SEEN AND HEARD
On the day the delegations arrived in Lisbon from all over Europe, Portugal was celebrating the hundredth anniversary of its transformation from a kingdom to a republic on October 5th 1910. There were large celebratory gatherings in the capital and elsewhere in the country, according to the local press.
Aperitif and lunch at the University
After the opening ceremony of the Annual Conference, lunch was served on the University premises, with an aperitif and a buffet, but with no seating planned. As there was a monumental staircase nearby, many guests chose to sit on the steps to eat their lunch.
Throughout our stay the hotel Marriott’s buffets were much appreciated by the participants. There was a good variety, and everyone could take their meals without having to queue, and everyone could choose exactly what they wanted. Savoury, sweet, meat, fish, vegetables, salads – everything was there. Well done!
Parade of the delegations with their flags
The traditional parade of the delegations from each country headed by the national flag took place as usual during the opening ceremony. The only snag was that the parade could have been a bit quicker! And a Swiss flag had to be found quickly at the last minute – and the result was that it was carried not by one student but by five!
AEHT flag and the European anthem
The AEHT flag was certainly to be seen at the opening ceremony, but the flag was not handed by Portugal to The Netherlands at the gala evening. And, without wishing to criticise too much, I note that there was no singing of the European anthem to mark the end of the gala evening. Next year perhaps?
Not enough glasses
At the University again, the popularity of Portuguese wines meant that the glasses ran out, to the great disappointment of would-be wine-lovers.
Since Lisbon is located on the Atlantic coast, you don’t need to be a genius to know that in the early autumn we would encounter cloudy weather and rain. As predicted, the light rain fell at more or less regular intervals, coming in from the ocean and from the Azores, another Portuguese territory. But the rain did nothing to dampen our spirits!
On their arrival each delegate received not just their registration form and their badge, but also a handsome red bag containing brochures about the treasures of Lisbon as well as two bottles of liqueur to make them feel welcome.
No shortage of work at the bar!
The Marriott’s lobby bar was pretty busy during the four days of the Conference. During the day business was at a normal level, but when evening came it was a different story for the bartenders who were run off their feet trying to serve the thirsty delegates as quickly as possible.
Old members return!
Alf Carlsson, Director of the Stockholm school and former AEHT President, returned with a student to the AEHT conference, after a break several years – a very pleasant surprise for all the older members who had known him. And similarly members much appreciated the presence at the opening ceremony of Helder Amaro Rodriguès, a former Presidium member and Portuguese national representative. Christiane Keller (Christmas Chris) was especially pleased to see him again!
In the early days at the meetings and assemblies there were always problems with microphones producing annoying feedback effects. Now it’s computers that have taken over, delaying this or that presentation because of incompatibility with this or that software. Isn’t technology wonderful!
Capella dos ossos
On Saturday October 9th 350 people took part in the excursion to Evora, and a free visit of the town was on the programme. Several people thus discovered the ‘Capella dos ossos’, in other words the 'chapel of the bones'. The inscription on chapel’s pediment spelt out exactly what this means – the Latin phase translates as: ‘Our bones are here, we await yours'
Little souvenir plate
As a souvenir of this 23rd Annual Conference the AEHT gave out to all the students present at the gala evening a beautiful little plate bearing the name of Villeroy & Boch and distributed by two charming hostesses. Needless to say, this gift was of course much appreciated.
Not far from the various locations where the competitions were taking place, and so by definition on busy routes, the sponsors had set up their stalls: the Grand Marnier stand with its commercial director Serge Sevaux, the Déglon stand staffed by the cutlery company’s representative Moïse Déglon and the Recheoio company; their products were on display and the delegates were invited to taste or to seek information. ‘As ye sow, so shall ye reap’ – this could have been their motto …
The Austrian delegation from the Zell-am-Ziller school never forgets to advertise the Zillertal or the Tirol. And it was the same again this year. As well as wearing a uniform in the school’s colours, they had even replaced their badge’s cord with a cord in Zillertal colours. School Director Fredi Muller’s comment: ‘Wir sind eine Tourismusschule, wir machen Werbung!’ (We’re a tourism school, we advertise things).
During the period of the contests you could often see, here and there in the hotel lobby, little groups of students with one or other of their teachers, discussing one of the contests or preparing for it. This was the vital work of briefing or debriefing. Or you might see the President and the General Secretary working on plans for a meeting …