My morning started when I received a text message from Alexander: “Can you bring me my blue shirt?” I had packed some of his business clothes in my hanging bag, and we were in separate hotels. Somehow the night before when trying to set my cell phone clock one hour ahead, I forgot it was on a 24 hour clock so I set it to 11:30 (when it was actually 23:30), and I set my alarm for 7. When Alexander’s message came in my phone said 19:30 (which is 7:30pm) and I was so confused, and my alarm obviously didn’t go off. And I thought I was being smart by remembering to set my clock ahead 😉
I hurried to get ready and head down to get some continental breakfast before we had to leave. The food was SO GOOD! Just your basic coffee, juices, fruit, croissants, etc. , but it hit the spot! Now comes the primary frustrating part of the trip: we were supposed to leave by 8am, so those of us who were on time went outside to wait for our bus and it was FREEZING cold out. I didn’t bring a winter jacket because I didn’t expect it to feel like winter! Luxembourg is further south than London! So anyway, we were waiting on the corner freezing waiting for the rest of the group to show up. This was a routine occurrence throughout the trip–people not showing up on time, forcing others to wait out in the cold and causing us to miss briefings at the EU. I got on the bus when it finally came and loudly proclaimed “I regret the day I was born!” …I said it sarcastically, but I AM a bit of a drama queen ;).
Aaaanyway, so we finally made it to the Courts of Justice, missed our aforementioned briefing on the case we were going to hear, but luckily a woman walking by who knew about the case gave us a 5 minute run-down of what was going on. The case had to do with the use of the term “Bavaria” with beers. Apparently the EU passed some kind of protection for Bavarian beers that required a beer to be from Bavaria to use the term Bavaria. But at the time it was passed, there were already beers using the term who had the term trademarked. The lawyers came out first but they were all in black robes so we thought they were the judges. Then the judges came out in maroon velvet robes. We all had headsets because the people were speaking in Italian, Dutch, and Czech. The first Italian speaker was talking so fast that he had to be told twice to slow down, and the english interpreter (who I was watching through the window) was visibly freaking out as she was trying to keep up with him. When he finally sat down she turned off her mic, breathed a big sigh of relief, and put her head down! Since the actual talk about the case was pretty technical, I took the opportunity to change the channels on my headset and listen to some of the other languages and watch the interpreters as they spoke. Some of them were very intent, looking out at the speaker, and using hand motions, and some of them had their head down as if they were reading something. I couldn’t figure out what language “EL” was, but I thought it sounded like something close to italian but wasn’t italian… and I liked it. Turns out it was Greek!
After the hearing we sat in a room where a girl explained to us how the Courts of Justice work, and then we took a short tour of the building. Then we went to lunch, which we had to pay for ourselves this time. I got a salad that I thought was 4.40 in Euros and it ended up being 9.70 in Euros (so about $13). Combined with the other stuff I bought I think my lunch was about 12 Euros total. Afterward I heard people got sandwiches from a stand outside the cafeteria for only 1.70! Anyway, the point of that story = expensive cafeteria food lunch in Luxembourg.
After lunch we headed back to the hotel to change out of our suits and go on a tour of Luxembourg. We picked up two tour guides who took us to the Luxembourg American Cometary and Memorial (which I already talked about) and then took us on a walking tour of Luxembourg City. For those who don’t know, although the country of Luxembourg is extremely small, there is more than one city. When we got to the center of town, we were let on our own for the rest of the evening. I tried to find a Luxembourg flag tshirt to no avail, and then went to dinner with Alexander and the Looneys. Alexander has a friend who lives in Luxembourg so she met up with us (along with one of her coworkers) and they showed us around the city.
The craziest part was when we went down to the Grune (sp?) which is kind of an old town part of town that way downhill from the rest of the city. Since we were with locals, they showed us to the elevators and we didn’t have to walk down a steep path. It was beautiful down there at night, and I lagged behind the group to try to take a photo on a little bridge. I knew the second the group was out of sight that I should go catch up but I really wanted that photo! ..Sure enough, seconds later a very tall man was right beside me, trying to talk to me in French. I told him I only spoke English, and he said he only spoke French. However, when he asked me my name (in French), I responded. Doh! So my whole “I don’t speak any French” cover was blown. Then Adam appeared and the guy asked me if he was my boyfriend (in French) and I said no. Then I was kicking myself thinking I should have just said yes! Because that got him really excited and he grabbed my arm saying we should go to the discotheque. Thankfully, Alexander appeared right then and I pointed saying “Copain! Copain!” because I couldn’t remember how to say “This is my boyfriend.” So then the man (Daniel) started apologizing to Alexander saying he didn’t know I had a boyfriend and he just thought I was extremely beautiful and he never sees women like that in Luxembourg so when he saw me by myself he wanted to talk to me. Haha. I still don’t know if that was a normal encounter or if I was in danger. Moral of the story = don’t (be beautiful and) stand alone on a bridge at night in a foreign country. As many of you know, that is my second lesson of my europe experience, right after “Don’t take pills from strangers” from my flight over to London 😉
Shortly after we headed back to the hotels, parted ways with Alexander’s friends, and went to our separate hotels to go to bed. That was the end of Day 2!