Newsletter of October 2019
Bulletin de Octobre 2019
33rd Annual Conference, Aveiro | Portugal
2 - 7 NOVEMBER 2020
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THINGS SEEN AND HEARD …

For the first time in the history of Christmas in Europe, the members of the AEHT Managing Committee were present for part of the Senigallia event. And they were not disappointed by their trip. If official recognition was needed, this was it. And in order to kill two birds with one stone, they also used the opportunity to hold meetings to discuss the future direction and activities of the AEHT.

some of the Managing Committee members
Some of the Managing Committee members.

hard at work in a meeting room at the ‘Finis Africae’ hotel
Hard at work in a meeting room at the ‘Finis Africae’ hotel.

On the corner of a table, Christiane Keller (aka Madre Noël) jots down some ideas for her speech during the official reception at the town hall. But she scarcely needs notes, she just has to speak straight from the heart.

Madre Noėl jots down her ideas.
Madre Noël jots down her ideas.

The occasion required an interpreter, and Maria Luisa Donati translated into English and French the speeches made by the mayor of Senigallia and by President Alfonso Benvenuto. Only the day before she had been interpreting at a session at the European Commission in Brussels!

Maria Luisa Donati, the official interpreter, between Alfonso Benvenuto and the senator-mayor of Senigallia.
Maria Luisa Donati, the official interpreter, between Alfonso Benvenuto
and the senator-mayor of Senigallia.

The base camp for the 12th Christmas in Europe was the Excelsior, a beautiful 4-star hotel given over entirely to the participants who found that they were warmly welcomed, that sleeping accommodation was entirely satisfactory, and that the atmosphere lent itself to mingling.

the Excelsior hotel which became the event’s base camp
The Excelsior hotel which became the event’s base camp.

A superb exhibition of works by Dante Marini had been set up in an annex adjoining the foyer of the IPSSARCT A.Panzini. The works consisted of olive tree roots which had been sculpted by this former technician from the school, now retired; his boss wanted at all costs to show the artist off to his guests. And the guests were delighted with these artefacts, while Dante himself was present to give a modest commentary on them.

this work, one of many, could be entitled ‘the four graces’…
This work, one of many, could be entitled ‘the four graces’…

Everyone agreed that the preparations for the European buffet were carried out by all the delegations in the best possible conditions … and with joy and good humour.

work was no obstacle to laughter and good humour!
Work was no obstacle to laughter and good humour!

Pronto! How many times did we hear the phones singing, buzzing, whistling! The Italians are the kings of this little instrument which seems to be a natural extension of their hands! As was the case with our friend Vittorio, the chef at the school, who finalised the details of the meals over his telefonino with the aplomb of the conductor of an orchestra. Bravissimo!

Vittorio directs his kitchens like the conductor of an orchestra.
Vittorio directs his kitchens like the conductor of an orchestra.

We were treated to a musical interlude on the bagpipes at lunchtime in the Excelsior on Monday December 15th. A local individual came along to play a few tunes for us as we enjoyed our excellent meal, and even if the hotel’s management did not approve of this incursion, the guests certainly appreciated it. There was loud applause, and while the musician enjoyed a glass of white wine, a member of the Belgian delegation borrowed the musician’s hat and passed it round for contributions!

the piper does not go away empty handed!
The piper does not go away empty handed!

At the suggestion of Madre Noël, an impromptu group photograph was taken – not without difficulty – on the steps of the hotel, to provide a record of an exceptional moment which everyone had experienced – at any rate those present at the time …

A lot of people are missing in this photograph, unfortunately.
A lot of people are missing in this photograph, unfortunately.

In the coach taking the participants from Senigallia to the Frasassi Caves, there was a strange silence in certain parts of the vehicle. No wonder, for some people the nights had been short and you have to catch up on your sleep when you can …

for some people the nights were really too short
For some people the nights were really too short.

During the official reception in the beautiful council chamber in Senigallia, a girl from the Belgian delegation fainted – very fortunately it was nothing serious. But very soon we could hear the siren of an ambulance in the street, which, combined with the sound of the music, made an amazing cacophony which could be heard everywhere. The ambulance was not needed and went away empty, while Savina was looked after by a doctor and by Mariella Olivieri, the guardian angel of Christmas in Europe in Senigallia.
Several delegations arrived in vans and minibuses, among them the Poznan delegation which had its own driver. Since he had little to do while he was in Senigallia, he was constantly polishing his vehicle, which shone like a new pin. He even cleaned his tyres with an aerosol. His boss Dr Tauber will be pleased if he reads this report!

Gilles Honegger, representing the ACCOR Group, also joined in the party at the same time as the members of the Managing Committee. Gilles is a man who has seen it all, yet he was amazed and was constantly heard to say to people ‘It’s amazing, it’s astonishing, it’s unforgettable,’ while jotting down notes on every aspect.


Gilles Honegger (front left) was bowled over by this 12th Christmas in Europe.
Gilles Honegger (front left) was bowled over by this 12th Christmas in Europe.

It has to be said – the behaviour of some students (who are supposed to be learning good manners and how to behave with decorum during their work) was quite unforgivable. For example during the official speeches we saw some students getting up and leaving the room, or continuing to chatter as if nothing was going on …

In the green Banca Popolare di Ancona folder given to every participant on arrival was a document entitled ‘A guide to the city’. On closer inspection it turned out to be a very complete guide to the treasures of the town, produced by the ‘Class VC TUR’ of the IPSSARCT A.Panzini. And indeed it was a beautiful piece of work of which any tourist office would be proud. Yet another welcome piece of teaching and learning!

And on their arrival each delegation found in their bedroom a sack-cloth bag containing a number of Italian specialities made and packed by the teams from the IPSSARCT A.Panzini. A lovely Christmas present for everyone. Many thanks.

But we will see you again – Christmas in Europe has become the melting pot for meetings, for friendships, no doubt also for love affairs, and each year among the young participants you can see this phenomenon which they experience with varying degrees of intensity. This year, after the gala dinner which traditionally marks the end of that year’s Christmas in Europe, the young participants met up in one of the rooms on the ground floor of the Excelsior hotel to spend the last few hours together before returning back home to their respective countries. And according to some people, many tears were shed as they parted. As usual!
3rd to 5th December 2018 in Riga
3rd to 5th December 2017 in Fátima
5th to 7th December 2018 in San Benedetto
2nd to 5th December 2015 in Diekirch

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