Last Tuesday night I slept in Great Britain, Wednesday and Thursday I slept in Luxembourg, Friday I slept in France, and Saturday I slept in Belgium… WOO.
I’m going to try to recap all of the events, but for now I will just start with Day 1, and I will come back later to gradually write about the other days.
The first day (Wednesday), we caught a 7am train from St. Pancras in London to Brussels. There was a slight delay due to everything being backed up from that Channel Fire a few days ago (in one of the tunnels that goes under the channel between the UK and “the Continent”), but otherwise the ride was smooth and we made it to Brussels without any problems.
In Brussels, we boarded the bus that would practically be our second home over the next several days, and went on a mini driving tour through Brussels. It made me really wish we had one of those entertaining tour guides like we had on the London bus tour, because we didn’t know what most of the stuff we were driving by was. However, we did see a giant sign that said “What language should the EU speak?” and I was like “English… Duh!” After all, the sign was in english… that kind of makes it obvious right? 😉 The EU actually speaks something like 27 languages, and it’s a big deal to them that everyone gets to speak their own language, so in their court rooms and stuff they have head sets and interpreters and everyone speaks their own language and then you can listen to it in your own language on the headset. More on that later when I talk about the court case we saw in Strasbourg! Europe definitely makes me feel LAME for only speaking one language. Everyone I meet over here can generally speak at least 3 languages. In Luxembourg, children are on their 4th language by the time they hit middle school (Luxembourgish, French, and German are all learned in elementary school, then they start learning english).
Anyway… Back to Day 1 in Brussels… Next, we went to check out the European Parliament. This mainly consisted of (1) waiting in a long, slow line to get cafeteria food, and (2) sitting in a very warm room, being tired since we all got up between 4 and 5am, and because we just ate a huge lunch, and listening to a woman with a very strong Portuguese accent try to explain the EU to us. Tired + full + warm room + not so exciting topic = recipe for law students dressed up in fancy suits falling asleep during the speech. Honestly, I know pretty much nothing about how the EU works so I did find the session informative and interesting, but when you’re full and tired, how they choose the number of seats each country has in the parliament isn’t exactly the kind of topic that keeps you on the edge of your seat 😉
(The great thing about this photo is that, except for the fruits and veggies which were for Alexander, I ate everything else… I was so hungry!!)
Next we toured the building which was pretty cool and provided some good photo ops 🙂 Then, we boarded the bus again and headed to Luxembourg. Luxembourg is a tiny country between France and Belgium. Due to a slight room arrangement fiasco, I ultimately ended up in a room by myself in the “nice hotel” with the married couples across the street from the hotel where most of the students were staying. Technically the nice hotel was a 4 star and the other a 3 star, but aside from a nicer lobby with a 24-hour desk clerk, I didn’t notice much of a difference between the hotels (I saw Alexander’s room in the 3-star, and it was just as nice as the 4-star). We had a few minutes to get changed and then we headed out for a group dinner at a place called something like “Brasserie Guillarme.” It was a cute place, delicious, and plenty of food to go around! At the end, we had a chocolate mousse that basically tasted like dark chocolate cake batter. DELICIOUS!
After dinner we had free time to go out, but by then it was already pushing 11 and I chose bed time for how I would spend my free time.
So anyway, that was Day 1! I’ll write more tomorrow!