CASTRO VERDE, PORTUGAL:
16 – 19th September, 2011
by Cecilia Salvesen (Vice President)
Castro Verde was a unique experience in many ways. Except for possibly Kos (Greece) most of our conferences have been held in large city environments. This conference was different. Delegates were picked up at Lisbon airport and transported by bus to Castro Verde, 2 hours from Lisbon, in the heart of Portuguese countryside. Olive trees and black pigs studded the hills on many occasions.
Castro Verde (CV) itself is quaint with a Mediterranean flair. It has one set of traffic lights but many roundabouts with fascinating sculpture depicting their existence including sheep, pigs and pyrite mining. CV is not huge and everything is accessible by foot. I walked across town in 17 minutes. The windmill is a landmark for CV and is still operative as a grain mill, grinding wheat in its stone structure. Restaurants offer traditional foods that are neither hurried nor the typical city “fast foods”. So when sitting in a restaurant in CV, you enjoyed the platter of freshly baked bread, artisan sausages, cheese and marinated olives while waiting for your food to be prepared.
In a city environment, ICR normally hosts the conference ‘under one roof’. This time it was refreshingly different. Delegates were spread out over four different locations i.e. three hotels, and bungalows in the campgrounds. The conference and vendor room was at the theatre and meals were served in the restaurant across the street. Workshops were at the library and other venues but all within a very short distance of each other.
ICR Board in attendance comprising of Beryl Crane (President), Cecilia Salvesen (Vice President) and Paul Rudé (Conference Convener), assisted by Christine Issel and her daughter Lena Hugi, worked until all hours to finalize arrangements and pay attention to details in preparation for the conference.
Registration commenced on Thursday afternoon as delegates were arriving from the airport. That evening, speakers and members gathered at the Welcoming Cocktail Party where finger snacks, wine and beverages were served. There was a lot of excitement as familiar faces greeted each other and new friends were made.
On Friday morning, after the member’s meeting, the opening ceremony was high-lighted by the local school children carrying in the flags, followed by myself as ICR Board representation, and speakers. The President of Castro Verde was welcomed on stage by Beryl Crane on behalf of the International Council of Reflexoplogists, he in turn then welcomed our delegates and wished them an enjoyable conference.
Over the next two days, speakers from nine different countries delivered their presentations. In-between lunch was served and tea breaks allowed delegates to inspect vendor merchandise and make their purchases. Door prizes were donated and handed out to those who won them. Everyday new friends were made.
Saturday night the Gala Dinner was hosted at the Apart Hotel with tables arranged around the swimming pool. We held our breath that no-one would end up in the pool before the night was over but fortunately that did not happen. The theme was Medieval and many guests arrived attired in appropriate costume. Wine for the dinner was generously provided by Enoforum Wineries. Wonderful music thoughout the evening was performed by the Philharmonic Band of Castro Verde. After dinner, trumpeters announced the arrival of the horses that ushered in the “king” and his party. After their skit of dinner, dance and a faked heart attack, certificates were presented to speakers who were still present and the gala evening came to a close.
Before the closing ceremony, Hall of Fame inductees were presented. This was the first year that living people were honored for their contribution to our profession and they are:
Dwight Byers of USA
Hanne Marquardt of Germany
Father Joseph Eugster of Taiwan
Professor Hang Xiongwen of China
Hanne Marquardt was the only recipient present, and as usual, had us all in fits of laughter.
Crystal Globe awards were presented as follows:
Betsy Keating - Humanitarian Award
Barbara Brower - Research Award
Gwen Wyatt - Research Award
Leila Eriksen - Special Recognition Award
Russell McAllister - Ollie Bailey Service Award 1996 - 2011
Paul Rudé - Eunice Ingham Award
City of Castro Verde - Eunice Ingham Award
Certificates of Appreciation were given as follows:
Eugen Dietrich for services rendered to ICR Board as Treasurer from 1996-2011.
Liza Thomas for services rendered to ICR as a Newsletter Editor since 2000
Inge Dougans for services rendered to ICR as a Board Director from 2009 - 2011.
ICR’s 2013 International Conference’s next hosting country was announced as Cape Town, South Africa and a brief PowerPoint presentation was delivered as an introduction of the city and its features.
After the closing ceremony, the President of CV Municipality thanked each delegate and presenter for attending by shaking their hand and giving them a “goodies bag” with gifts.
This is the first time a conference has continued to the Monday and early that day, we filled a bus and went on our sight-seeing tour. Our first stop was at the famous Royal Basilica with its azulejo tile panels, treasures and art. After that we continued on to the Museu da Lucerna (Lamp Museum) where lamps and artifacts are on display. Replica Roman oil lamps were for sale as souvenirs. We then ventured out to a neighboring town to visit its museum that was full of history and tradition of the rural Portuguese culture and way of life. We were received with refreshments of traditional pastries, orange juice and cool water. Finally we visited the Fonte de Milagre, which dates back to 1677 and is believed to have healing properties. We filled water bottles, drank water and splashed it over our bodies before returning to CV where we picked up pre-ordered sandwiches from a local store. Our final destination was the hotel in preparation for departures back to Lisbon airport. All-in-all, it was an enjoyable day but even more so, an enjoyable conference. Gratitude and appreciation is extended to the Municipality of Castro Verde who graciously assisted in the deliverance of ICR’s International Conference in Portugal. As the bus left and we waved goodbye, our farewell shouts were “SEE YOU IN CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, 2013!”… and we sincerely hope to see you there!