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SEEN AND HEARD

Charm

It is well known that Austria is a top tourist destination with assets of every kind: snow, mountains, lakes, architectural and cultural treasures of every type. And a natural charm which we should recognise. The participants came across this charm when they met the teachers and students from Bad Ischl, but also in the streets, in the shops and in the night clubs.

The television and the press

As we know, television can be all powerful as soon as it gets hold of a subject. It worked this time. The ORF channel paid a visit on December 6th. Once the programme had been broadcast, visitors came in droves to see for themselves this extraordinary array of costumes, customs and food specialities. The local press also played an important part, since over a period of several months it had published information on the event provided by Freddy Reimair, the teacher in charge of communication at the Bad Ischl school.

when the television is there …
When the television is there

when the television is there …

Too much to drink?

A feast is inconceivable without drink, and most often they are alcoholic drinks. Thus on almost every stand there were spirits, wine and beer which the visitors could taste as they sampled the other specialities. One couple, who were visiting Bad Ischl from their region near the Czech border, admired the Bad Ischl stand while commenting: ‘There’s a beautiful stand. But the others are offering too much drink …!

Bank Holiday

Wednesday December 8th, the feast of the Annunciation, is a bank holiday in most German-speaking countries, including Austria which is very attached to its traditions. Thus it was like a Sunday, except that the shops were open, unlike on Sunday. And the streets of Bad Ischl were literally invaded by hawkers and market traders. Another ‘windfall’ from this influx of people: many people came to visit the European exhibition!

Amazed and delighted

Helmuth Haas, the mayor of Bad Ischl, declared that he was amazed and delighted that this European event was being held in the town of Bad Ischl in general, and in the Kongresshaus in particular. As he showed us around the building, he pointed out that it had been completely renovated in 1999 at a cost of 15 million euros, and that in 2006 Bad Ischl, at the heart of the Salzkammergut region, would host two EU ministerial meetings. There’s another excellent piece of publicity!

Evenings in Bad Ischl

It is well known – Christmas in Europe is an excellent way of bringing young people close together and giving them chance to get to know each other. They don’t need anyone to help them with this, and in Bad Ischl we saw this process taking place again. After the ‘official’ evening entertainment came the ‘unofficial’ evenings in the town’s various bars and night clubs. At the K.u K. for example or again at the ‘Blaue Enzian’, to mention only two such places.

Freddy and Klaus waste no time in chilling out!
Freddy and Klaus waste no time in chilling out!


Meal in the Sissi café: a historic site

A favourite meeting place for the imperial ‘jet-set’ was the ‘Café Sissi’ as well as the Zauner pastry shop, and both of these are obligatory stops on the tourist circuit. Thus the organisers managed to arrange lunch for all the participants on Wednesday December 8th in a café where the crowned heads of Europe and their entourages sometimes came to take tea. Of course the building has been renovated, but there is still a whiff of days gone by, and the ghost of the empress Elisabeth ( Sisi) is still present through the paintings and busts.

Jugendgästehaus : a fine establishment!

Finding accommodation for Christmas in Europe, around a hundred people, is not always an easy matter for the organisers. In Bad Ischl they managed to accommodate almost everyone under the same roof, in the ‘Jugengästehaus’ right in the heart of the old town. It is the equivalent of a youth hostel, but run in the Austrian way – that is almost like a hotel, and a good quality hotel at that. Everyone agreed that it was a fine place to stay. Furthermore it is used mostly by adults because of the reasonable prices charged! And for the purposes of this event it was the students of the Bad Ischl school who served at the tables, just like in a real hotel. Well done, the members of this friendly little team!

A musical headmaster

It is not every day that the students see their headmaster turn into a guitar player. Yet this is what happened three times at Christmas in Europe in Bad Ischl. Klaus Enengl did not hesitate for a moment, and taking up his guitar he led all the students in their singing. At the cultural evening for the finale with the song ‘we are the world’, and then twice during the gala evening to accompany the song ‘Happy Christmas’ and a little later with Marielle Gautherin when she again sang ‘The Bird and the Child’.

Klaus Enengl, a talented accompanist for a singer
Klaus Enengl, a talented accompanist for a singer.

The founder of Christmas in Europe, Christiane Keller, otherwise known as ‘Mamma Noël, Christmas Chris, Mother Christmas, Mère Noël’ among other epithets, each year takes it on herself to hold a long meeting with the representatives of the school which has volunteered to organise the following year’s Christmas in Europe. This time it was the turn of the team from Fundaj, a school forming an annex to the Coimbra school in Portugal, to take notes and to have a host of details explained. And they all kept smiling!

the Portuguese team with Christiane Keller
The Portuguese team with Christiane Keller.
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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