THE SAME PASSION EVERY YEAR
The 19th Christmas in Europe ran from December 2nd to December 8th and was organised by the Ponta Delgada Hotel School on the island of São Miguel in the Azores, the most westerly part of Europe. The event got off to an excellent start as the delegations arrived by air – since the Azores are an archipelago lost in the middle of the North Atlantic.
The delegations were greeted at Ponta Delgada’s John Paul II airport, most of them arriving during the afternoon and evening of December 2nd; they were then taken to a reception in the hotel school’s Amphitheatro, where cocktails and various other drinks awaited them – as well as petit fours prepared and served by the students. There are always warm embraces when the Christmas in Europe regulars meet up again each year. The music provided by the ’Grupo folklorico Passos de Brunna da Direcção Regional do Trabalho’ ensured a convivial atmosphere and were warmly applauded by arriving delegations, often tired after their long journeys.
School director Filipe Rocha spoke briefly to say how happy he was to be welcoming the delegations and to wish them an excellent stay, not just in Portugal but especially in São Miguel. AEHT President Klaus Enengl spoke with obvious pleasure about being in Ponta Delgada where ‘the AEHT family had come together to share in the values of Christmas’.
The ‘transfer’ to the Avenida hotel was much of a formality since the luggage was already at the hotel, and the trip there was like a stroll, though a rather wet one, along the quayside where the Atlantic waves were breaking. And there was the extra treat of the omnipresent and very impressive Christmas decorations throughout the town.INSTALLATION OF THE STANDS … A GREAT MOMENT EVERY YEAR
On the following day, December 3rd, after a good night's sleep and a hearty breakfast, the delegations lost no time in getting down to work in the vast building of the Pavilhao do Mar. The organisers had thought of everything: stands of the right size, a little local pine-tree called ‘criptoméria’ or ‘Christmas tree’, a table, a chair, and a small tool-box for each stand – the height of refinement! Just imagine the atmosphere in which there was a mix of concentration, laughter and discussions, all in order for each delegation to present an attractive and simply beautiful stand. Around midday the decoration was almost complete, to the great satisfaction of the decorators! At the centre of the hall was a local creation following a most charming Christmas tradition, as well as stands on which local craft creations were on display.