Just finished dinner with my newfound Global Water Partnership friends here on the banks of the Danube ('Duna' in Hungarian and Romanian) River in Budapest.
Here is the entrance to the Hotel Gellért, my home through Thanksgiving (27 November) morning:
It reminds me of my old high school, Chaminade High School, in Mineola, NY. The unpronounceable word at the end means 'Spa Hotel' (or something similar) in Hungarian, which, by the way, is distantly related to Finnish. Budapest is known for ita thermal baths.
And here is the view outside my window: the Danube River:
Strauss the Younger might not find much blue in it these days. Flow is left to right (to the south). The bridge is the Szabadság (Liberty) Bridge. In front of the far bank, just to the left of the bridge, you can discern the white bow of a cruise boat. They look like long barges with a two-story motel slapped on top. Just out of the picture to the left on the west bank is Gellért Hill, a chunk of dolomite (calcium magnesium carbonate) towering 460 feet (140 meters). Hungary is well-known for its (carbonate) karst (rocks and aquifers, etc.).
When I think of European rivers I think of the Rhine and the Danube. The Danube is the second longest river in Europe, second only to the Volga, which flows into the Caspian Sea. The Danube flows about 1,770 miles (2,850 km) from Germany's Black Forest to the Black Sea. Its drainage basin covers 315,000 square miles (817,000 square kilometers). It flows through four national capitals: Vienna (Austria), Bratislava (Slovakia), Budapest (Hungary), and Belgrade (Serbia). Just north of Budapest, where the Danube Commission is located, the mean flow is about 83,000 cfs (2,400 cms). Farther downstream the average swells to 200,000 cfs (5,600 cms). Big sucker!
Enough about rivers!
This afternoon two of the three new GWP Steering Committee members (Gunilla Björklund and me) had an 'induction' or orientation session. For about 3.5 hours GWP secretariat staff explained the history and workings of the GWP, finances, partners, roles of the various departments and committees, etc. You've got it - GWP A to Z. Ania Grobicki (Executive Secretary), Rudolph Cleveringa (Deputy Executive Secretary), Susanne André (Senior Legal & HR Officer), Catharina Sahlin-Tegnander (Senior Manager, Finance and Administration), Helena Gunnmo-Lind (Executive Assistant), Jacques Rey (Acting Head of Network Operations), and Dr. Mohamed Ait-Kadi (Technical Committe Chair) patiently and thoroughly explained how things work. The fact that a severely jet-lagged WaterWired remained riveted to his chair without dozing (or falling) off attests to the quality of the presentations and presenters.
After the presentations, we were treated to dinner and joined by Dr. Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, Steering Committee Chair,
Tomorrow we start with a full agenda for the next three days.
I'm all in.
Time to sleep.
"The great thing in this world is not so much where you stand but in what direction you are moving.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes