I finally got some time to write a little review over the past week in Barcelona.
So far I can say that it was a great experience, just the sheer knowledge is overwhelming. If I had the time for it I could spend at least 3 weeks with working and reading the slides we got. But lets start somewhere else.
I arrived in Barcelona on Sunday afternoon and got to the hotel (Hesperia del mar ****) by taxi. After the check-in I went to the room and was a bit surprised, the room layout was a bit strange. A quite small room with a big beed and (in comparison to the room) a real big bathroom. Well nothing bad about this but usually its a bit different 😉 Afterwards I just got out of the hotel to check the closer neighbourhood to get to know where I can find what, sadly there was no store close to buy some water (which is something I usually do). So I went back to the hotel did some surfing (Internet Access is free, but not very stable and there sadly was no open AP close by) and reading until Cisco opened the gates for the registration. I thought I gonna get there early cause I didnt know how long it would take, to my big surprise I went in and got my stuff after about 3minutes. It was just like entering your name into a notebook, getting your batch and then the Networkers bag, with presents and informations about the conference. After that I went to a shoping mall close by where I thought I might be able to buy water but guess what, its sunday (stupid me) and the market store was closed, no other open store was selling water in bottles. End of the story I had to use the bottles in the room bar which is in my opinion just too expensive but well…
I went back to the hotel thinking I could spend an easy evening/night in the hotel and its restaurant without having to go out and look for a suiting restaurant, another gotcha the reception told me, that their restaurant is closed over the weekend.. thanks! I ended up in a close by local restaurant which was serving good food.
Going over the Networkers itself I got a few impressions and gotchas I probably file under lessons learned:
- It was the first, only and last Techtorial I ever took. For myself I cant stand it to have 8h talk and listening for US $500 (I think it was). Even though the topics were good and the slides also (happily I got a CD with all slides hehe) but I tend to forget stuff I heard quite soon if I do not do anything with it (write it down, test it, make a testlab, you name it) and I cant just sit there and listen for 8h. But thats just me.
- The food is well.. Im no gourmet but I like good food so the next time I gonna frequent the restaurants close by more often 😀
- Either take a hotel which is closer to the conference or get better walking shoes. My feets were hating me after that week since I did not get some proper shoes with me to walk the distance from the hotel to the conference and back 2-4 times a day.
The Sessions (except the Techtorial that is 😉 ) where great, I luckily had (I was told other stories) native English speakers on all sessions I attended which really helped a lot to get what they were talking about. I got out of every session thinking about that stuff and trying to match it on our companies environment, comparing the actual situation and finding the points where we can make some reasonable improvements. I think that shows that the sessions were good. And the good thing is we got all slides from all sessions, which means I can have a look into every session I was not able to participate due to lack of time or schedule problems with other sessions.
The Lab Session itself was neat, I really wish Cisco allowed us to schedule more than only one session per networkers. But well the world isnt perfect so.. 😉
A special thing to mention is the round table I was invited to. I really enjoyed (besides the free EUR 40 Gift card, which allowed me to buy a book about ASA’s for EUR 6 ;), did I mention already that I bought myself an ASA 5505? :)) the discussion with Mary from Cisco and the other guys, the first time I felt somehow that Cisco is actually asking their customers and partners on what they think about stuff the plan to do. Sadly we’re not allowed to talk about what Cisco is planning or better thinking about. Mary also mentioned that there are options to participate in more things like this. Im still thinking about if I send her a mail or not 🙂
Another highlight was that I met Stretch (packetlife.net) in person, I’d really like to send him some congratulations on his passed CCIE written exam at this point. Well done and it was nice meeting you in person. Through Strech I also met Greg Ferro (Etherealmind) and Kevin Dorrell (dorreke.wordpress.com), sadly we only had just a short time to talk together but I guess we’ll meet again, somewhen and somewhere and hopefully with a lot more time 🙂