A stroll through Leuven on May 1st

I had forgotten it's a holiday today so I was pretty surprised to see the nearby pharmacy closed forcing me to look-up the one on holiday duty. Obviously I knew it was Labour Day. More specifically I had been frustrated last week about "losing" a holiday due to the weekend whereas my Dutch colleagues were more than happy to announce several times that they could not be reached last Friday due to Koninginnedag while all my UK suppliers are off on Monday due to their Bank Holiday. Yet it had not sunk in that other people might be working so if Labour Day is on a Saturday, it does result in all stores being closed and the city being pretty empty as a result.
Well it wasn't totally deserted. Judging the sight of the future generation of university students happily strolling through the streets followed by some stressed out parents holding a map in front of them and discussing directions loudly, the hunt for student housing has been opened again.

In the historic centre we all of a sudden noticed happy music seemingly played for the empty streets. Around the corner we saw the end of the socialist parade going through the city to celebrate Labour Day. Despite the happy marching band all dressed up in red & black, there wasn't a big turnout although we probably missed the dignitaries such as our socialist mayor Louis Tobback proudly smiling at the head of the parade. The faces of the drivers who had mistakingly turned into this street and got themselves caught in the line-up at walking pace behind the parade, showed annoyed acceptance.

We made a small detour to walk through the harbour area that is in the middle of a big urbanization project. What used to be an area full of deserted depots and industrial sites of the historic Stella Artois brewery site in the shadow of the current AB InBev headquarters & modern brewery, is slowly transforming to a site with new apartment blocks, horeca, hotels etc.
We're not quite there yet, but it would be cool if this could become a new area buzzing with activity. It's got a lot of potential.







On the other side some organizations profited from the holiday to organize some "Harbour" days with a flee market and some music stands and other stuff but all in all it didn't seem to busy there.
After another stroll along the canal to the "open door" of a local dive store we came back via the train station, where on the square the socialist union had placed a lot of tents and was having a cosy family afternoon for their members with music & entertainment & food & drinks.

We also found a cockchafer. Big coincidence as at the start of our walk I had claimed to Jan that I hadn't seen any cockchafers since my childhood anymore. And there all of a sudden on a big billboard at a travel agency Jan points one out to me.What can I say, ...we call them "May beetles" for something. They too knew it was the start of May :).


I hope you all had a good May 1st, holiday or not


Comments

Lilacspecs said…
Yeah, we forgot it was a holiday too, so our refrigerator was empty and there was nowhere to refill it. It meant we got to go out eating in the city though :)
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Brian Miller said…
no holiday here...though those pictures are amazing...i love the b&w....