Thu 15th September 2011 - Sun 18th September 2011
Meeting of eight European Rotary Clubs
Euro Meeting hosts Oudenaarde
held in Ghent, Belgium
16th to 18th September 2011
The Rotary Club of Hastings again attended the annual gathering of eight European Rotary Clubs. This year's meeting was hosted by the RC of Oudenaarde but was held in the nearby city Ghent due to the numbers involved.
The Rotary Euromeetings were initiated in 2002 by Bernard Thienpont of the Oudenaarde Rotary Club in Belgium. The aim was to bring Rotarians of different European nationalities together and to foster fellowship by increased understanding and appreciation of diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
The programme set by the Oudenaarde Club was excellent. Those that travelled for the Friday pre programme event, enjoyed good weather for the golf and our "professional" Nick Hollingsworth achieved 3rd overall with his partner. Those not attending the golf were given a tour of Oudenaarde and the surrounding countryside. The main party arrived in Ghent during Friday and were greeted by Oudenaarde Rotary club members and given goodie packs including local information a comprehensive list of those attending with photos Belgium chocolates and umbrellas, an ominous sign!
In the evening two coaches ferried us to Oudenaarde to meet up with the pre programmers and our hosts from the Rotary Club of Oudenaarde at the spectacular town hall. We were welcomed by the Rotary Club president and the local mayor and impressively a local village band. The noise was incredible as many old friends from previous Euro meetings met up aided by copious quantities of Belgium beer. Our various hosts for the evening singled us out and took us to their homes. Meeting fellow Rotarians in their own houses is something special and the food and hospitality was outstanding. Most of us made it back to the coaches just before midnight and those that did not were taken back tot the hotel by their hosts.
Saturday was an early start, difficult for some, when a 3 hour walking tour of Ghent had been arranged. The guides were very knowledgeable and explained the history of Ghent and the key role it had played in Europe along with the beautiful architecture around the cobbled streets and the clanging trams.