I am back from a 16 day, three country, three conference European tour. It was a lot of fun and the community is alive and well in Europe and I am looking forward to TechEd in Spain.
First stop was in Amsterdam for the SDC, well actually Noordwijkerhout, but that is impossible to pronounce and it is “close to Amsterdam” as is everything is in that tiny country. They let me do the keynote (on Astoria and REST) and also speak on Scrum and SQL. There was an obligatory visit with Miguel “look at me!” Castro and Peter Bahaa to the Red Light District. Yes, there was a lot of stories about sex and drugs, but Carl Franklin randomly showed up at the SDC, so we told all on an upcoming episode of DNR, so catch it there.
I then moved on to Sofia, Bulgaria. The girl came in for the weekend and we did some sightseeing in Sofia and Plovdiv. Polvdiv predates ancient Rome and Istanbul, it is an ancient city with fabulous ruins.
Monday brought DevReach 2008. Once again they let me do the keynote, not sure why. But I decided to have some fun with the audience. I told them that I love Bulgarian women (true) and that I met one the night before at the bar and got her phone number. I then put up a photo of Miss Bulgaria. Then I say that she taught me how to speak Bulgarian. I said that she taught me how to say “Welcome to DevReach!” What I then said was : Аз съм глупав и дебел американец (I am a stupid, fat American.) Brought down the house, kinda forgot what the Keynote was about.
After three more breakout sessions, Tim Huckaby and I spoke to the computer science majors at Sofia University. We had a total hoot and took questions as diverse as “will Apple sue Microsoft over the Surface” and “Why is Microsoft not Open Source” to “What do you think of Android?”
After that there was a nice dinner where a lot of booze was drank. Then something crazy happened. Maciej Pilecki walked on hot fire coals. Here are some photos from Steve Smith:
This photo is dark but Maciej and I just walked over the coals, but quickly. The performer and us pose for a photo. I think “ok I survived.”
But then as you can see he decides to make us walk one last time, very slow. My feet were ok, but they were black for two days.
So first of all, after I did this, everyone said “I saw that on myth busters!” They say: “IT IS EASY, MYTHBUSTERS SAID SO! MIND OVER MATTER!” I have one thing to say to all of them: DO IT YOURSELF AND GET BACK TO ME.
The next night featured the attendee party at the Piano Bar in Sofia, and Carl played and sang “New York State of Mind” for me.
Then it was off to Novi Sad, Serbia for Sinergija 08. I did a few sessions on SQL and Scrum and for the last session of the conference, I was down to drinking beer and brought a case of beer to my session and gave one away to anyone who asked a question. The first question was “Can I have a beer?” Damn Serb outsmarting me.
After the conference I went out drinking with the Sinergija event staff and learned the hard way not to drink with Serbians. Then we drove to Belgrade and I spent the day sightseeing before the long journey home.
These three events were a great experience and the Microsoft community in Central and Eastern Europe is alive and well!