#OUGF14 Harmony Impressions

Actually my journey to Helsinki, Finland not started well. I have to leave my Zippo lighter’s inside at the German security, because I had a stop over at the Munich airport. And I starved for lighter in Helsinki, few people are smoking, nearly none of the shops are selling lighters and I was to camping next day. Luckily hotel’s matches helped me a lot, except begging 3 matches each time I go in the hotel.

Rest…? Rest of the trip and event was great.! As my friends Heli Helskyaho, Philippe Fierens, Jan Karremans, Lucas Jellema, Alex Nuijten and Brendan Tierney wrote their impressions (all are wonderful).

First credits goes to Heli Helskyaho & Ann Sjökvist for organising such a great event and accepting me as a speaker. Second credit goes to Oracle ACE Program (Vikki and Lillian), they are the one who were in charge that I was there (sponsorship of ACE Director budget). Finally, last credits goes to all speakers and attendees. This event cannot be without you.

This was my first trip to a non-english speaking country (actually Europe) and I was a little bit afraid to find my way to wherever I want to go, regarding to shuttle and taxi drivers, but after asking “do you speak English” for the first couple of times, I realised that everybody is speaking English as their mother tongue. I’m so impressed..!

As I landed and found my fellow friend Kamran Agayev on Terminal 2 at Helsinku Vantaa airport, we took the FinAir Shuttle (as Heli and Alex explained previously) and went to city centre. Walked to the hotel, then Heli came up to the lobby with some speakers for “siteseeing”.

OUGF14-TheLobby

It is always pleasure to see old friends and meet new ones. Especially Jan Karremans and Philippe Fierens (we knew each other from too many tweets before OUGF14. But, Graham Wood has another place. He acted as my tweeting beer background, checking his phone. This cannot be coincidence at all. 🙂

IMG_1294 IMG_1298

We had some walk through the Kiasma and some more city centre, first impressions for the city were staring at the old and new buildings in harmony with lots of sculptures in the middle of streets.

OUGF14-CityTour1 OUGF14-CityTour2 OUGF14-CityTour3

We then headed to Harald’s Viking Restaurant. Everything was so delicious and traditional including waitresses. Everybody – except Belgium guy Philippe – had a different taste on tar ice cream and most of us thought it was vanilla ice cream and tasted a full spoon. 🙂

It was interesting that sun was still there after the dinner. It was 11:00 pm and it was still there… Actually I took pictures without using flash or manual controls after midnight around 00:30am.

DSCN6024Woke up early to catch the busses, walked a bit, then found peers again to spend 2 days together. This year is so unique because Oracle User Group Finland is celebrating 25th year anniversary, quarter century.

OUGF14-Entrance OUGF14-25th Anniversary

Since I had my 2 presentations on the first day, I only can able to attend keynote sessions. Tom Kyte is great as always, afterwards James Morle was on the stage. He deserved the speaker of the first day and he was incredibly, simply rocking on the stage. There were too many good interesting quotes on his presentation. You initially think to disagree, afterward change your mind to agree.

My sessions were pretty good and have positive feedback from the audience. I hope to help at least one attendee to have some opinion or learn something about ODI.

OUGF14-MySession

After the sessions, we went down to hill and had some sauna and cold {brrrr, damn cold} lake water and party time. “Whatever happens in Haltia, stays in Haltia” ==> promised.!

OUGF14-Party1

These guys are looking at me because I had a towel – courtesy of OUGF – but for to dry my short. Expectations failed {kidding}. And celebrated Øyvind‘s birthday with a dance, a flying dance by Bjöern.!

OUGF14-Party2

 OUGF14-Party3 OUGF14-Party4

Then we moved to camping location, approximately 20 minutes drive, plus 10 minutes of walk. Brendan, soon, met his whiskey… Panorama picture was taken after midnight.

OUGF14-Camping1 OUGF14-Camping2

OUGF14-Camping3

We had pancakes and sausage by the fire and surely whiskey too. Unfortunately, mosquitos liked Brendan and me a lot (still my head is scratching), I think they liked our blood full of alcohol. 🙂

I was the latest one who woke up, then moved back to Haltia for the event. I attended sessions of Brendan Tierney, Kent Graziano as well as the keynotes. Heli did a great job again and switched from Finnish to English, back to Finnish without breathing or stopping. Petri was great on randomly picking up numbers (to give presents) on demand. Everybody got something to remember this great event.

After returning back to hotel, I’ve walked down to city centre and with a little bit of luck, met with Kamran in the marketplace. Modified and classic cars were there for us to take picture. Here are my favorite ones {click to enlarge all the pictures}.

OUGF14-MarketPlace1 OUGF14-MarketPlace2

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Then we had a beer with Brendan, I owe you beer Brendan, hopefully in LA OTN Tour2014. It was a great event, greta organisers, great speakers, great attendees, great place, great city, great coincidences, great everything.!

See ya all in the next #ACED Gathering (Kent Graziano).

As everybody said finally, “I am finnish and this is the end” (Bjöern Rost).

 

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