The day started early, woke up at 4am, because of having 7:50am flight to Sofia. Landed at 9am and moved to Technologica to leave my luggages (the first speaker to arrive for the conference) and started a short city tour.
Sofia has a small city centre, you can visit most important places in less than 2 hours of time. Here are some city shots for my short walking tour.
I noticed that there are many police cubicles in the city, looking strange to me (my first time seeing one of those) with a tilted iron stick (acting as stairs at the same time). But, I was frightened as I am taking a shot, because photographing a police can cause trouble for me (where similar happened to me in Frankfurt, I was about to get arrested). Hence, I found it useful, since police were all in the city centre, controlling everything.
Then I rushed to Technologica to meet with Milena Gerova, president of BGOUG and organising the event and ride to Pravets (Riu Hotels & Resort). After checking in, I found my room, opened the door and saw only below picture.
There was nothing except a TV and some chairs and 2 doors sideways. First knocked the door on my left and it was a small restroom (I could imagine that), but where was my bed or is there a bed? I decided to knock the other door but afraid to see something I didn’t expect. Took a deep breath and knocked the door and opened it. This is (on the right) what I saw. It was a suite, where I wasn’t expecting to stay. I guess this was the executive room and I had the biggest balcony in the complete hotel (checked from outside :-)).
I went down and pickup my conference materials. Event was very well organised and everybody was smiling. Then we moved some other place for the speaker dinner. Meals were delicious and to be honest, it is almost the Turkish cuisine with similar taste. Eventually, our fathers lived in the same area and our cultures are very similar.
I attended lots of sessions (including the ones that I am speaking) and learnt a lot. During the breaks there was an opportunity for networking and talking with the attendees, BGOUG staff and other speakers. This was my first time seeing 2 different approaches in 2 different sessions for migrating OWB (Oracle Warehouse Builder) to ODI (Oracle Data Integrator). Besides, there were really good sessions about ODI as well.
Jonathan Lewis, had his keynote session at the end of first day and it was amazing to hear his story “How I Became Jonathan Lewis”. The sessions that I attended was from Jonathan Lewis, Julian Dontcheff, Joze Senegacnik, Joel Goodman, Bryn Llewellyn, Heli Helskyaho, Martin Widlake, Maria Gyurova and of course Osama Mustafa (I’m glad, I didn’t wait for him this time, but we all did, cause he got stuck in the international zone of the Sofia Airport – read the full story from here). And there were friends from Turkey (TROUG), Gokhan Atil and Emre Baransel.
It was great to have Bryn in the breakfast table and he played with the English words, with his great British English accent and used our words wisely as we are struggling to tell some difficulties of Turkish alphabet and language (I hope you are not reading these Bryn), but it was so fun.!
Sunday was the leaving day and again my flight was late in the evening. So I decided to walk the Sofia city center a little bit more.
– Attendees : thank you so much for attending my sessions. My session evaluations were great and seeing my name for the answer of the question “which topics/speakers prompted you to register for this event” made me speechless and very happy (my name is too long and complicated for misspelling, so I believe this is not an error). It was an honour to be one of the reason to register this awesome conference.
– Organization : huge thanks for Milena and BGOUG staff, thank you so much for your hospitality, answering all the questions without any hesitation, touristic guidance and all the other things you did. Especially, setting this wonderful team together, nothing went wrong, you all did a tremendous job out there.
– Oracle ACE Program : it is, once again, an honour to be a part of this program, thank you very much for supporting all of us, giving us swift responses to all mails, questions or problems.
I definitely want to be a part of BGOUG conference again (shame on me that this was my first time), whenever or wherever it is next time.