Brussels, December 2005
We returned to Brussels in December, to a city of gingerbread, market stalls, umbrellas, fir trees and amazing light displays in the Grande Place. The day of presentations in the surreal (and utterly unsustainable) surroundings of the European Commission and Parliament buildings was exhilarating, intimidating, and emotional, with some members having to leave during the course of the final presentation, and a bemused audience of MEPS and stakeholders witnessing our emotional farewells. My memories are of walking like a group of school children (in English we call this a ‘crocodile’!) from one Kafkaesque building to another (in the rain, of course), up and down stair cases and lifts, through security checks, from Commission, to press conference, to Parliament… at some point we must have had lunch, but I don’t remember that.
And then, after it was over, on an adrenaline high, another walk through the rain soaked parks of Brussels in the premature December darkness, back to the hotel; dinner in an Italian restaurant; more fond farewells; and a small but dedicated band sitting in Le Roi D’Espagne on the Grande Place, drinking hot chocolate and wondering if we would ever see one another again.