.  Oh right, it cost nothing.  Yes.  NOTHING and yet all this free swag.  I’m sorry I’m getting excited again.

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