Luxembourg, the Hague and Amsterdam comprised the latter part of our trip. Luxembourg was a super quick excursion. Enough time only to sleep in a beautiful hotel and tour the impressive European Court of Justice. This was a real highlight of the trip for me. I would work at the EUCJ in a heartbeat …if I had any of the credentials they are looking for. The EUCJ is newly built and very modern in design. The courtrooms were both beautiful and functional. We had a very knowledgeable tour guide who allowed us to attend a hearing that arose out of Spain. In this particular hearing, five or six judges sat at the front of the courtroom and listened to the opposing parties give their oral arguments in front of them. Proceedings are always in the language where the case arose, so in this instance, the case was in Spanish. There were translators sitting in glass boxes around the perimeter of the room translating the case in real time for the judges and observers who did not understand Spanish, like me. Knowing the importance of preciseness of language in the legal profession, I realized just how crucial each translators job was as I sat watching the judges press their headpieces to their ears, straining to hear every word. The following day we visited the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. Both of which were short but interesting and informative visits.
Amsterdam was the final leg of the trip, and the most surprising for me. I really didn’t know what to expect because frankly, all I knew about the city was their liberal views towards the recreational use of marijuana. Perhaps that fact had subconsciously given me the feeling that the city would be very modern in appearance, but it is really quite classic and almost vintage looking. The timeless architecture and countless canals, juxtaposed by the infamous Red Light District and Waterlooplein flea market makes Amsterdam one of the most interesting cities I’ve ever visited. I enjoyed some of the best Dutch cheese and fresh herring while out shopping in my free time. We also took a canal tour, which is the absolute best way to get an entire view of the city, and saw the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum. During class time we were able to see the former house of Anne Frank and I was surprised by how emotional it was being in her home. I was glad to find that cameras were not allowed to capture the experience. It’s a must-see for anyone visiting, in my opinion. Our final dinner in Amsterdam was at restaurant crowded with locals (always a good sign). The food was fantastic and it was an all-around enjoyable afscheid meal. I had such a great time in Europe that I really wasn’t ready to return to the U.S. just yet. The only part of me that was ready to come home was my feet, and they could have been convinced otherwise with a day or two of rest.