1st module: White and Yellow
Poděbrady April 3 – 8, 2013
Motto: The most beautiful in life are not things, but moments. (Karel Čapek)
For the Poděbrady meeting we could welcome 26 participants, namely 11 from Portugal, 7 from Turkey and 8 from Spain. All the group met on Wednesday April 3 for an informal drink and light dinner in the school restaurant. Concerning how long the guests´ journey was the meeting was really very brief.
We started the actual programme on Thursday April 4 by the excursion round the hotel school. As the coordinator I explained the history of all 3 Poděbrady schools, namely the Hotel School, the College of Hospitality and Tourism and the Language School, headed by the only principal, Mrs. Jana Podolaková who came to greet us and officially opened the meeting. The Spanish students José and María linked us with the previous meeting in Granada (November 2012) and introduced their country, history, gastronomy and language. Especially the “instant Spanish course” was amazing and funny thanks to their well prepared animation.
Then the group split: the visiting students joined the Czech students to prepare the Czech Easter menu, to enjoy together coloring eggs and other typical rituals, while the teachers visited the Spanish and French lessons.
After the lunch in the school restaurant we all met again for the presentation of the Czech Republic. Lenka, Zdenda and Peter prepared a jolly retrospection on the Czech way of living and the world known consumption of beer. This widely popular drink happened to dominate the visit, especially in the evenings. We also enjoyed the bowling competition, played by students as well as the teachers. Especially the Spanish group was very excited – and well heard !
On Friday April 5 we left for the excursion in the Nymburk brewery. It was interesting, a bit smelly and cooold!
We didn´t get any warmer in the Open Air Museum in Přerov nad Labem, but the displays were so interested that it was worth suffering a bit.
We melted down only by the fireplace in the Forrest restaurant in Kersko, the place frequently visited by a famous writer Bohumil Hrabal who used to live here. Following the story written by him, we had for lunch the boar steak with cabbage and dumplings, while some of us chose it with brier sauce. After the back journey to Poděbrady (full of international singing and laughter) we went on with the meeting agenda: we all learnt basic Czech (terrrribly difficult language – not for Azahara who showed a special gift for it) and translated the recipes for Sunday cooking into all the project languages, English included. We also started the work on the project vocabulary.
The unforgettable cherry on the top was the evening in the Brewery pub, with lots of music, singing and dancing. We proved to be a very cohesive group, resistant to all potential troubles.
As Poděbrady school was organizing some events for the parents, we could enjoy the social programme already on Saturday April 6. We returned back from the excursions to Prague and Kutná Hora (both listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List) speechless. Prague is really a beautiful and breathtaking city which can be said about Kutná Hora as well.
The COINCO is the project for early-risers. On Sunday morning April 7 we were in the kitchens already at 8.30am. Based on the recipes which we translated into the project languages (English, Czech, Spanish, Portuguese and Turkish) on Friday we prepared together the menu chosen by Ms Iva Koštýřová and Mr Zdeněk Lebeda, the cook teachers from the Poděbrady school. We all met in the school restaurant to taste the results: Eggs stuffed with yolk cream in the salad bed and the banquet pastry as the cold starter, cream of maize followed by potatoes stuffed with 2 kinds of cheese, chicken breast stuffed with mozarella and basil (so called spring wake-up), smoked beef tongue with horse-radish sauce and potato dumplings. As the desert we had an apple strudel and a cake with cottage cheese topping.
So well stuffed we went to do some activities, namely to carve the apples. Under the command of Jirka, Petr and Alena it was a true fun for both, students and teachers. Some of us showed the hidden talents (Ersan!).
Afterwards we could admire the skilled bartenders from the Poděbrady school, Daniel, Katka and Adam. Their professional skills were so tempting that Azahara and Margareta could not resist and had to try mixing themselves.
Before the farewell dinner all the students from all the project countries went for a cup of coffee. No wonder that the atmosphere during the dinner was more quiet, even sad. Especially in the moment when participants were awarded the certificates. A bonus in the form of sweet waffles (with chilli pepper and beer flavours !!) could not help much.
The Czech famous writer Karel Čapek wrote: The most beautiful in life are not things, but moments…. Hopefully the moments spent together will never be forgotten and will bring our Turkish, Spanish and Portuguese friends back to Poděbrady again.
As the coordinator of the project I dare to say that the 2nd meeting mission was successfully fulfilled, as we wanted to present a small town in a small country in the heart of Europe as well the small school full of great students and teachers. Thanks to everybody who helped.