On a fine May weekend a number of RCPI members traveled to Ostrava to take part in the Annual District Conference. Expecting a rather dull official occasion I am sure that they would all agree it turned out to be an interesting and amicable experience.
Despite most of the travelers arriving too late to attend an extraordinary theatre performance where live actors mingled with life-size puppets (I was told that it was amazing) the Friday evening continued with a late-evening buffet snack after which some of the die-hards decided to explore the Ostrava city centre night-life. Many continued their Rotary old-friend-reunions & new-friend-introductions into the small hours of Saturday.
An independent sight-seeing program had been organised for accompanying attendants who did not take part in the Rotary Business part of the Conference. The Saturday morning was dedicated to dealing with administrative & Rotary related business issues. Delegates listened to presentations and voted on some key issues for the forthcoming Rotary year.
The Saturday afternoon provided a colourful excursion into the artistic virtues of the RC Exchange Students presenting the cultural background of the nations they came from. Often one could not but stand in awe how well they had mastered then difficulties of the Czech language in the course of their 12 month stay sadly coming to end. This year we accommodated over 95 of them with a number exceeding a hundred planned for next year, we were told.
After a great meal based on the Czech cuisine, the Saturday Gala Evening took off with music & dance. In the foyer small & large groups were to be seen enjoying conversations over snacks & drinks with the intermixing exchange students adding international colour. The wide-screen TV´s turned on silent showing a high-pressure World Championship ice-hockey game between CZ & Latvia added the final spicy topping as both local as well as international hockey enthusiasts followed the score swing from one side to the other.
For those who did not have to leave early on Sunday a guided tour of the revitalised industry zone of Vitkovice was organised, an event generally underlining the simple fact that Ostrava has over the recent years made progress towards transgressing from a drab grey industrial agglomeration into a modern centre of business & industry, all suited for a good quality of life as well. Certainly still some way to go but you can already see the difference.
The event let me take away a strong impression - a District Conference of this sort is an experience that is always nice to attend if you like interacting with Rotarians, no matter if it is serious Rotary business or just being among like-wise minded friends.