Monday, March 1, 2010

We arrived in Belgrade to be greeted by snow and temperatures peaking at -5. The airport is only 15mins from hotel so the transfer wasn’t too tiresome. We stayed at the Continental Hotel which has over 400 rooms and I’m pretty sure we were the only 2 guests staying on the Sunday evening.

Monday saw us go to the Belgrade School for Tourism and Hospitality to deliver the staff training sessions on Quality Assurance and Assessment. We were greeted by our usual warm Serbian hosts with the expected glass of plum brandy (which is quite unusual at 9.30 in the morning!) and a nice strong expresso in tandem. The morning session went quite well with the staff asking plenty of questions about our ideas. Some of the ideas (or norms in the UK) seem to be quite revolutionary for Serbia so discussions were quite interesting at times. As always we were treated to a fabulous lunch and the wine consumed by the afternoon group certainly ensured the session after lunch was far more lively!! In the evening we ventured into old Belgrade for a couple of drinks and had a relatively early night in preparation for the next days forum.
Tuesday was an easy journey to the venue as the Sava Centre is attached to the hotel. Quite a tough day mentally as the Employer Forum lasted about 5 hours and was all delivered through simultaneous translation (this means you can’t have a ‘vacant’ minute as you miss something important!!). The discussions were fairly fast paced and there were lots of strong opinions around the table – tends to happen when you mix employers and Government Ministers. Our recommendations and ideas had been quite developed since our last forum meeting in March 2009 and it was good to see that we had made some difference over the last 12 months. We left the meeting with several things for discussion at their next meeting so hopefully we’ll continue to see the results of our collaboration working for some years to come.
We again went to Old Belgrade on the Tuesday evening for a meal at the Frans restaurant – which they tell us is Belgrade’s finest. It would hard to disagree with that after the fantastic meal we had. A 4am departure from the hotel wasn’t particularly well received followed by a 2 hour delay at Munich Airport (due to snow) but we arrived safely back in Manchester around 1pm. Overall, a great trip with some positive outcomes and really good to meet up with our Serbian partners. We look forward to welcoming them back to Lancaster in March. CS

No comments:

Post a Comment