By the way, my talk went very smoothly yesterday and I estimate that about 300 people showed up. I pitched
my book at the end of the talk and pointed people to JavaOne bookstore, but by that time it was sold out.
Vacation is over and it's back to work today. I rode the tram up to Amsterdam Central Station to see Andi off, checked out of our vacation hotel and made my way up to the Movenpick Hotel for ApacheCon EU.
I'm in the ApacheCon hackathon room now working to clear my in-box,
catch-up on blogs and figure out what work things need my (rather
limited) attention this week.
Vacation was wonderful, by the way. I didn't do any travel blogging on this trip, but I've taken about 200 photos and uploaded some of the best to my Flickr account. I took a bunch of nice shots of the Queens Day festivities yesterday. and the ad hoc boat parades. I've also been building a Google map of our travels, annotated with photos and comments. I'll share that link later this week once it's more complete.
I've been updating my javax.ws.rest post with links to blogs about JSR 311: Java (TM) API for RESTful Web Services. I went from a couple to nine links today and I'll probably keep on linking, but I'm about to go quiet for couple of days. It's wiki mountain weekend time again.
The Smithsonian Air & Space Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles airport is simply amazing. The center "provides enough space for the Smithsonian to display the thousands of aviation and sapce artifacts that cannot be exhibited on the National Mall." I could have spent a lot more time there, but not everybody in the family shares my fascination with air, space and military history.
We opened presents in Chapel Hill on Xmas eve, at home in Raleigh on Xmas day and then drove up to Northern Virginia for one last round of paper ripping, twisty-tie unfastening and worship of the one deity that really matters to the kids: the good lord Lego. Lego ruled christmas here again and this year, for our kids the holy trinity is Lego, Star Wars and the Cars movie.
Lego's hegemony over the Johnson playroom has some history. Long time readers may remember the Jack Stone incident. Jack Stone has been replaced by a series of increasingly complex Lego Star Wars vehicles for the older boys and an oddly intense Lego Boba and Jango Fett fetish on the part of our four year old. And Lego is also serving as a gateway-drug -- Alex (10) got Lego Mindstorms earlier this month and has been spending hours building bots and some pretty complex programs.
I had to include the Cars movie in the holy trinity because Leo eats, sleeps and drinks it now. I'm almost too embarrassed to admit that he's got Cars movie plastic cars, die-cast metal cars, carrying case, models, pajamas, a blanket (known as fuzzy), socks, shoes, underwear and pull-ups -- but no Cars movie Legos (yet).
I got a couple of nice gifts too. As usual my brother gave me some user-generated content; his year he put together a wonderful CD full of about 30 Who covers. I also got a couple of books: Innovation Happens Elsewhere and The Innovators Dilemma.
We'll be in the Northern Virginia area for the next couple of days. After a short pilgrimage to the Lego store today we'll head over to the new Air & Space museum at Dulles airport. Tomorrow, we're expecting good weather so we'll head down to DC to check out the National Mall.
Over the weekend, we drove about three hours west towards the mountains to Statesville, NC for the annual Carolina balloon-fest. We saw a tank, an assortment of military helicopters and we even saw some balloons attempt to inflate. Unfortunately, it was way too windy for ballooning. So it was a bit frustrating, but the kids love any chance to take a road trip so it wasn't a total loss. You can see some of my photos on Flickr.
Lodging. B&B's are
numerous in Ireland, but we favored guest houses when we made our
lodging plans. Looking back, our favorites were Davitt's guest house in Kenmare and the Buttermilk Lodge in Clifden.
Food. We found lots of choices for food and we had indian, chinese, Irish contemporary and pub-grub. Our favorite meals were at Punjab Balti in Dublin, Davitt's restaurant in Kenmare, Laken House in Kilkenney and the Porterhouse in Dublin.
Connnectivity. Mobile phone signal is strong all over the island -- four bars everywhere. Internet access can be found in post offices, coffee shops and other businesses. Wireless internet is a little difficult to find, but we found it at the video store in Clifden, a coffee shop in Galway and a computer store in Kenmare. Price was around four euro / hour.
Prices. Food and fuel are pretty expensive in Ireland right -- and the
USD to Euro exchange rate doesn't help. Renting a car is also very
expensive, which must be due to the dangerous roads.
And finally here are links to the previous posts in this series:
And that's it for the vacation. Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.
Next, we stopped briefly at the seaside town of Bray before heading back to Dublin. Thursday was our list night in Ireland, so we stayed near the airport in a Eagan's guest hour. We didn't want to venture all the way downtown, so we ate at the Porterhouse restaurant just a couple of blocks away. Porterhouse is a micro-brewery with an awesome selection of beer, and a very interesting guide to beer on every table, and reasonably priced food. I didn't expect much from the place, but it turned to be one of the best dining experiences of the trip.
When we arrived at the airport, we found chaos and another bomb-scare in progress. Somebody left a rucksack under a stairway in the arrivals area, so the authorities order an evacuation and called the bomb-squad. Our flights were delayed for a couple of hours, but we both made it home safely by the end of the day.
Tonight we're staying at the Laken House, a restaurant and 10-room guest house across the river from the castle. The room is nice and our package-deal included dinner which was excellent, but the place is empty and the dead-quiet is a little disconcerting. Tomorrow we're off to Dublin for the last night.