The UCLU Conservative Society’s trip to see the EU Parliament in Brussels became bright and early on Tuesday morning with all in attending meeting for 6am at St. Pancras Station. After a few initial transport related hiccups all were assembled and it was off by Eurostar to Brussels.
Having arrived in a very sunny Brussels the next step was to find out hotel and drop our bags off before heading off to explore the city. Being a student trip the hotel selected wasn’t exactly 5*, however en route we learned that it had been voted ‘worst hotel in Europe’ by a renowned travel website so expectations were not high. The hotel in fact turned out to be in a great location in between the Garde Midi and the City centre and was perfect for our needs.
Having checked in it was off for lunch, chocolate shopping and a general explore of the city. The first sight to meet our eyes was what could be called a ‘Military display’ of the various police units of the Belgian Politie, including a display from the attack dog unit. The first evening was spent enjoying a nice meal just off the main square followed by drinks at a local bar called Delirium.
Day 2 got off to a rather more relaxed start with most members not appearing from their rooms until around midday. Once everyone had appeared it was back to the centre to go around some of the local museums before finding a pub to watch England beat Slovenia 1-0. Being the only English footie fans in the pub our singing and cheering seemed to confuse the Belgians who had popped in for a quick drink to escape from the heat.
Once the match was over it was time for a meal with Syed Kamal, Ashely Fox and Marina Yannakoudakis three of the UK’s Conservative MEPs. It was very interesting to learn why they had decided to become MEPs rather than MPs, to hear their views on things like the EU, the Coalition Government and which countries could become member states. The night again ended with a trip to a local bar to soak up some more Belgian culture.
Day 3 began far, far too early as we needed to be at the EU Parliament by 9am to go through security ahead of our talk and tour of the parliament. Early mornings might be something that students have to do to get to a 9am class but they are deffinetely something we do not enjoy having to do. The tour consisted of a talk about the EU, it’s member states and the things that the EU does. This was then followed by an excursion to the gallery to see where the MEPs sit and debate key issues.
Once the tour was over we headed off to a local cafe for lunch with our EU subsidee in one hand and our goodie bag of Syed Kamall merchandise in the other. There was just enough time for a spot of present shopping and a last bit of sight seeing before it was time to check out of out hotel and catch the Eurostar back to London.
I personally had an amazing time on the trip and on behalf of the whole society would like to personally thank Emma Double, Iain Martin and Brian Middleton for organising such a great trip for the society. It would not have been possible without you.