16 March 2011

Celebrating twenty years of the Visegrad Group

The Slovak Embassy certainly knows how to put on an event.

The occasion this time was a celebration of twenty years of the Visegrad Group, originally composed of Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary but now grown to the Visegrad Four with the formation of the Czech and Slovak Republics.

The first meeting of the group was, oddly enough, in Visegrad which is little more than a small town on a river in Hungary. I've been there and there's not a lot to see.

The exhibition was a collection of photographs and text descriptions of the regional centres in the four countries. These are taken from a book, V4, commissioned for the anniversary by the cultural and foreign affairs sections of the Slovak Republic.

It's a good book, I've got a signed copy from the evening, but the presentation of the photographs was rather unimaginative. Lucky then that the pictures themselves made up for the way that they are presented.

The towns were displayed like a travel brochure and conjured up ideas of extravagant tours to see as many of them as possible. There are 56 towns in the book and I've only been to 7 of them. Plans are being made.

The food and drink we had to fuel us as we walked around the exhibition were exceptional. I'm sure it was all very ethnic but I mostly stuck to the English tradition of cheese and wine.

There were lots of people to speak to too, including colleagues from the BCSA, contacts from the Embassy, a colleague from work, the author of the book and some new people.

With good people to talk to, an exhibition to prompt conversations and some food and drink to keep energy levels high we had all the ingredients for a good evening.

So it was with some reluctance when we stragglers were politely kicked out around 9pm. Luckily there is a nice pub just across the road.

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