Off to Belgrade, Serbia

So I have had the opportunity to visit my team in Serbia twice this year.  Our first visit was to discuss Q1 plans and how things are going in the server business in Serbia and how our outreach was going to IT Pros across the country.  I love this team where 2 guys are doing the work of 15.  During our brainstorming, we decided to launch our first ever Influencer Summit in Central Eastern Europe at the Sinergija Conference.  Sinergija is the Serbian’s team largest IT Pro and Developer conference that has been running for more than ten years.  This year we decided to do a pre-day with our top technical experts across Central Eastern Europe to bring them together, share their stories, get additional trainings and understand better their needs for the support they do for local communities.  We brought 85 experts from Russia, Poland, Hungary, Greece, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, Malta, Bosnia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Serbia.  We also brought some MVP experts to speak, Microsoft Research and one of our Security experts from EMEA.  The poor team hit Murphy’s law like no other.  First, with an outbreak of swine flu that scared many from wanting to travel to Serbia.  Then the patriarch pasted away and the country was declared 3 days of mourning which put businesses on hold.  Then the track leaders of their Win7 sessions got the worse flu and had their demo machine stolen.  But the team still moved forward and drives an amazing conference!

As you can see from most of my trips, they are composed of the MS office, Conference Center, Hotel and some local restaurant.  So Jose, Gavin and I did a tourist trip on overdrive after breakfast.  We powered through the sites in 2 hours before we had to head and do our sessions.  So a little about Belgrade, Serbia...  Belgrade (Beograd) is the capital of Serbia, and has a population of around 1.6 million. It is situated in South-Eastern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula, at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. It is one of the oldest cities in Europe and has since ancient times been an important focal point for traffic, an intersection of the roads of Eastern and Western Europe.  Belgrade is one of the oldest cities in Europe, with archeological finds tracing settlements as early as the 6th millennium BC.  Belgrade’s wider city area was the birthplace of the largest prehistoric culture of Europe.  I was quite surprised to read this.  Also, Serbia has been conquered by many groups.  In medieval times, it was in the possession of Byzantine, Frankish, Bulgarian, and Hungarian rulers. In 1521 Belgrade was conquered by the Ottomans and became the seat of the Pashaluk of Belgrade, as the principal city of Ottoman Europe and among the largest European cities. It frequently passed from Ottoman to Austrian rule and remained an Austrian outpost until the breakup of Austria-Hungary in 1918. The united city then became the capital of several incarnations of Yugoslavia, up to 2006, when Serbia became an independent state again.

Couple of cool sites to visit: Kalemegdan Park, St Mark’s, Old Palace, Student’s square, parliament, and the walking area is pretty nice.  A few pictures below:

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