Today our itinerary included a meeting with the British MP in the European Parliament and one last opportunity to explore the city of Brussels before traveling to Frankfurt.
Ben and I woke about around 8 AM and prepared for the 10 o’clock meeting with our MP. The EP is located within walking distance of the hotel, talking you through the Europville, the site of numerous office EU institutions and offices, one admires the centrality of the environment. Our meeting was probably the best as of yet as the mp expressed his views on the democratic deficit.
Afterwards, Clay, Chris, Simons, and I took the subway system over to Waterloo Blvd. Along this street are located a few of the oldest building in Brussels including Parte de Hal. This circular structured fortress dates back to the mid 13th century during a time of political and military turmoil. Around the base, one can still view remnants of the moat system alone with artillery pieces. Overall, its an interesting site located around considerably modest building. Finally, we hopped on the bullet train and rode for three hours to Frankfurt, Germany at an average speed of 269 km/hr.
(Photo: Mr. Stephen Hughes, UK Member of the European Parliament visits with students)
It’s obvious why the European Union gets very little done…it is the most inefficient governmental organization in the world. Talking to the average European citizen, their disapproval of the Union is extraordinary. Many say that it has grown too large and that there are too many different points of view for there ever to be a great deal of progress. It will be very interesting to see if there is ever any true convergence into a new European identity.
When we went to the Money Museum Professor Dyson and Mikek had an economics challenge. In an amazing upset, Dyson prevailed keeping growth at high levels while managing to cut inflation and unemployment.
Thursday night was the best of the trip. Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds put on an amazing show in a extremely small venue, it was probably the best concert that I’ve ever been to and was well worth 50 Euros.
Most of our day on Thursday was spent getting acquainted with the city of Frankfurt. Also included in the day was a morning visit to the Money Museum, a noontime meeting with a Wabash alum that is a consultant for Boston Consulting Group, and an evening trip by some of us across the city to see Dave Matthews in concert. Needless to say, it was a very full and busy day.
Our visit to the Money Museum was one of the better educational events of the week. Much of our focus this semester in the Economics section of our course has been on monetary policy and the effects of inflation on economic growth, and the Money Museum had a number of interactive programs that demonstrated these things for us more clearly than our textbook or Prof. Mikek ever could.
Also important to elaborate on is our trip across the city to see Dave Matthews in concert. It was an awesome experience! A number of us were incredibly lucky and got to stand in the third row, where we could see Dave so clearly we could see the beads of sweat running down his face. His performance was awesome and much appreciated by the crowd, so much so that he was compelled to do two encores!
All in all, it was an awesome day. We learned a lot and had a lot of fun, too. But it was also incredibly tiring, requiring 10 hours of sleep last night to recover. We are all looking forward to a great rest of the trip and to getting much needed sleep before starting classes again on Monday.
(Photo above: Professor Mikek plays interactive game at the Money Museum that challenges you to balance economic factors to keep a stable economy. High score went to Mikek on the first try-56. Second best Derek Lough with 45.)
Click here for a photo album of the Best of Brussels