AEGEE Autumn Agora @ Struga, Macedonia, 27-30 October 2011
Before I started this article I had the idea of writing the personal story of the AEGEE-Budapest board’s trip to the Autumn Agora. Even though we were all present at the plenaries and prytania, I will not write anything about them as it is not the point of this story.
So, where to begin? We were really excited before the 2011 Autumn Agora since it was the first time for most of us to attend AEGEE’s general assembly. We decided to go to Struga by minivan, so this trip had become a six-day-long teambuilding session for us. Practically we had almost everything together during the 15-hour-journey from Budapest to Struga and the way back home. The van was very well-equipped – there were even blankets and pillows inside the car.
Our journey was full of surprises and sometimes we had bad surprises as well. Prior to the Agora, I had just gotten back from the NWM Pécs to Budapest so I did not have time to exchange my money to Euros and we did not find any exchange office in Serbia (we passed the Serbian border at midnight). „Never mind, I will exchange my forints in Skopje, it must be possible in the capital of Macedonia” – I tried to calm myself. But when we arrived in Skopje I had lots of trouble getting some Macedonian currency. Firstly, I tried to exchange Hungarian money to Dinars but they did not want to accept Forints (maybe they were well informed about Hungary’s financial situation?), then I called my mother to wire me Euros. But when I tried to withdraw it at the bank, the lady asked for my passport and I vainly tried to identify myself with my ID card – if frontier guards let me in by showing my ID then why does withdrawing money cause problem?
We continued our way to Struga after a quick sightseeing in Skopje and we were really amazed by the landscape of the Macedonian countryside. And, of course, we had a lot of fun in the van: we discussed that we would sleep in the van instead of the hotel in order to spare some money for having more fun. But when we had arrived to the lodge we decided to sleep there. In order not to catch a cold in the rooms, we decided to share our beds with somebody – I chose Trixi, the HR Officer at AEGEE-Budapest, because we had already gotten close during the trip.
Sometimes we acted like crackpots during the Agora: we brought our infamous cyan blankets everywhere, played lowrider while parking in front of the venue of the plenary and, of course, we partied hard, true to our reputation. We were really happy to have the opportunity to promote Hungarian culture at the European Night – with a gigant bottle of pálinka that surprisingly ran out very fast.
This Agora was full of adventures and good memories. The best of them was last day’s short to trip to Ohrid: the lake and the church were amazingly beautiful at sunset. Unfortunately, there is not enough space to tell all the funny the stories and an article cannot pass the atmosphere perfectly, but this Balkan adventure will live in our memories forever!
Written by Béla Fábián, AEGEE Budapest
Photographers: Beatrix Pólya, Béla Fábián & Zsófia Komáromi