I love a good challenge. Especially when it comes to writing. So when I heard about the Reverb11, a series of prompts on 2011, I of course, realized that there was no way I had enough time to participate. I thought I would try anyway.
December 4. Event: Did you attend or host an event this past year that rocked your socks off? Please tell us about it!
Today’s prompt was courtesy of Perpetual Ramblings
On average, I spend about 8 days a year working out of meeting rooms in hotels. Usually, 4 days are spent consecutively in a single hotel in the United States and within a month or two another consecutive 4 days are spent in a hotel outside the US. It’s not as glamorous as it may sound. During each of these visits, I host between 9 and 12 meetings, each with a representatives from different companies. It starts to become mind-numbing after the second day, especially if jet-lag is part of the equation.Some people like the glamor of jumping into cabs and scurrying around unfamiliar towns. To me, that just adds unnecessary risk. Without sounding too much like the Accidental Tourist, I would say that all travel these days is risk mitigation. I find that I have others come to me, I can better manage my time, energy and improve the chances of my team being sucessful throughout the four days.
I don’t impress easily, especially when it comes to hotels, but in 2011, I had the good fortune of working in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Berlin. My company contracted with Event Services RS GMBH of Innsbruck for this event and the job that they did was extraordinary.
The very impressive the 25 meter tall, 1 million liter Aqua Dom made me say WOW! The tank contains 2500 fish of 52 different species. The tank is the largest cylindrical fish tank in the world. Each afternoon, a diver cleans the walls of inside the tank. During my stay, the aquarium kept drawing my attention whether I was in the glass elevators or just waiting in the lobby. In my four days there, I of course, never took the 20 minutes to explore the elevator that takes visitor up and inside the tank. Consider taking a minute to click on the picture to get the details of how amazing it is.The company I work for occupied more than 90% of the hotel for those 4 days. The hotel was done up in my companies colors and theme for the show. Hotel keys, pillars, bars tables and anything that could be draped in the company theme was. Large monitors up the inside of the hotel presented images from the conference as well as the customer events during the four days. Even though I didn’t get to attend any of the events, the images of the people were very warm and fun to watch as they all seemed to have that, “Aw, I remember that” quality.
There were always a half-dozen pedal cabs draped in the company theme in front of the hotel, ready to take customers around the city. Again, I never got to ride in one, but it was a great go outside and see them waiting and to see the excitement of visitors as they stepped into the cabs.
Some hotels in Europe can be somewhat Spartan. This hotel rooms were wonderful, even by American standards. My room faced out toward the street which provided a view of the park. Rooms inside the hotel faced the Aqua Dom, which I understand made for a relaxing experience.
Most of my colleagues spent their days at the conference. I had meetings in the hotel. Small but incredible meeting rooms. The conference room pictured to the right was my work station for 3 of the 4 days and it was absolutely amazing. When the meeting doors closed, there were no distractions. We were completely self-contained with everything we needed to do business. About a day and a half, I am normally sick of being in the same meeting room Not this one. It was modern, stylish, spacious enough and pretty cool. The banquet department kept watch on us and when we only when we broke, they freshened the room. They NEVER interrupted us mid-meeting.
On those breaks, when I walked out of the meeting rooms, into the atrium, I couldn’t nt miss the steeple of the Berlin Cathedral. The imposing Cathedral is located across the a few meters away from the hotel. I didn’t get the chance to go inside the Cathedral, but I did capture some beautiful night photography pictures.
All-in-all the hotel was a wonderful experience and the staff was friendly and professional. The people at Event Services did an incredible job at managing the flow of activities and made the event an overall success.
I don’t end this post without saying a few words about Berlin. The city is unlike any other European city I have experienced. Berlin is not like Munich or Frankfurt. Hints of cities like Warsaw appear quickly, but then are gone the next block, like a whiff of cigarette smoke. It’s a mix of brand new immediately superimposed on the old. Berlin is exciting yet low-key. It’s dynamic and changing and growing and yet somehow steady. Much like parts of London, if you look carefully and see where bomb damage had been repaired.
Some things haven’t been repaired. As pleasant as my memories are of the food and the people and architecture. I vividly remember the Jewish Synagogue that had two guards posted at all hours of the day and night. I recall passing by one evening on my way to dinner and seeing metal detectors that the congregation had to go through in order to enter. As a Christian who believes that God loves for the Jewish nation, the fact that such high security was needed so long after the war, saddened me.
I left Berlin and flew to London. During the flight I couldn’t help thinking about how these two cities were linked by history in WWII. I couldn’t help but think about the pilots that sacrificed themselves over these skies.