Now that the Umbraco CodeGarden Conference ( #CG16 ) is over, I thought I would write a quick blog post about our experience before, during and after the conference.
For the last few years the Umbraco conference has been held in Copenhagen, which is the capital of Denmark and a very lively cosmopolitan city. This year Umbraco HQ decided to move the conference to their home town Odense, which is the third largest city in Denmark, quite a bold move as it meant adding travel time and expense for the majority of attendees.
Most people I spoke to seemed to travel the day before the conference and then leave either in the afternoon on Friday or catch an early flight the next day.
Umbraco Work life balance
One of the Open Space sessions suggested by @bootnumlock was to discuss how we as developers maintain a good work life balance, which has always been part of my philosophy when attending a conference away from home.
Instead of flying in to Copenhagen and catching a train to Odense we took a look at the map and thought a road trip from Hamburg to Odense would be an interesting drive, it was approximately 3 hours of driving, but we took a few detours to visit places on the way and on our return, I would highly recommend it for next year.
At the airport we were offered an upgrade for our hire car to drive the above brand new Jaguar F-Pace, it was impossible to say no so we left the airport in this lovely car with more bells and whistles than you can shake a stick at, unfortunately our enjoyment of this car was relatively short lived as it ended up showing " Performance Limited " on the dashboard and long story short we had to exchange the car for a BMW 4 series Grand Coupe.
Other than a couple of SIXT offices, our first real stop was in the town of Christiansfeld which is a designated Unesco Heritage site it was a nice little town originally founded and built as a Moravian Church settlement in 1773.
If you decide to take a visit to Christiansfeld, do make sure to pop into the little coffee, cake and ice cream shop to try their local cakes, they were very good :)
The Pre-Conference Party
It has become a bit of a tradition for there to be a "pre-conference" party, this started out a few years ago with a few of us informally agreeing to meet in a bar via twitter and now it has grown to become an official part of the conference. This year's party was kindly hosting at the Umbraco HQ which for those who have not seen is a rather interesting building with a lot of character due to it being an old town power plant.
This year Umbraco HQ provided a free cocktail bar and many companies had sent beer or brought it with them so there was a large selection of beers from all over the world, such a great idea and another demonstration of the great Umbraco community spirit.
A few dials and knobs in the Umbraco HQ :)
Cycling in Denmark
This year we didn't hire bikes as our AirB&B was very close to the conference venue and the town centre so we didn't feel we really needed them, however the Danish have a massive cycling culture which is fantastic and I wish the UK councils would take note of the excellent cycle paths and bike storage provided in Denmark, it has to be one of the most cycle friendly countries in the world which makes for a more healthy population. I would highly recommend hiring a bike next year to explore a bit more of what Odense has to offer, I certainly plan to do so.
Conference food and Sushi for supper
The food provided for the conference was excellent and I heard a lot of people commenting how good it was, however the choice of Sushi for the main meal during the famous "Umbraco Bingo" was a bit of a mistake. Personally I thought it was great, but there are a fair number of people who don't like fish, especially if it has not been cooked and for those who are vegetarian. I am sure next year an alternative will be provided :)
DOK5000 - The conference venue
The below photo does not do the venue justice, it was a large warehouse building that is now used as a conference venue, with it's high ceiling and lots of ventilation it was a good venue for the conference. The below photo was taken during the meal on the Thursday evening before the Umbraco Bingo.
Eating out in Odense
On the first evening before the Pre-party we joined various other Umbraco developers at Burger Anarchy which produced some amazing looking burgers, our evening meals on Wednesday and Thursday evening were provided at the conference venue, on the Friday evening we were given a recommendation to try a restaurant that specialised in Ribs, they were some of the best ribs I have tasted so a very good recommendation and one on the list for next year!
Post Conference Culture
On Saturday, Miguel, Alain & I drove to visit Egeskov Castle which was approximately 25km outside of Odense, this was well worth a visit and I would recommend that others try and make the trip next year. The castle is one of Denmark's finest castles and is actually only a small part of what is on offer.
A large museum of cars, buses, aeroplanes ...
More cars, bicycles and lots more.
Inside the castle they currently have this dollhouse on display that took 15 years to build...
Road trip back to Hamburg
On our way back to Hamburg we stayed a night at an AirB&B near the coast which enabled us to explore a bit more of what Denmark has to offer. It was a very picturesque area and on a warmer day the beach would have been great. Our B&B was a small house in the middle of the countryside surrounded by fields and owned by a Danish and Scottish couple, they were extremely helpful and provided a great breakfast with home made jam, local honey and eggs from their chickens. What's not to love about that :)
The sun setting over the sea lake...
Flensburg in Germany
Our last stop on our journey to the airport was Flensburg, it was rather a flying visit but gave us a taste of the area. A nice little seaside town and worth a longer visit next time.
Nice looking architecture on this street...
If you have read this far, thank you and I hope this has encouraged you to visit the Umbraco conference next year with a few extra days to take in some other aspects of what Denmark has to offer.
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