Greece. For some people it’s the perfect destination for their vacation. For some archaeologists it is the perfect place to dig. And for us it was the perfect destination for the Annual Scientific Meeting of the European Society of Musculoskeletal Radiology. Us – that’s Manuela, David, Wolfgang and myself, Maja. The European Society of Musculoskeletal Radiology held its 2011 congress from June 9–11, 2011 in Hersonissos, Crete. It was the first time an ESSR Scientific Meeting has been organised by us – a premiere and therefore quite a big challenge for Manuela and Wolfgang, the main organisers of the event. David and I accompanied them as their personal congress gophers, moral support and Red Bull suppliers.
From the first moment we arrived at the airport in Heraklion we were welcomed by the amazing Greek hospitality, impressively represented by our troubleshooter, Michalis Vlatakis from Summerland Travel, our cooperating travel agent in Crete: a loud “Yassas” (Hello), welcome presents for all, flowers for the ladies and a calming “Nooo problem, this will be the best congress Crete has ever seen” by Michalis. Ευχαριστώ! (Efharisto means “thank you” in Greek)
The ESSR congress venue and official hotel was the charming Creta Maris Convention and Golf Resort, located on the beach close to the Hersonissos village. On our first day, we were surrounded by tourists and families on vacation. Three days later, the resort was besieged by radiologists from all over the world. Just like the Akropolis over Athens, the Creta Maris Convention Center towered over the lovely Bungalow complex with a view of the sea, creating a wonderful, relaxed atmosphere, especially during the congress. And Michalis kept his promises: the (usually quite exhausting) preparations ran so smoothly, that we were able to enjoy a Greek dinner with moussaka, tsatsiki and fish specialities in the hotel’s tavern. By the way: did you know that Greek cuisine is considered among the healthiest in the world? Due to this fact and the climate it is no wonder that Crete is home to the highest percentage of people over 100 years old!
In the run-up to the congress, the ultrasound course took place on Thursday afternoon. Although we expected the registration rush-hour on Friday – first official congress day with regular lectures – all 500 participants seemed to crowd the registration counter at midday on Thursday. After two hours, the storm was over and we could relax a bit. The regular scientific programme started on Friday morning. This year the programme was focused on bone marrow. Despite the beautiful bathing weather the lecture rooms were filled to the last seat. One highlight of the meeting was the ESSR 2011 Quiz session, the funniest and most extraordinary session of the congress. The second one was the ESSR honorary membership award, which was offered to Prof. Maximilian F. Reiser. In the coffee breaks the participants gathered on the terrace of the Convention Center, chatted with colleagues from Europe, the middle east, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and enjoyed the fabulous sea view. We, the ESSR Team, felt inspired by this friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
On behalf of Manuela and Wolfgang I would like to thank everybody, who contributed to this amazing congress:
Thanks to the Local Organising Committee, especially Prof. Apostolos Karantanas, for their commitment
Thanks to Michalis, our hellenic busybody. He was so touched by our thank-you-gift that the fierce Cretan Achilles had to shed a few tears
Thanks to Michalis’ right-hand-man, Nikos, the floor manager, who took care of our team’s supplies, which mostly consisted of cookies, cake, biscuits and pastry
Thanks to Estensis, our Geman cooperation partner in technical matters, who fulfills every wish, no matter how impossible or last-minute it seems to be!