This is the third of a series of articles about my personal experiences of how an NVC International Intensive Training (IIT) comes together. The article is about the IIT we are hosting in Romania from 20-29th October 2015 and my hope is this will also be of interest and support to participants and organisers of past, present and future IITs.

Find out more about what an IIT is HERE  .

caraimanIn Sinaia you will get to experience a little of how Romanians spend their leisure time – at a mountain resort not too far from Bucharest with skiing in the Winter and hiking in the summer. I remember being in the area one October and was quite amazed at the Autumn colours – a rainbow of yellow, orange and brown spreading up the lower hills getting browner the higher the tree line crept.

Our choice of Sinaia and the hotel took us about 3 months to reach last winter.

I had in my mind a picture of what ‘perfect’ would look like. Somewhere not too far from an international airport, close to nature, secluded, enough rooms of an acceptable standard, a level of care and understanding of our needs from the staff and meeting facilities for up to 60 people – all combined with a manageable cost.

When we started visiting possible venues I had a hard time letting go of memories of places I had attended long workshops and retreats. My standards were high and specific and after a while I felt somewhat depressed and hopeless. I started to doubt we would find even an adequate place, let alone a perfect place.

The moment Mona and I walked into the Caraiman Hotel in Sinaia I think we both knew this was it – without even exchanging a word.

My first impression was of a faded gem that had been lovingly cared for through years of decline. It was this loving care that drew me.

The hotel has seen better days. In its heyday (100 years ago) it was one of the most exclusive and luxurious hotels in the country. Close to the Royal Palace at Peles, it would have attracted the nobility of the day and their entourages.

After the fall of the monarchy I guess the hotel fell out of use – but I still feel the echo of that long lost grandeur. Dreaming of socialist equality such luxury would not have had a place. Yet someone, and I hope to discover more about how this happened, kept the grandeur alive in small ways. The wooden carvings, wood panels, many small touches here and there. Not so obvious to a casual observer but definitely there for those who look below the slightly tatty surface.

We checked the rooms – clean and adequate with refurbished bathrooms and non-intrusive decor. The conference facilities are in the attic and have a unique character to them with wood everywhere. The staff assured us about flexibility of the menu though I confess I feel a little uncomfortable we didn’t check out the food. At the same time I trust we will manage to cater for all diets and appetites without being at the top end of the gourmet spectrum. If you are coming I suggest not to have too high expectations about the food and then you can be pleasantly surprised.

The hotel is in a public park – plenty of trees and space and that time of year will not be crowded. It is also close to the town and a short walk to the restaurants and small stores so if the going gets too intense there is an easy escape into the ‘real world’  for a short reality check or a trip up the mountain in a cable car.

Two important criteria for us is that it is reasonably close to Bucharest (1.5 hours) and as we are booking out of season, we were offered a very good price.

It is not perfect but it as close to it as I could have wished for and I’m very excited about the time we will spend there together.

So we wait for you and Sinaia waits for you.

 
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