This article was written by one of the lucky UCLan Law students who was able to visit Belgium and Luxembourg on the recent EU visit. We’re glad to hear our students had such an amazing time!
Day one – Travel to Belgium
As awake as anyone can be at half five in the morning, we all met up for the coach outside 53 Degrees awaiting to go on what turned out to be one of the best trips of our lives. On the way there: we chatted, laughed, played games and got to know some of our now closest friends.
Midday we got a ferry from Dover to Calais. While admiring the beautiful Dover cliffs some of us experienced the journey on the ferry for the first time; luckily no one had sea sickness!
In the evening we arrived at our hotel in Brussels in the trendy Ste Catherine area Brussels just across from the beautiful Grande Place. We immediately went to explore the local restaurants and scenery, before exploring the night life of local pubs like Le Coq and the Lava Bar.
Day two – Visit Commission
The following day we woke up for breakfast, the food was both continental and hot buffet with unlimited juice! As we had most of the morning off we went to explore the town and the best chocolatier in Brussels “Pierre Marcolini” recommended by the one and only Shaun Mills!
At quarter to two we travelled to the Commission to listen to the talk by Simon Pascoe about the role of the European Commission in the EU single market. All the students showed their eagerness in the subject and asked many interesting questions that helped us represent the law school! Once we arrived back at the hotel we went to get ready for a group meal at one of the oldest restaurants in Brussels “Chez Leon”; although the meal itself was disappointing we made sure we got our money’s worth in lolly pops!
After the meal we went to the Grand Place in Brussels and enjoyed the sights! We took pictures and headed to the Golden Bar where we enjoyed the cocktails and Belgian beer called “Leffe”.
Day three – Visit to Parliament and Parliamentarian
Up bright and early we headed to the EU Parliament to see a presentation by Massimo about the role of the parliament within the EU, sponsored by the MP Mr Sajjad Karim, we visited the parliamentary chamber and explored the town! We went to Karsmakers, a place recommended by Massimo himself for their bagels and got some Belgian waffles off the street cart! After our lunch we headed to the Parliamentarian where we took a tour of the dynamic interactive multimedia displays which guides visitors through the journey of European integration and the impact this has on our everyday life and help understand the interplay between the EU institutions. Although we have missed the Pancake Day in the UK; we replaced it with a waffle day!
Day four – Bruges
On day four we had a full day to explore the town of Bruge. We fed the swans and the ducks then did cultural sightseeing in the church and even wrote a little prayer. Eager to explore, we found the candy shop (where they sold candy – to avoid any confusion!). Next, we found the fountains and flags which gave us plenty more photo opportunities before going to lunch. After filling our bags with souvenirs and chocolate, we went back to the hotel.
For our last night in Belgium, we headed out to Madame Moustache where we enjoyed dancing on the stage and absinthe shots. We drank, we danced, and we made some Belgian friends and strolled back to the hotel ready for the next day.
Day five – Travel to Luxembourg via Dinant
On our way to Luxembourg we were reflecting on our previous days and nights, laughing, smiling and remembering the pictures! Some of which were definitely deleted. On the way we stopped at a Picturesque Belgium town Dinant, where we enjoyed the beautiful scenery and went for lunch. In the afternoon we arrived at our 4 star Hotel and despite the cold weather we went to see the nicer part of Luxembourg; we found an amazing pirate ship playground which took us right back to being kids again.
Day six – Visit the European Courts of Justice
On the final day before departure we indulged ourselves with as many free pastries as possible before embarking on our journey to the European Courts of Justice. We split into smaller groups and were guided through the history of the legislation, the art work and the breath taking architecture. We visited the biggest law library in the world and were actually happy to see so many books!
We explored the deliberation rooms; court rooms; Grand sale d’audience and Palias de justice where we didn’t hesitate to use our right of audience! Striving for knowledge we asked questions, took a quick selfie with Richard which is impressive and met with the rest of the group to head back to the hotel.
Considering it was our final official day in Luxembourg we didn’t care about the lack of sleep from previous nights or the long coach journey awaiting us the following day! We went sightseeing and shopping to be ready to go out with a bang on our last night! Getting as many people as we can that went on the trip, we crammed into a taxi and headed to explore the night clubs of Luxembourg, one being a ‘White Club’. However we did start across the street where we were given a treat of experiencing the fire drinks and other lovely beverages the country had to offer.
Day seven – Travel home
Deprived of sleep travelling back, we reminisced by talking and looking back at the pictures from the trip and also watching some interesting films. We said our goodbyes to the lovely driver Mark and arrived in Preston at 3 a.m sad to say goodbye to our friends, but happy to get some deserved sleep!