Greetings from lovely Würzburg, Germany, where I arrived earlier today on a high-speed train from Luxembourg—and immediately made plans to visit the Christmas market. I’m in a nice hotel, and I’m surrounded by clothes I’ve washed in the sink and strung about the room to dry. Tomorrow I begin teaching an intensive class on U.S. constitutional law to students who are enrolled in a university program on intercultural competence.
Thanks to everyone who wrote to ask when the next post is coming and to give me a nudge. It really means a lot to me. I’ve had only spotty internet service since arriving in Europe, but in a few days I hope to post some reflections on my trip so far.
And it’s been quite a trip.
Over the past eleven days, I’ve spoken about The Rule of the Clan at Erasmus law school in Rotterdam (gleaming, vibrant, international, and peppered with campus construction projects); interviewed numerous students and faculty there about their views of modern Dutch law (question: if your law were a composer or a style of music, which would it be and why?); strolled all afternoon through beautiful, stately Maastricht while conversing with a friend about the legal systems of the world (and sampled an everyday Dutch delight: veal-filled croquettes); donned Dutch academic robes to attend a surprisingly dramatic dissertation defense on Roman legal history at Tilburg law school (in the midst of the candidate’s discussion of the praetor urbanus, someone fainted!); decided how much I really, really like the Netherlands; the next day visited the ruins of the Black Gate in Trier, Germany and contemplated Rome’s glory; wandered through the EU quarter in Luxembourg on a drizzly morning, slowly getting wet as I snapped pictures of the European Court of Justice (see below); interviewed a Danish and a German member of the office of legal advisor for the European parliament (lunch in the EU cafeteria was grand—red and white wine was on offer by the glass!); walked for two solid days through Brussels looking at EU institutions, including a brand-new museum devoted to the development of parliament; attended a lively rally of farmers demanding higher milk subsidies and suffered a bit of smoke inhalation from the billowing red and green smoke bombs strewn about the cobblestoned plaza; interviewed a Dutch member of the parliament’s office of legal advisor who eloquently explained why European Union law is like jazz; stumbled upon a noisy and cheerful rally celebrating one-hundred years of Albanian independence; observed a Belgian court case in the Palace of Justice and learned that family law disputes take on a special air when held beneath a 20-foot mural depicting a nineteenth-century cavalry regiment; wandered through the Museum of Fine Arts amidst a hundred attentive French-speaking schoolchildren; and, tonight, ate bratwurst and drank mulled wine in a Christmas market with four young German legal scholars.
Plus I’ve seen old friends and made many new ones. And began learning a whole lot more about my camera.
It’s been a great trip so far, and I’m hopeful that what will come out of it is lots of stories to share on this blog and in my next book.
But the stories will have to wait for just a little while. Until next time, I wanted to share a few pictures from my travels, which I’ve been undertaking with all of you always on my mind.
European Court of Justice, Luxembourg:
Translation is an essential to the court’s work. Many of the translators have offices here:
European Union Parliament, Brussels:
At the rally for higher milk prices:
At the Palace of Justice:
Another side of Brussels: