Whoever wasn’t there seriously missed out!

Have you already been to Velehrad? Aspena employees have. Velehrad was the destination of last weekend’s annual event for the entire company, held at the hotel SKANZEN.

Shortly after midday we congregated from all parts of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, so that straight away we could all raise a glass of the local fiery spirits and toast the gathering, our health and the success and good fortune of the entire event.

The official launch of the event was marked by a superb meal, during which most of us sampled the pork tenderloin in peppercorn sauce, served with potatoes gratiné. Egg barley with goat cheese, which was also on the menu, utterly fell short in the popularity stakes, despite being absolutely delicious. During lunch we quickly discovered the previously hidden profession of our sales director Amur Břetislav Svoboda – a paparazzo. The first unprepared victim of his lens was none other than Aspena owner Petra Cupáková. With flawless skill he successfully put the seasoned speaker off her stride during her short opening speech. Amur’s viewfinder was henceforward to accompany and assail us for the remainder of the day, save for the afternoon programme, when he joined another “twelve of the brave” who set off to hone their sporting skills and measure up their prowess in floorball, badminton and table tennis.

The rest of us chose a more restful, though no less interesting programme close by the hotel grounds – a tour of the Water of Life exhibition and the terrarium. We were all surprised not only by the quantity of fish and turtles in the aquarium, but especially by the size of the carp, sturgeon, and wels catfish.

The afternoon programme culminated in a spine-tingling organ concert at the monumental Velehrad Basilica of Assumption of Mary and Sts. Cyrill and Methodius.

We broke tradition by swapping our usual buffet dinner for a banquet, served at each table separately. The roast pigeons served to us from a platter in the centre of the table flew directly to... our plates. The medieval feasting was enjoyed immensely from the comfort of our chairs.

The main surprise was held back until after our meal. Petra Cupáková had us on tenterhooks all day – dropping supposed hints that got us more perplexed than ever, so that by the evening our fantasies had run completely wild. Petra’s main insinuation that “it would be a trip”, got some of us wondering – based on the title of one of his songs – whether a performance by the legendary Karel Gott might be on the cards. That visit did not happen. But we did drink to his health during a wine and spirit tasting, on a trail that led through the cellar of the hotel. Petra’s words did not, in fact, misguide – it was indeed “a trip”, and one which initiated the most important part of the entire stay: getting to know each other, chatting, drinking and shaking our stuff on the dance floor.

The excitement and interest did not flag at any point – none of us could possibly have found time for boredom during the event. The pleasantly packed programme, plentiful amount of scrumptious food and drink was complemented with super weather. And that was one of the surprises: instead of the forecasted rain, we enjoyed a chilly but beautiful autumn day.

I don’t like to repeat myself, but like I said at the beginning: whoever wasn’t there seriously missed out!


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