Amsterdam the Netherlands and OBUG Benelux Connect 2012
I arrived Amsterdam on a non-stop Delta/KLM flight from Seattle around 8:30am and set off by taxi to the Hilton DoubleTree. Normally I would take a train but I wanted to get a feel for the city and the distance was not too great.
Leaving the train station (on the right) I found flagrant evidence of an advanced civilization
This view is from the Hilton DoubleTree shortly after arrival. It was a great place to start a long walk
A view from my room at the DoubleTree
The first point of interest on my walk: I love the architecture And another as I was getting close to dinner at Long Pura
At Long Pura: I had the sirup_susu, Sate Kambing, and Gule Kambing (pictured below): A wonderful meal
Gule Kambing Followed by Dutch TV: A well dressed man and woman playing in a mud puddle: Yes!
The next morning I was off to Maastricht via Utrecht by train. I have two dislikes in blogs ... one is pictures that could have been taken anywhere and the other is totally misrepresenting a place by only showing pictures as predictable as windmills in Holland ... thus the only windmills you'll see are on the horizon above. The flag green terrain is ubiquitous as are the water channels in this part of the country.
On arriving in Maastricht I checked into the Novotel and promptly set out for the OBUG dinner shipboard for four hours along the canals. I'd have take pictures but it was drizzling and didn't start until sundown. You'll have to use your imagination here. ;-)
Tuesday the 24th was the conference at the MECC ... a very impressive conference facility well appointed for running a conference with auditoriums, break-out rooms, and a good layout for mixing the vendor fair with serving meals. Here is the Oracle booth.
The first speaker at the opening of the conference was ??? ??? who is President of OBUG. He was followed by Andrew Sutherland President of Oracle EMEA who is one of the few people left on this planet that understands the point of a keynote address and gave one that was perfect in both content and tone.

The topic was simply ... where is Oracle going? ... where does Oracle see itself in the context of what is happening around us both locally and globally?

And mixed in a bit of subtle and thus brilliant marketing. I've really got to learn how to do that some day: The subtle part. ;-)

The final picture is of Maria Colgan, Oracle's product manager for the database optimizer giving the first of three presentations and both reviewing that state of public knowledge as well as exposing some aspects of the Optimizer that will remain officially unpublished until the release of 12c.
The next morning I was off to Luxembourg for lunch: Yes changing countries for lunch. As appalling a my behaviour is to the locals I don't consider a couple of hours on a train to have lunch in Luxembourg a really big trip so off I went via Liege.