We spent our time waiting for the most beautiful holiday of the year and the associated relaxation with Christmas activities: teambulding in Budapest, Christmas party and other activities typical for the preparation for this period. As a group from the office, we ran out for the traditional punch, which is an essential part of Christmas, decorated the Christmas tree or made Christmas decorations in the offices, so that we could fully enjoy the approaching time and soak up the pre-Christmas atmosphere.

This tree also decorates our office

St. Nicholas in ATENE

On December 6, in almost all countries, the feast of St. Nicholas is celebrated, who was famous for his generosity and kindness. On this day, he goes everywhere and bestows children and adults with little attentions. Also Atena was visited by St. Nicholas and his little helper, and the devil and the angel were not to be missed either. As otherwise, it was an unconventional St. Nicholas dressed in a yellow costume symbolizing the colours of our society. He presented everyone with a package for performing a poem or song as is usually the tradition. When the working hours were over, in a local café near our headquarters in Banská Bystrica, a St. Nicholas party was held, to which all the children of Atena employees were invited, to whom St. Nicholas also brought something good and they could enjoy a sweet temptation – good pancakes.

Christmas Budapest

Before Christmas, on Friday at the end of St. Nicholas week, we went to the Christmas market in Budapest. It’s our company Christmas Eve tradition, we just change the destination of the Christmas markets every year. Once it’s Austria, once it’s Hungary, then it’s Poland. This time we chose a city breathing with history, the capital of Hungary. All employees of our company from all branches met here together. From the Slovak offices: from the headquarters in Banská Bystrica, from the offices in Revúca and Košice, as well as from Romania and Bulgaria, where we have our foreign offices.

In the morning our journey led to the Tropicarium and Oceanarium, where we saw the mysteries of the underwater world in the form of diverse animals: fish, reptiles, lizards, sharks, but also animals living on land – monkeys and in the air – birds. For most of us it was a nice and enriching experience, for others it was an opportunity to overcome themselves and their own fears, as they did not care about looking at some species of animals. For example, such huge snakes. The attraction we were looking forward to most of all – petting the cute stingrays – was unfortunately out of commission at the time. But we still left there with a smile on our lips.

We saw fascinating underwater creatures

After visiting the Tropikarium, we had lunch at the excellent Monkey Bistro restaurant, where of course we tasted typical Hungarian dishes: goulash or paprikash. Without that, our trip wouldn’t have counted. We also tried the delicious dessert shomloi halušky, which you should definitely try when you have the chance. Fortified by a good lunch, we decided to take a walk alongside the important Buda Castle, which was the seat of the Hungarian kings. That is why it is also called the Royal Palace. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From there we could enjoy the magnificent views of the scenery of beautiful Budapest and its sights and the Szechenyi Chain Bridge.

In Budapest, we tasted food appealing to the eye and the taste buds
View from the surroundings of the UNESCO-protected Buda Castle

Later we went to the Budapest Eye – a Ferris wheel that everyone had a thrilling ride on. Interestingly, it is the highest round in Europe. It has a height of up to 65 metres. It is located in St. Elizabeth Square. Again, some people outdid themselves at this point (especially those who are less afraid of heights), but the views from here were spectacular. We could see St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Chain Bridge and the Hungarian Parliament building. We could not end the whole day of wandering except by tasting a good and warm punch, which came in handy in the cold weather, and buying small souvenirs as a souvenir.

Although the weather was not very nice, we had a nice day and took away experiences for life. Some of us were in Budapest for the first time, some of us have been there many times, but it might be the first time at the Christmas markets.

The Budapest Eye reaching a height of 65 metres
A view from the bike of beautiful Budapest shrouded in fog and twilight

Christmas party

The day after the trip to Budapest we organized a Christmas party where we had a great time, new colleagues got to know other colleagues they didn’t know before and we strengthened relationships, We experienced a special program that everyone involved liked and was prepared as a surprise. We listened to a local Banská Bystrica and talented instrumentalist who competed in the Slovak Superstar. He made the evening more enjoyable with his guitar playing and singing. He was replaced by dancers from the acclaimed choreographer with the famous name of Minya Keres from The Pastels and Ladylicious. They also taught us some dance steps. Until three in the morning there was free entertainment and mutual conversations and there was also a midnight raffle.

Photo with dancers from The Pastels and dancers from Ladylicious under the baton of choreographer Minis Keres

We took away good memories from these days and soaked up the Christmas atmosphere to the full. We are already looking forward to what awaits us this time next year.

How did you spend your time before Christmas? Did you go somewhere to the markets or did you have fun at a company party?