So… Posidonia is over, and Matt and I are back in the office… in body if not mind.
As our first trip we learnt a lot. Firstly, you do not sleep if you attend Posidonia (probably the only type of training we achieved for our Three Peaks Challenge during our trip, but that’s a concern for another day). We were picked up at 3am Tuesday morning and landed in time to drop our things off at the hotel, and make a flying visit to the West of England P&I Party before it ended. We had half an hour to take in the rolling weather front from the stunning location of the Yacht Club prior to grabbing food and heading to the UK Embassy/Baltic Exchange Party.
Now, as a tip, this is a very formal affair and we felt a little (although not too) under dressed like a few other first timers. This was a celebration of a long standing maritime relationship between our nations and, for the first time at many shipping events I have attended, provided a little optimism about the shipping industry. Although that may have been the alcohol speaking…
Following the buoyant speeches and equally buoyant alcohol (as well as some networking) we headed off to the WISTA Party. Time for lesson number 2. Taxis. Do not hail a taxi and expect them to understand you/know where they are going/admit to not knowing where to go. Download Taxi Beat, a VERY useful app that we only learnt about on our last day. So on our trip to this party we told them the address every way we could imagine, showed them the written address, repeated ourselves through the drive, used Google Maps to instruct them on the journey and still despite our processes were dropped about 2 miles from the event location.
WISTA was a great event, with fantastic drinks and a friendly atmosphere as one would expect from a WISTA event and we had the opportunity to catch up with a few industry friends. These friends invited us along to the Lloyd’s Register party at Vouliagmeni Lakes. This is another thing we have taken away with us, you don’t need to rely on invites before the event, and plenty are handed out at the event if you are bold enough to ask! These lakes were like something from a fairy-tale, fairy lights and back lighting created a magical feel. It was approaching midnight at this point and everyone was in high spirits.
Not bad as far as first days go! We were in bed at 2am having been invited to but having to decline an invite to the Capitol party; after all Wednesday was a big day.
Now I set an alarm for 9am to get some Three Peaks training in prior to lunch meetings. The heat and my exhaustion meant this was a complete pipe dream from the beginning – I truly didn’t believe the people that had told me about the exhaustion. But really, sleep when you can and don’t plan on doing anything healthy whilst at Posidonia. A couple of people also described Posidonia as a time bubble: time just runs away and disappears, which seemed ridiculous, but 3 hours after lunch we were still going strong.
A number of meetings later we headed to the Lynx Freight and Trading party in Voula in a bar overlooking the beach. It was a smaller affair but a very friendly crowd and really well organised – I’m pretty sure the barman was also a magician – the speed and efficiency with which he took, completed and remembered orders was astounding! We then headed to Island Club for the Casstechnava/Tradewinds event. This was a luxurious venue, so large I managed to get lost and end up on an upper outdoor level without the use of any stairs… maybe another lesson should be tie yourself to a colleague? We were here until the early hours, mingling, drinking, but sadly this party seemed a little too refined for actual dancing…
Thursday arrived and I think Matt and I both felt a little sensitive after only a couple of hours’ sleep. But we powered through like the soldiers we are, conducted a few business meetings throughout the day, went to a popular local Irish pub in Piraeus called O’Connell’s to meet a few contacts where, it turns out most people head to for between party/meeting refreshments. Great service and, it turned out, some fantastic company! We ended up staying here well into the evening as time disappeared into the Posidonia time warp once again.
With the end our trip rapidly approaching we spent the rest of the evening in a bar at our hotel with a selection of new and old friends and contacts discussing the event and industry. Hitting the hay a little before 2am we were up and ready to go for morning meetings and a full day at the exhibition. Neither of us could quite get over the size of the exhibition halls, and considering it was the last day, how busy it was! We were both so glad that we had the opportunity to experience it.
Grabbing a Taxi (Beat) to the airport both Matt and I were sad to see the end of the week, and hope that next time we can use this experience to come earlier in order to attend the sporting events and parties we missed, and stay a little longer so that we could actually do everything that was made available to us.
Posidonia: what an experience!