Day 2 – The Quiet Before The Euro-Storm

Today’s main task was to respond to the replies I received after I sent queries to various flat adverts on Friday. This did not take long, since out of around thirty adverts responded to, only three then sent me further information. It is, of course, the weekend and I expect some more replies on Monday. but it’s still disheartening.

On the other hand, I was able to start the process to book a room with, a flexible letting agent which seems to specialise in students and stagiaires from abroad. I’ve also got a room viewing booked in case that falls through, so hopefully all will progress well from here now that I have a plan and a back-up plan.

After spending the morning sorting out flat stuff, I decided that I’d better take a walk up to the European Parliament, to familiarise myself with the area and so that I know how long it takes to get there on Monday. The answer is not long – even from else where in the city centre, the transport links to the EP are excellent with metro, tram, train and bus routes surrounding the area, so getting there should be no problem.

What today also afforded was the opportunity to see the Parliament complex in a near deserted state. I was also able to see the new buildings, which were constructed for the 12 states who joined in the 2004/2007 EU expansion. These buildings were still under construction the last time I was in the EU Quarter, back in 2003.

It really did feel like the quiet before the storm. There was barely a soul to be seen in Place de Luxembourg. Next week, the European Parliament is sitting in Strasbourg, which means that MEPs and a lot of parliament staff will be in France rather in Belgium, but I suspect the streets, plazas and bars will still be quiet, but busier then they were today.

It’s quite strange seeing the buildings now. Last time I saw them in person, and indeed, last time I was inside them, was in 2003, during the closing sessions of the Convention on the Future of Europe. I was even allowed into the hemicycle to see the rather fearsome former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing preside over the session.

It’s rather strange to think that just seven years later, I’m about to start working in this place, even if it’s only as an intern. It truly is a wonderful opportunity.

I also took a series of pictures on the way to and from the Parliament and around the Parliament itself, which can be found on Flickr.

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