A welcome according to traditions
The welcome awaiting the particpants at Skopje airport was particularly appreciated by the delegations. And indeed the students from the Lazar Tanev school travelled to the airport to greet their guests with bread and salt, a centuries-old tradition in Macedonia. It was a beautiful way of welcoming guests and much appreciated.
- The welcoming team at the airport
- Three smiles, bread and salt for the president
And at the hotels
Teams were also on hand in the various hotels to check in the new arrivals and to give them information. And always with a smile!
On the day the delegations arrived and the days before the competitions, a visit to the various locations taken over for the competitions was organized under the direction of Zoran Nikolovski. All the locations where the competitions would take place were inspected.
What an atmosphere there was in the Metropol Hotel’s dining room for the Macedonian dinner on October 10th! As well as the typical local dishes there was also a highly colourful performance from a folk music and dance group which delighted the guests. So much so that a frenetic conga spontaneously wove among the tables.
Red and yellow evening at the Tabu
On Thursday October 11th a disco evening had been organized in the Tabu club at the Bellevue hotel, and there was just one condition of entry: you had to wear yellow and red. Most people went along with this dress code, and danced away the night in a torrid atmosphere until after one in the morning.
Aleksandar is from the Arka agency and was in charge of the transfers – so was one of the linchpins of the organization of this 25th Annual Conference. Not only this, he was also available whenever anyone wanted a piece of information. He was indispensable, I tell you, and couldn’t have been nicer.
Several times during dinner the proceedings were interrupted by the arrival of a cake at one table or another to celebrate the birthday of one or other of the participants. Then there was a chorus, taken up throughout the dining room, of the famous ‘Happy Birthday to you’. Such attention was really touching. There was also one birthday which was celebrated on the podium at the gala evening.
Transfers from Ohrid to Skopje
Moving around 600 people by coach at (almost) the same time was no mean task, especially on the sometimes winding and steep mountain roads between Ohrid and Skopje. And yet it happened, and without any snags. And there was even a stop for a buffet on the pass near Gostivar, where the influx of all these foreigners caused quite a commotion!
Gala dinner – improvised dances
It wasn’t part of the programme but suddenly, when the band started to play rock music between courses, some lady participants got itchy feet and started dancing, and a little later on they persuaded several other dancers – both men and women – to take to the dance floor.
The favourite couple at the gala evening was incontestably Emilija Nikolovska and Vojislav Zdravkovikj, whose job was to present the programme. They had already taken to the stage at the opening ceremony. And just so you know, Emilija is Zoran Nikolovski’s daughter.
A surprise guitar
After Klaus Enengl’s much applauded rendering of ‘We are the world, we are the children’ Zoran Nikolowski had a surprise in store for Klaus when he offered him a guitar … in imitation wood, and containing some excellent bottles of Macedonian wine.
Draped in the flag!
When the AEHT flag neared the end of its migration between Macedonia and the AEHT which next year will organize the 25th anniversary of the AEHT aboard the MS Costa-Luminosa, president Klaus Enengl without hesitation draped General Secretary Nadine Schintgen in the emblem of which she is so to speak the ‘backbone’.
The souvenir mug and pottery
Wishing to mark the participants’ stay in Maceonia in suitable fashion, the organizers gave each visitor a mug bearing an inscription recalling the event, or else a fine piece of craft pottery. A little nod to traditional art, and a souvenir of a fine event.