Approximately 25 years ago, our son, Carl, spent his junior year abroad at the American University in Brussels. He often talked about spending sunny days sitting in a cute little park called "Le Petite Jardin du Sablon" next to the church of Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon. A quarter century later, we were able to rediscover this park. In the 1200's, this land was an unused open area outside of the city walls and was covered by fine-grained sand known as "Sablon". In 1304, the Crossbowman's guild acquired the land and by 1318 had erected a small chapel dedicated to "Our Lady". According to legend, thirty years later a peasant woman brought to this chapel a miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary that she had stolen from Antwerp. The Virgin Mary became the patron saint of the guild. In the 15 th century, that chapel became the church of Our Blessed Lady of Sablon. Over the succeeding years, many of the buildings that had been next to the church were razed and the park was created.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.