Brussels Marvels – Day 3
Yay, presentations! But actually, it was pretty exciting. Our group met in the hotel lobby and we headed over to the metro. Our lectures were held in the European Commission building (awesome). In the lobby, they have this cool thing to represent all 27 EU members. Starting from Germany (the most populous country) and ending with Malta (the least populous country), they created outlines of people with their flag colors lining the outside. Germany was the largest person, followed by France, the UK, Italy, Spain, etc., all the way to Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta. When looking at all of the member states through a peephole, you see a unified person. It’s pretty cool. 😉
I love how much money these people spend on students. We got a break, during which time they broke out the coffee and the croissants. YES. The lectures were really rich in information–learned about the Neighborhood Policy, the treads that the EU is taking to save the environment, stuff like that. Though I was listening to everything the speakers said, I couldn’t help but occupy my time. What does an “international” student do at this point? Of course, I started listing all of the members of the European Union, plus acceding countries and potential candidates. Now that I’m writing about it, I want to do it again! For those of you who are geeky like me, here they are in alphabetical order so that I don’t forget a single one:
1. Austria 2. Belgium 3. Bulgaria 4. Cyprus 5. Czech Republic 6. Denmark 7. Estonia 8. Finland 9. France 10. Germany 11. Greece 12. Hungary 13. Ireland 14. Italy 15. Latvia 16. Lithuania 17. Luxembourg 18. Malta 19. Netherlands 20. Poland 21. Portugal 22. Romania 23. Slovakia 24. Slovenia 25. Spain 26. Sweden 27. United Kingdom
Croatia is currently the only acceding country. Some potential candidates are Turkey, Iceland, Macedonia, Ukraine (but not really), Albania and some other Balkan states. After living in Switzerland for a little bit and analyzing the political atmosphere, I know that Switzerland will never join. Although Liechtenstein wants desperately to join, the European Union will never accept a country with only a population of 35,000. Besides, honestly, have you even ever heard of it?
Michelle and I went on a little expedition. We went to have fries in the reputably best place in Brussels (it was pretty damn good), took pictures by two statues whose names I didn’t exactly get… We found a huge smurf statue! And along with that statue, we uncovered the only smurf store in the entire world! It was only opened three months ago and though I was really tempted to get something from there, I thought about who the recipient of my gift would be (probably my brother), but that he’s too old. A picture will suffice! Next to the store was a comics museum! But it was closed. 😦
Upon our walk back to the hotel, Michelle and I decided that it might be nice to get our families some Belgian chocolate! We stopped by a store called Chocopolis–yes, it is as good as it sounds, and of course they have a website http://www.chocopolis.com–and before we even got to look at any chocolates, the saleswoman came up to us and gave us samples of truffles. Listen, I’m no fan of truffles, but geez, did they make us stay! The entirety of our visit to the store, both Michelle and I were salivating, but everything was too expensive to just grab and go. So we’re hoping that the chocolates we bought will be wonderful and splendid enough to be loved by our parents and grandparents!
At the hotel, we grabbed Arturo with us and told him we wanted to locate a club. Lest I say it, total disaster. We really should have found it before we left the hotel. We ended up going everywhere but. I took pictures by the second statue I posted here, snapped pics of Arturo by a cathedral and him clutching the ass of a strangely seductive cat statue riding a bicycle (look below). We attempted the bar nearby where the cat is situated and it was way too boring. Ended up going to where everybody else was for the past three days–Delirium. Michelle and I called it an early night because we were not excited to stay at a bar when all we wanted to do was dance!