Thursday, February 17, 2011


I had the opportunity to travel to Luxembourg and Brussels for a conference on the EU and NATO as part of the Fulbright program. A week paid pseudo-vacation for a conference on a subject that fascinates me? Wonderful.
Upon arrival in the Brussels airport, I had six hours to kill before the Fulbright commission arrived. I wandered around a bit, looking for other possible grantees, but had no luck till around 11. I saw some young smart looking people and asked what they were doing in Brussels. When they responded with the Fulbright, I sat down and got to know some of the participants. The group was definitely intelligent, and all of the participants had such interesting projects around Europe. Meeting these other grantees was the best part of the program. If I had more money, I'd try to visit all of them around Europe.
The first night was spent in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. This was a country I thought I'd never see, and, truthfully, I didn't really have a chance to see it. After a visit to the residence of the Ambassador, and copious amounts of champagne, we had dinner, and I set out to 'downtown' Luxembourg to meet Byeong Hun and Rachel. The city was beautiful, but I unfortunately only had two hours to see it before grabbing the last bus back to the hotel. It is perched above two rivers, and looked picturesque at night. Too bad my camera is not very good at taking pictures at night.
The next morning, we headed out early for a visit to the European Court. The current case was about some tax that should not have been paid, and a second buyer wanting to be reimbursed for the tax that was paid. Boring.
The speakers after the session, on the other hand, were far from boring. They explained exactly how the court's jurisdiction works, and how it enforces its decisions. 
The court was followed by lunch, and then a visit to the Court of Auditors. What sounded like a boring presentation, was actually quite interesting. Not that I'm thinking of becoming an auditor.

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