Last week's trip to Europe for ApacheCon EU was nothing short of spectacular. Amsterdam was an incredible city that amazed me with its awesome biking system (and usage!), incredible atmosphere and a nice sense of relaxation. I think the picture below sums up our trip nicely. The weather couldn't have been better - sunny and warm with a cool breeze.
ApacheCon was likely an excellent conference, but I'm proud to say I didn't attend a single session. I did manage to make it to Sun's party on Thursday night (thanks Dave!), but that was about it. At the party, the Wicket guys had a BOF, which my dad and I sat in on. Thanks to Martin, Eelco and others for the good conversation, even if we did have to shout.
After my talk on Friday, we scrambled for the airport. It was pretty hectic after my talk with our departure looming and the fact that I still needed to pack. To top it off, the power went out in the hotel shortly after my talk. After arriving at the airport, I realized I forgot my passport in the room - Doh! (you're right Neil). Luckily, I was able to sweet talk my way onto the plane anyway and we arrived in Stuttgart an hour later.
The weather wasn't nearly as nice in Germany, but we did have a great time. The folks we went to visit have same last name as my family. Roland Raible was driving his VW Bus through Montana in the early 80s, when he noticed the "Raible" name on our mailbox. Curious, he drove up our front road and made it all the way to the cabin. I remember him driving up the road - I was only 9 years old when it happened. He hopped out of his van and yelled to us "My last name is Raible!" We don't know if we're actually related, but Roland and my dad have stayed in touch ever since that initial meeting. My dad visited him for the first time last year, following one of his trips to Africa.
Roland, his wife Helga and their 2 children all live in Wangen, which is a countryish town in Southern Germany. It rained the two days we were there, but we did make it to "Fidelisback", a bakery that's been around for over 500 years. The beer was excellent, as was the food. On Saturday, we traveled to the Zeppelin Museum and some stone-age huts along Lake Constance. Both places were very cool and educational. We enjoyed the audio tour at the Zeppelin Museum just like we did at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
On Sunday, we left Stuttgart around 11 and arrived in Amsterdam at noon. Bruce hooked me up and left my passport in a locker. It was surprisingly easy to travel between The Netherlands and Germany with nothing but a driver's license. We arrived at my house in Denver at 11:00 on Sunday night.
If you ever get a chance to visit Amsterdam for Queen's Day - I highly recommend it. I know we'll be back.
For some photos of our trip, see my Europe 2007 Set on Flickr. Also, checkout Dave's Amsterdam vacation wrap-up for some good photos of Queen's Day.