The trip here began late on Saturday night from Boston’s Logan Airport. Although there was a two hour flight delay, we did have a bit of luck on check-in. We arrived to Air France with a line of people as long as a ride at Disney World. Surprisingly a very nice agent asked if we had checked in online. I said yes but not all of it worked properly for all the flights. She gracefully asked us to follower her, and she proceeded to put us in a line with only one other person. Julie and I said not a word and just went with it. The counter agent looked up the flights and I nicely asked if there was a way to get our seats together since the online check-in did not let me do it. She asked another agent something, and asked us if we had ever flown “Upstairs” on the 747, and we said we had never even been on one or traveled to Europe. With that she gave us the first row on the upper deck no questions asked and no charge. My luck was looking up….so I thought 🙂
We landed in Paris not too long later, I was able to get some sleep, in fact I did not even remember the flight for the most part. Then the wonderful bus ride from the plane 10 minutes to the actual gate. This was a new one on me for sure. We got in line at the border patrol and we were not even asked any questions. I swear to you when I say this is the truth. The border agent was texting on his phone, then just stamping the passports. No questions, no answers, not even a look at the picture. Actually that made me a bit nervous at the behaviour, but we made it through fast. Never being to Paris before I did not know you actually had to leave the airport, then walk about 10 miles to get to the next gate and clear security. We started walking away from security and Julie panicked as she appeared to have lost her watch at the checkpoint. We ran back and asked the not so helpful security agents if they saw it and they were no help. A stranger finally pointed out a watch on the floor and it was hers. Thank Heaven!
Off to the gate grab a coffee and a bagel, back on another bus that seemed to just drive us back to the other side of the airport where we started! Then off to Copenhagen on a short 90 minute flight. Then a taxi ride to the hotel to get checked in. We decided to head to the Bella Center so I can check in for the conference. We walked the 20 minutes to the Metro and I tried to buy a ticket at the kiosk, I swiped my Corporate VISA, and was asked for a PIN. What? It is not a debit card! I tried calling Citibank, could not get through. By now I was pretty frustrated with my first experience. We walked all the way back to the hotel, never got lunch and Julie was starving. I finally got through to Citi where the first person was not very helpful. The second person proceeded to explain that in Europe you need a card with a security chip and/or a PIN number. I sighed a heavy sigh and listened to her explain that vendors need to provide a way to sign for a charge or they can lose their ability to take VISA, but there is nothing they can do about a Kiosk.
With that we headed downstairs…..and just grabbed a taxi to get there. The trick was once I got there I would get a travel pass so this would not be an issue. We arrived at the Bella Center, checked in, and met with a bunch of VMware folks in the labs, chatted for a bit, then hopped on the metro to go get ready for diner. We walked to a nice little place to eat, got some food, then met up with the Dutch vMafia afterwards to hang out, then off to bed.
Monday was the day of catching up for sure. We met up with the boys and headed down to the Bella Center after breakfast so they could go get registered. Duncan and Frank had a session on TAM day but David and I had nothing. We found the speaker center, got situated with the venue, and hung around to grab lunch. Once we finished eating it was back to the hotel for a little e-mail catch up and then Tivoli Gardens for a bit. We walked for about 2-3 hours around, I found a nice skull cap to keep my head warm. It is pretty raw here this time of year and I was not yet used to it from home being so warm.
Back to the hotel, Julie and Dave took a nap, I grabbed a yoga workout, then over to the EMC GeekFest party. There we ran into loads of people from Jeramiah Dooley to Chad Sakacc, Aaron Delp, and countless others. The food was awesome for sure, not just finger food, but ribs, steak, bread, salad……seriously the bread here is incredible. Freshly baked always tons of it around, not good for my diet but oh well. After that time for bed, and get ready for the real start of the conference. I will have a total of six sessions to present so I will be busy for sure. I hope the sessions go as well as they did in Las Vegas!
CIM1264 – Tuesday and Thursday
VSP1682 – Wednesday
GD06 – Tuesday and Thursday