Abdij van 't Park - Leuven
The Abdij van 't Park was founded as a Premonstratensian abbey in 1129 by Godfrey I the Bearded. The buildings all date from the 16th to the 18th centuries. The cute little place above was one of the sites we saw as we approached the abbey. The water in the stream is the most crystal clear water we have ever seen we think - it was beautiful. The abbey is still in use, although we did not see any monks while we were there!
This is one of the entrances and a close up of the statue on it - they are obviously trying to restore part of the building...
This is the gatehouse on a different side of the abbey from where we entered - we thought it was the most beautiful building there.
A market was being held in the area between the outermost gate and the middle gate (yes, there are three sets) - we went here after going around the grounds and got some delicious grapes. They were similar to concord grapes, but I don't know if that is what they really were or not - the amazing part is that we bought a pound of them for only 50 cents! And then we stood there eating them and getting all sticky from all their juice... They were delicious!
This is the abbey church - it's actually the parish church for the town as well and vespers was getting ready to start when we arrived.
These two pictures show the cutest little tower! It is on the corner of the prelate's courtyard - the first picture is from inside the courtyard and the second from outside.
This working abbey sells honey in addition to grapes, spices, and other produce - here are it's beehives!
These are the abbey buildings themselves - a tour is given once a week inside, someday we may have to go back and see that as well!
The tower of the church is beautiful and I really wanted this picture of it, but there was a crane sitting right in the way (you can see a bit of it in the upper corner) - unless I turned the camera on an angle and shot around it! It will be standing up straight and tall in the scrapbook!
The market had live music - these three gentlemen played and sang all afternoon.
After we listened to the music and ate our grapes, we tried out the stilts - they were there as part of the market for people to use, so we just had to try! Alex was the only one who was able to take any steps, the rest of us just managed to balance for short times before tipping back off!
Oops! It was a windy day and my hair got in the way of a great shot of Casey!
Alex took this shot of Sonya balancing on the stilts - we'll work with him on trying to include people's heads in the pictures he takes....
The abbey has several ponds around it that the monks use for a variety of purposes. It is also surrounded by their gardens, so we took a walk through those and got this nice shot of the church.
As we walked into the gardens, this horse was bouncing around in it's corral - as we walked out it was doing this. It just rolled from one side to the other over and over again for several minutes, then all of a sudden it stood up and was still. Very strange.... Not a part of the abbey though - just along the edge of it.
For a few moments as I left, I thought the kids were going to be kept at the abbey - they got locked in! Good thing they figured out that there was a gate to walk through to the side of this one...
Hope you had fun with us on our day in Leuven!