12 Funny Stories from the Old Street Trip to Slovakia

So I asked my team if they had any funny stories from our February get-together at the Jasná ski resort in Slovakia. Came back to a hundred Slack notifications.

As a 100% cloud-based and globally distributed team, physical meet-ups with everyone at Old Street don’t happen often. This is fine, because we all love the flexibility of how we work and, frankly, working from home has made all of us more productive and efficient. But it does mean that when we do get to see each other’s faces, we go for it.

This is the life

The trip was arranged as 2 days of fun and socialising, 2 days of work (turned into 1 1/2 days of work because, to quote the father of America’s national parks John Muir, the mountains were calling and we had to go).

During work time, we discussed what’s next for Custom Charts for Jira and Confluence (lots of great things – agile reports, public dashboards, an improved onboarding process, to name a few) and cemented our plans for Atlassian Team23.

Focus time

During play time, we skied, hiked, hot tubbed, played poker, ate 3-course meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and did what Old Street does best. Drank.

It was a fantastic trip, but you’re only here for the funny stories, so let’s get to them.

1. Have an award… oh, no you can’t

In one of our sessions, we handed out awards to various team members for their hard work. Unfortunately, the awards were so massive that no one was able to transport them home. So they’re, oops, still in Slovakia.

Erm… cold

2. Our CEO’s dreadful lies

Our UX designer Marek Canavan was less than pleased when CEO Chris Cooke spouted flagrant and sordid lies about… the cards in his hand during poker. “He wasn’t bluffing, he was lying,” Marek said at breakfast the next morning, “and I still can’t believe he did that.”

3. When Fernando took out a kid

That makes it sound like we killed someone. Just to confirm said kid is alive. Our Quality Assurance Engineer Fernando Freitas, more concerned about the quality of Custom Charts than the quality of his skiing, ploughed into a kid and then managed to persuade the little tyke that it was his fault. It was a proud moment for us all.

Ski bar time

4. Happy birthday latecomers

After our events manager Jane Techataveekul told me and our graphic designer Claire Rojek that there was no set time for dinner, we decided it’d be fine to rock up at 7.30-8pm. However, the rest of our lovely team met at 6.30pm (while I was, quite literally, napping). We were treated to an exceptionally loud rendition of “Happy Birthday” from the whole team and the table next to us. I’m told I turned the color of my surname, and I don’t think Claire will be late for anything ever again.

Red faces in the rock club

5. The cab driver’s wife

Our marketing manager Teodora Vasileva desperately wanted her taxi journey from the ski resort to the airport to be a peaceful (i.e. silent) one. However, the cab driver brought his wife along. You know, as you do. The whole time she tried to talk in Slovakian to the Bulgarian Teodora because, according to her, Bulgarian and Slovakian are the same language.

6. A marriage proposal

During a game of Taskmaster, the impossible-to-embarrass Chris Cooke was dared to propose (with a rose!) to a woman in the bar who was happily working on her laptop. I didn’t see any of it as I was trying to climb inside my chair at the time.

7. A hard first day’s work for James

Our new sales development rep James Hussey’s first day of work for Old Street consisted of skiing down a mountain and going to a rock club. I can think of worse first days.

James’ very difficult first day of work

8. Espresso martini deconstructed

To the sadness of me and Claire, espresso martinis aren’t a thing in Slovakia. Yet, we became so demanding in our drunken state that Chris Cooke ordered 3 of them in this tiny rustic pizza place staffed by a poor young Slovakian lad who had no idea why we wanted this random collection of ingredients. We ended up with a fully deconstructed cocktail that we made ourselves at the table… in mugs. They weren’t half bad.

You want me to make a… what?

9. Lost in the woods

We lost a couple of the team whilst hiking in snowy woods at the top of the mountain. No, they didn’t die. But they did decide they weren’t gonna wait for us slowpokes at the back and sped ahead. For about ten minutes we genuinely thought they had gone to Narnia or been eaten. But no, they reached the end of the trail, which the rest of us… did not.

10. Ghost girl

One night, our customer success manager Andy Barker woke up to the sound of things moving about in his room by themselves. Papers swishing, an eerie clicking, like someone pulling his Nintendo Switch in and out. When he turned on the light… no one there. But the next day, he came upon a random blonde girl standing in a corridor, staring at him, motionless, holding her cuddly toy, striking fear into Andy that she was the poltergeist who’d haunted him the previous night. She wasn’t. She was a little girl who’d lost her dad. And after Dad and daughter were reunited, the grateful father bought Andy three beers and got him shitfaced.

Andy sees a ghost

11. Come back and pay for that espresso

A few of the team bought and paid for a huge three-course meal costing $700. After leaving, and getting halfway down the road, we turned to see a frantic waiter chasing after us and shouting. A $4 espresso had been missed off the bill. I mean, sure, there is an energy crisis after all.

More ski bar fun

12. There’s a wall there

Our Custom Charts developer, Ladislav Szalai, did what has become the subject of a million GIFs online and departed the poker game by walking straight into a glass wall. We all very much enjoyed it.

Dream team

Christopher is a self-confessed nerd who’d probably take the cake on Mastermind if Star Trek: Voyager was his specialist subject. He writes fiction about time travel, conspiracies and aliens; loves roller coasters, hiking and Christmas; and hates carpet, rom-coms and anything with chilli in it. He’s written extensively for technology companies and Atlassian partners and specializes in translating complicated technical concepts, specs and jargon into readable, benefits-driven copy that casual readers will understand.