International understanding is a fundamental objective of Rotary and our Rotary Club has linked with the Rotary Club of Basildon with four Rotary Clubs in Europe - Beausoleil (France), Alba (Italy), Ovada (Italy), and Karlshamn (Sweden). Each year one of the clubs hosts the other clubs for a weekend of friendship, international co-operation and joint endeavour. This year members of Billericay, Basildon, Beausoleil, Karlshamn and Alba travelled to Ovada in Italy to attend the annual "Double Triangular" reunion.
Nothing like an uneventful flight to get a trip off to a flying start. So it was from Stansted and arrival in Genoa where Enrico Ferrari greeted us and transferred us smoothly to our hotel. A mine of information – nothing to do with Rotary. Just about the best local wines and where to holiday. .... OK – so it was all about Rotary!
We arrived ahead of everyone else with time to spare before the “meet and greet” opening dinner, so we indulged in a few relaxing drinks. Nothing new there, then !
Back at the hotel, our friends from Karlshamn, Sweden and Beausoleil, France, had arrived. Initial greetings, then transfer shuttles to the splendid Villa Bottaro, meeting place of the Ovada Club, for an excellent buffet. It helped that the owner and chef were Ovada members! Then time for a get-to-know-you circulation, speech of welcome from President Giovanni Gatti and bed for an early start on Friday.
A buffet-style breakfast helped to break the ice between French, Swedish and British over shared tables.
Then sightseeing: First to Santa Croce in Bosco Marengo - a religious complex dating from 1566, built to elevate the standing of Pope Pius V's home town of Bosco Marengo, all reflected by our English and French speaking guide. Next door, the monastery and its “the cloister of death” where deceased monks were buried under the walkway. But, of course, cue for a joke from Patrick – “Heard the one about the monks who had sworn a vow of silence and were only allowed to speak every 10 years.... "
Next stop Acqui Terme, a spa town with a natural hot spring dispensing high mineral content hot water. Where art thou, Water Aid? And then the medieval castle at Cremolino. The private owners of the castle showed us round, explaining the refurbishments they had made over the 20 plus years they had owned it, including anecdotes from their celebrity lifestyle.
Twilight when we returned, then, freshen up and off again to another castle, Tagliolo’s, for dinner and a special wine, Dolcetto D’Ovada, produced at the castle. Plentiful supply, accompanied by much hilarity and many photos of us and our friends.
Then emotional farewells – only to meet up again on the coach which took us back to the hotel. Final memory – that homeward journey and some very loud singing by our French friends. Vive La France! A day of fun and fellowship – thanks to our wonderful hosts.
Light breakfast at the Hotel with an eye on the waistline .... international visits to Italy are renowned to be rich in nutrition and pasta! Leaving early to visit Genoa, we were mindful of the Morandi bridge having collapsed only two months ago. We were relieved not to be driving as we skirted around and across the port area selecting a multitude of tunnels and spaghetti type junctions to arrive at the new part of the port where we enjoyed some free time for coffee and marvel at the magnificent yachts and cruise liners (as big as apartment blocks) lining the marina.
Our friends from Ovada expertly guided us around the many historical buildings and museums before lunch at the Bristol Hotel, where we dined finely in true Italian style.
On to the Palace de Ducal, started in 1298, and completed around 1539 at a time when Genoa was the richest city in the world as a result of astute bankers lending money to other countries at exorbitant interest rates, and claiming their land when they defaulted on loans.
Climax to the day - the magnificent Gala Dinner in Villa Bottaro. Aperitifs of pink champagne and a selection of cold starters on the rooftop terrace and mingling with our Rotarian friends from the six international clubs, in a most relaxed setting.
More indulgence in the banqueting suite, fine food and wine from the Region (Dolcetto di Ovada and Gavi) after some compelling speeches from the Presidents to open proceedings. Our own President Les performed well on the International Stage alongside the District Governor and the other Presidents from Basildon, Beausoleil, Alba and Karlshamm. President Giovanni Gatti from Ovada concluded the speeches amidst great applause (probably so we could then commence the festivities and enjoy the liquid refreshment!!)
What a meal! Slow cooked pork fillet followed by a rich desert of hazelnut roulade accompanied by copious amounts of wine, all served to perfection by the superb staff. Traditional espresso coffee (which we came to enjoy) completed the indulgence. Back to our hotel by coach, fully relaxed if a tad weary. Enjoyable day in more than one respect!!
On our final morning there was a joint meeting of the Presidents to consider a proposal from Beausoleil for a "1000 straw" Global project. Beausoleil President Rosalind engineered the whole project and had prepared us all well, so much so that the presentation was conducted in four languages, verbally and written, a great effort.
Concise meeting, good fellowship and coffee – and exquisite cakes!
Everyone else was taken to Ovada to walk around the town, meeting up for coffee in the town square only to be surprised and entertained by a man and two performing dogs (You don’t get that in Basildon town centre!)
Lunch and, only too soon, time for farewells before our departure.
more President Peter and Member Patrick Rothon completed a ZOOM presentation on the Rotary Club of Billericay Soapbox Derby to Belmont Rotary Club near Melbourne, Australia.
more Our twinned clubs in Sweden, Italy and France are locked down like the UK, but are still busy supporting their members and their local community. Here France reports on life under lockdown in France.
more Our twinned clubs in Sweden, Italy and France are locked down like the UK, but are still busy supporting their members and their local community. Here Italy reports on life under lockdown in Italy.
more Our twinned clubs in Sweden, Italy and France are locked down like the UK, but are still busy supporting their members and their local community. Here Sweden reports on life under lockdown in Sweden.
more Highspot of the Rotary Year, the annual twinning visit to one of our linked clubs in Mainland Europe is delayed but international web meetings planned.
more Rotary principles in action- International Fellowship and co-operation on charitable projects with the Rotary Club of Basildon and four Rotary Clubs in Europe - Beausoleil (France), Alba (Italy), Ovada (Italy), and Karlshamn (Sweden).
more It’s time again for the forthcoming double triangular reunion of Rotarians, so called because it brings together Members from six different Rotary Clubs in four countries.
more Double Triangular Reunion of British, French, Italian and Swedish Rotary clubs
more Our annual international Rotary reunion of six clubs from the UK, Italy, France and Sweden took place in Alba, Northern Italy in September 2016
more As part of the international fellowship with other Rotary Clubs, we send our newsletter to all our "twinned" clubs. In return, they send their latest news bulletins to us.
more International Rotary Fellowship at a "Double Triangular" Rotary Meeting - six clubs (Basildon, Billericay - UK; Alba, Ovada - Italy; Beausoleil - France) met in Sweden hosted by Karlshamn Rotary Club
more It's 2015 and time for our Fellowship trip to Karlshamn, Sweden.
more A major feature of the twinning visits between our clubs is the hosting of visiting club members and their wives by individual Beausoleil Club members at their homes.
more Following our hosting of the twinning visit in 2013, Billericay Rotary Club enjoyed a wonderful programme in France this year, hosted by the Rotary Club of Beausoleil, along with Basildon, Alba and Ovada (Italy), Karlshamn (Sweden), from September 18-21.
more Everybody enjoyed a wonderful programme of social and historical events when Billericay Rotary Club hosted a reciprocal visit from its twinning clubs in Europe - Beausoleil (France), Alba (Italy), and Karlshamn (Sweden), from September 12-15.
more 2012 sees the turn of the Rotary club of Alba to host its twinned clubs of Billericay, Basildon and Beausoleil (France) for a programm of events and fellowship.
more A great day visiting the Houses of Parliament with fellow Rotarians from Italy, Sweden and France, organised by Basildon Rotary Club.
back We have had international links with other Rotary Clubs in Europe since the mid 1960s. Starting with Beausoleil in 1965 these links have grown to encompass Italy (Alba), Sweden (Karlshamn) and Italy (Ovada Del Centenario) in more recent years.