21ST CHRISTMAS IN EUROPE IN BUDAPEST
Christmas in Europe 2012 on the banks of the Danube …
The AEHT Christmas in Europe took place in Budapest from November 28th to December 4th, and was organised for the second time by the Giorgio Perlasca Hotel and Tourism School. The event brought together 19 participating schools from 14 European countries.
Ever since the first Christmas in Europe which took place in Kaysersberg (France) in 1992, each year a different school in Europe has taken a turn at organising the event. This year the Budapest school picked up the challenge with great panache and with a very short lead time, since Budapest took over at the drop of a hat from the Bled school (Slovenia) which had had a last minute obstacle.
For Csilla Dévényi, the director of the Giorgio Perlasca School, and her teachers and students, this was a fine opportunity to organise this Christmas in Europe in record time, and for the second time in its history because in 1995 this same Budapest school had already hosted the fourth Christmas in Europe under the aegis of its director at the time, Akos Sasvari.
It is true that the city of Budapest, a superb town situated on both banks of the Danube, was a dream location for such an event, as indeed was the Cultural Centre of the Köbanya district where the main activities took place, beginning with the exhibition of the Christmas traditions of the various countries and the European buffet. The inaugural parade through the streets, a colourful spectacle despite the cold, as well as the European buffet and the cultural part, were the highlights of this Christmas in Europe in Budapest.
The Giorgio Perlasca School provides training for the hospitality and tourism professions for many young Hungarians and thus gives them the necessary tools to forge their own future. And these enthusiastic young students proved in all aspects of the organisation that their training was very much on the right lines. And may I also point out that, within the framework of this Christmas in Europe, students, teachers and directors from all over Europe had the chance to see for themselves that the AEHT, through Christmas in Europe, is a great creator of links.
Furthermore, thanks to the Zagreb School – which organised the event in 2011 – and to the determination of Marija Razan-Krisanac, the school’s director, the first 20 Christmases in Europe have been recorded in a Golden Book, a magnificent work devoted to this event which has now become perennial. This book was officially presented during the closing evening by AEHT Vice-President Louis Robert, and will doubtless become a useful reference work for future editions. In the words of Vittorio Serritteli, a chef at the Senigallia School, ‘It is a recipe book for friendship’. It was a truly beautiful compliment.
Christmas in Europe in Budapest is now in the past. But it is certain that it will already be part of the ‘happy memories’ of all the participants, including the organisers. My warm thank-you to all of them.