Norway has to be one of the coolest places on Earth. I've been here for a week now, and I'm
definitely impressed. I didn't know what to expect when I left the U.S. - mostly because my
last trip to a non-English speaking country was to Russia in the mid-90s. When I went to Russia,
I thought it'd be a lot like the U.S. What I found was a beautiful
country that was struggling to survive. I wasn't expecting a whole lot from Norway.
I'd heard it was modern, but I wasn't going to get my hopes up. When my laptop died on the way over, I thought I was in for it. I figured they probably didn't sell PowerBook cords over here, so I was screwed. Luckily, I was wrong. Unfortunately, I had to buy a whole new laptop - but it has been quite nice using a faster machine (1.67 MHz / 1.5 GB RAM) this week, with Tiger and all that jazz.
This week has definitely been tiring. I've given a fair amount of presentations in my life, and even done a few week-long training course. However, I've never talked as much as I did this week. I did a total of 7 sessions on Spring this week, at 3 different companies and 2 different JUGs. It was a lot of work, but it was also fun to meet so many enthusiastic Java Developers. Preaching the Spring gospel is pretty easy since it's such a kick-ass framework.
So what about Norway? It's very modern. In many ways, it's more modern than the U.S. It seems cleaner, the people are nicer, and apparently there's little crime and/or poverty. This is readily apparent from the moment you get off the plane. There's a "bullet train" from the modern/cool-looking airport into downtown Oslo. It takes about 20 minutes, and then you're wisked away into a historic city by the sea. I dig the train.
I've been staying at the Hotel Stefan in downtown Norway Oslo, which is about 5 blocks from the main courthouse and lots of historic buildings. I'm a block away from a castle too! The funny thing is all the westernization - there's a TGI Fridays down the street and Star Wars is playing at the local theater. Taxis are very cool - most of which are new Mercedes. The only downside I've seen so far is the beer is pretty expensive ($10/each).
I've taken a few pictures and hope to take several more while sipping on seome cold ones with the locals tonight. I'll try to upload the whole batch later this evening or tomorrow morning. My flight leaves at 11 a.m. and I'll be back in the Denver tomorrow night. The 16-hour flight home is going to be rough - good thing it's in first class. ;-)