For the second part of the article we will take you to the city of Budapest. It starts right where the previous article ended.
While some were packing their suitcases, others just could not get out of bed: a certain escalation night had been going on, resulting in them only getting two hours of sleep. Luckily everyone had the opportunity to get some extra hours since we were about to take the bus to Budapest in the morning. These five hours entailed nice views, some card games, and an escalation music playlist with frequent recurring horn sounds. The drive was long, but gave us a fascinating city in return: one of the first things that crossed our eyes was the classical building style of all the buildings. High-story apartments built in a majestic way welcomed us to the Donau-city, which we could immediately explore in the free time we had. Our hostel (Hostel One Basilica) was no different in its looks. The evening program started with dinner (read: a bowl with rice, cucumber and tomatoes) at the hostel, followed by drinking games and the exciting Champions League game. The hostel we were in is also known as a party hostel, which already provided a good vibe for everyone. Also, they helped us get into one of Budapest’s most famous clubs: Fogas ház. The atmosphere was amazing: at least seven music halls, each with its own music playing. Beers were drunk in great numbers, pizzas (which you can also buy there) were eaten with pleasure. After some hours we decided to go home, and we were not disappointed when we saw the döner place popping up, just like home. How cheap and good the food can be, it’s still part of the deal to actually pay for it. We found out the hard way when an angry waiter yelled at us:
‘’You friend chicken, no pay!’’ – Angry lady at döner place
Keeping in mind one of the first real escalation nights was yesterday, it was nice that we had to meet up no later than 11 in the morning, to start the formal part in Budapest. Today on the agenda we had a visit to the Dutch Embassy as well as NN Insurance (formerly known as ING). First off the Embassy. We were warmly welcomed by Dutch and Hungarian colleagues who were ready to show us how life in Budapest can be. We were offered a socio-political as well as historical background which really helped to put everything in perspective. Also we got some information about the economical background of Hungary, and how the people and corporations deal with innovation. All together it was very interesting for the group, and a good warming-up for the visit to NN Insurance. The intensive program that was waiting for us there started with an introduction about Innovation in Onboarding (after we got some nice sandwiches). There we could see some incentives NN Insurance uses to let employees get the best out of themselves. Also we participated in Sparklab, which you can see as a sort of program or experiment where it becomes clear which members possess leadership abilities. Everyone was silent for ten minutes, filling in all the questions. You could feel the tension and competition, because in our case there could only be one winner at the end. After this we had two more presentations: one about ‘Agile’, which was a bit more complex, and the other one about the Runaddict application (to encourage employees to live healthier). To conclude it was a challenging but interesting afternoon. If you thought this day was over, you. were. wrong… In the evening we went to an Escape Room you’ve never seen before. Groups were made and every escape room sounded more exciting than the previous one. Silent Killer 2, Abandoned Hospital, you name it. No spoilers in this article though!
When we came back to the hostel it was almost midnight; some people went out to the city center, but the majority stayed inside to play some drinking games. A lot of alcohol came through, a lot of games were learned.
‘Boer zoekt vrouw? The programme?’
Good Friday is an important day for Hungarians, resulting in almost everyone having a day off. Luckily DBH group was willing to receive us in the morning to show their activities. The nice thing about DBH is that they have a great deal of connections with Dutch (governmental) organisations. Also we could see explicit information about how Hungary is performing regarding innovation and obtaining patents. The visit to DBH group meant the end of the Atlas Trip’s formal part. The suits and skirts could start collecting dust again. However, the trip itself was still filled with surprises, which I will come back to later. First we had a biking tour coming up; equipped with cross bikes we went on to explore the city more thorough. Guided by enthusiastic bikers we were provided lots of information about some of Budapest best sites. One thing you notice immediately in this city is that almost everyone has a racing bike (which I really like). However, having such an agile bike is necessary, as we noticed when we had to drive on the motorway to cross the bridge. Let’s say that there were a few exciting, but tense situations. The biking tour was received well and was something we could talk about during dinner at the Klauzal Café. There we could already lay a ‘foundation’ for the escalation night that was following. The funny thing is that no one knew what it was. Some (Wessel) thought it was a cantus, while others expected a trip on the beer bus (which was heavily advertised around the city). However, everyone was in shock when we announced we were going to the party boat around the Donau (there’s even a GIF made of people’s reaction). So there we went, on a party boat, with unlimited drinks and Techno-House music played by a live DJ, while enjoying the nice views of Budapest’s hills and buildings, all beautifully lit. And after these two hours there was no other option than to go out to Fogas ház again. The morning after was characterised by the following motto:
‘I don’t remember.’
The penultimate day was also a completely free one. However, almost everyone decided to go to Géllert Spa on the other side of the river, so there we met up again as a whole. What we saw there was unlike anything we’ve seen before. Thermal baths up to 40 degrees, baths as cold as 16 degrees, one large pool outside with large waves every now and then. A good anti-hangover activity, accompanied by temperatures up to 23 degrees Celsius. It’s safe to say we spent almost the whole day here. After that the group separated into smaller groups for dinner. My group was with almost all the boys, and we decided to go to a chique restaurant where courses were served such as ‘Duck with beet paste’ or ‘Tagliatelle with rabbit ragout’. Still there was only one person who was dressed to this occasion, he will know who I mean, since the quote below is his. It was this evening we truly noticed how cheap everything can be here. After dinner everyone met up at the hostel or a bar close by. Some brave soldiers decided to go out one last time before we had to leave for Nijmegen again.
The end was near, very near. The alarms were already ringing at 6 in the morning to make sure we reached the airport in time. It wasn’t early for everyone though, as a handful of people just came home from the city center. In general no one really slept more than 4 hours this night, causing some to catch a few more minutes of sleep in the toilet. After everyone was mobilised we could make way to the airport; something that happened very smoothly. However, due to this we had around 3 hours before we had to catch the plane, a good opportunity for the group to catch some more sleep, or coffee. The coffee didn’t help a lot, making the flight back to Schiphol a rather quiet one. Once we arrived there were only two things left to do: first, announce the winners of the Crazy 88! And secondly, unfortunately, announcing the end of the trip. To conclude this article I want to say it was a week everyone enjoyed. A week in which the whole group became one. A week in which a lot of memorable things happened; things we will cherish for a long time. And a few hours later, after the KLM-bus arrived at Nijmegen Central Station, and the last members from the Atlas trip got out of the bus, we could say: everything went well.