My first time in Europe, was the quaint former Soviet controlled country of Bulgaria. It stood in stark contrast to all that I was used to. Growing up in Southern California, the idea of any type of city life mostly evaded my consciousness. I had been to larger cities for short visits, but never experienced the differences in fashion, language, and of course the cyrillic letters instead of roman. At it's core though, the people were beautiful inside and out, and exuded a warmth and energy that was electrifying.
And the Bulgarians love to have fun and party, a lot.
Each time I'm there we dine with great food, wonderful conversation, drink rakia, and attend dance performances where we are asked to participate throughout the night. After this we get up in the morning, and help put on a kick-ass conference for the Java2Days conference.
I've attended six years in a row, have met new and interesting speakers and attendees, and am grateful to have the opportunity to hang out for a few days with old friends and new. I look forward to every trip there, and to make each time back more unique than the last.