Sunday, August 28, 2005

Budapest Dialogue

Many of you know that I have stayed involved in Dialogue International, the European-based network of 20 or so independent advertising agencies (see www.dialogue-international.com).

I just got the word that the Fall Managers’ Meeting is coming up, featuring a wonderful autumn weekend in Budapest. The actual meeting dates are Wednesday through Friday 5-7 October. The hosts are GreenLight, the Hungarian member agency, and its Managing Director, Peter Sari:
www.greenlight.hu.

Well, it’s a great city with an unusual National Museum: a place that lets you see all the faces of Hungary – and there have been many. The attendees are going to be staying at the Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal, a phenomenal hotel. This opened after our last visit to the city. Renovated behind a glorious Austro-Hungarian Empire fa├žade, the Grand Hotel Royal won “Best Hotel Architecture In Europe” in 2004.

Barbara and I stayed at its sister, the Corinthia Aquincum, a thoroughly modern hotel on the west side of the Danube, in Obuda. I remember spending a whole afternoon exploring the partly excavated ruins of a Roman town of the same name: Aquincum - 1800-year-old public baths with central heating, houses, and (formerly) covered markets.

I remember the Great Synagogue on Dohany Street, a magnificent Byzantine-Moorish house of worship, with its small Holocaust museum in the basement, one of the saddest places I have ever been.

I remember the happiest ending too, 40 of us spending Friday night after the last meeting, eating, drinking, and dancing to wild music at a hunting-styled restaurant overlooking the city.

Dialogue meetings are always valuable. For years, agencies from all over Europe (and the US) have met and discussed everything from new-business techniques to best practices. Most important: the relationships that have been built over the years and continue to grow. I still count these people among my best friends.

I wish we were going – but we have a prior commitment, a wedding in Minnesota. Can’t get out it. So I hope that several of the attendees will drop Signalwriter a few ‘graphs about the meeting when it happens a month from now.

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