Belgium, Europe, Europe, Featured, Photography, Travel
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Walking around Aarschot, dreaming of noodles

I spent a week in the town of Aarschot. If you’re wondering where that is, it’s very close to Leuven (a university town), around 50 from Brussels. It’s a city and municipality in the province of Flemish Brabant, in Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium.

A walk in town: Aarschot
The town of Aarschot, with a population of 27,864 (in 2006)

My home for a week was a caravan in the home of a farming couple and their two children. My caravan mate was a lovely girl from England and I was glad I had some company. I hadn’t really lived in a caravan before and this was a different experience for me. (But I’m saving that story for later).

Aarschot turned out to be a much larger town than I initially thought so. I had an impression that it will be a smallish town the size of my locality in Bangalore. But it turned out that I was wrong. The town is actually quite large and has a nice big square with different restaurants around it. On weekends, there is some activity as people come out to enjoy the sun and some of the famous Belgian beer.

A walk in town: Aarschot
A small and neat town, great to walk around. Also has cycling tracks

A walk in town: Aarschot
I love this – it’s a bread machine! So you can pick up your dinner on the walk home…

But otherwise, it’s pretty quiet as I discovered while setting out for a walk with my caravan mate, Lou. We decided to explore the natural “reserve” area, a few kilometres down from where we were staying. From there, we’d venture into town and maybe grab a glass of wine.

A walk in town: Aarschot
Off we go, Lou and I

I like seeing places on foot. Or bicycle. You can stop and stare. Do unplanned things. And generally get a feel of the place. Something you wouldn’t get if you were whizzing past in a car. Or a bus.

A walk in town: Aarschot A walk in town: Aarschot
A walk in town: Aarschot A walk in town: Aarschot
Quiet picturesque roads, where we encountered a few cyclists and a nice trail leading to a green forested area

The natural reserve (I am really not sure it was one, but calling it that for reference) turned out to be a rather pretty area. We walked on the edge of it, I think. Met some cyclists on the way, but we were the only walkers.

A walk in town: Aarschot
Means, watch out for cyclists!

A walk in town: Aarschot
Lou running up the slope as we enter the green forested area

We went in for a bit and then decided to turn around towards the main city centre in search of food. Lou was a bit suspicious of my direction skills, but I had the map with me. A distinct advantage.

A walk in town: Aarschot A walk in town: Aarschot
A walk in town: Aarschot A walk in town: Aarschot
The town is quiet, with flower lined roads, signs and routes for cyclists and a large square where most of the restaurants are located

We walked through the pretty streets of Aarschot and got a bit lost. Some of the streets didn’t have any names. Or they had hidden them well enough. So there were periods of time, when we stood at a crossing and didn’t really know where we were. This is where cathedrals play an important role as a GPS. Using the tall tower, you can make your way towards it. So, as soon as I espied the tower, I knew we could head in that general direction. We did, and landed up at the town square.

A walk in town: Aarschot
The main square where most of the action is!

The sun dappled square was quite busy since it was a holiday and people were enjoying their beers and drinks in the warm afternoon sun. We basked in the sun ourselves for a bit; had a glass of well deserved wine.

A walk in town: Aarschot

We stopped to enjoy a glass of wine at a cafe in the city centre

And then set off in search of Asian food. Well, I was dreaming of noodles (I have these cravings sometimes) while Lou said she’d be happy with fries. We didn’t land up getting either. Roamed around a bit looking for an Asian place. Every town, city and village has to have an Asian place. Surely.

A walk in town: Aarschot
The Beginhof in Aarschot, a very beautiful stone building

A walk in town: Aarschot
City roads of Aarschot
A walk in town: Aarschot
Do we want Indian? Not me!

We weren’t about to give up though Lou was getting quite swayed by the thought of “frites”. But that particular day, there were no frites in Belgium. Well, at least not in Aarschot. In our vicinity anyway. We walked around to the station area and finally sighted a Chinese restaurant. By then we were tired and hungry.

Dreaming of noodles, I ordered my “nasi goreng” (not a Chinese dish I know, and I had no idea why it was there) from the menu. Around 15 minutes later two plates of rice arrived on the table. That’s when I realised my mistake. Obviously, even my recent trip to Malaysia hadn’t helped differentiate between “mee” and “nasi”. Ah, well. Nobody’s perfect.

So, of course, my noodle dreams had to be shelved for another day. We enjoyed our food, never the less. And then walked back to our life. And the caravan.

More pictures from Aarschot

More from the Europe wanderings:
Swiss summer
Of missed flights


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