CEE MVP Open Days 2014 Review

Hello, I am back home from CEE MVP Open Days 2014. I took my camera with me and here is a photo review of the event.

TLDR: The event location was perceived as a really remote one. It took 9 hour train ride north of Moscow and an one hour bus ride into the forests of Yaroslavl oblast. Anything else (hotel, food and evnt content) was awesome. Kudos to the MVP Program Team!

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Travel

I took a 2 hour flight to Moscow, then a 9 hour train to Rybinsk. The time it took to attend this event is comparable to the trip to MVP Summit, which takes place in Seattle, USA :)

Some MVPs never traveled by train this far before. So far so you have to make a bed and hibernate during the transit. Urm.. sounds like science fiction - like traveling into neighboring galaxies

Okay, we arrived at Rybinsk early morning. Weather was not collaborating, but it was still nice.

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The hotel is located deep inside of a pine forest and when you take off the bus, the first thing to notice is how clean is the air around you.
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Hotel check-in
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Location

The resort area is huge and guest houses are scattered trough the forest.
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There are a lot of navigation signs to help you not to lost.
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And entire MVP lead as a last resort option :)
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I had no problem finding my house, which I was sharing with two other MVPs. We did not have any problems finding place for our stuff, because Microsoft paid for this:
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Mercure Koprino Bay Hotel is located on banks of Rybinsk reservoir and locals call it a sea.
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Finaly, some sunlight... Or is it just MVPs emit a shine.
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Sessions

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Honestly, I was prepared to be overflown with marketing and had some plans to skip some of the sessions in favour of sleeping in the house (I did not get enough sleep in the train and was sleepy all day). But I was totally wrong.

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As a result I attended all the sessions I visited were well worth attending!

Ivan Padabed was talking about SSO stuff: 14

Windows Phone Emulator hacks with Catalin Gheorghiu
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Growing blog audience with Vadim Sterkin:
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The art of stage presence with Andrey Beshkov:
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And Dmitry Sotnikov had two sessions — setting up a company in the US and how to measure SaaS performance:

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Unfortunately I was not able to attend many other sessions, as they were running in parallel, but I am sure they were worth paying attention too.

Networking

There is a Russian saying, which roughly translates as "Do not have a hundred of roubles, but do have a hundred of friends". At CEE Open Days we had a lot of opportunities to make new friends.

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The Microsoft MVP Support team has arranged a Speed Daiting. And dating is considered to be easier with help of a few glasess of sparkling vine :)
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Guys had lots of fun in the process:

Besides that, troughout the event everyone had an opportunity to have some chat with peers during lunches and coffee breaks:

Entertainment

We had nice evening after day full of sessions. Microsoft paid for more food and drinks we could consume. Those who are into spirits were not disappointed either. The red fish was cooked very good and other dishes tasty as well. Sorry, I was not taking any photos during lunches and the dinner.

The fireworks show concluded the official day. It was not quite dark for fireworks though, at 11pm we had pretty light sky, and I was not able to take anything impressive, so "please enjoy" this one, with exposure turned few stops down to make sky darker:

Bus tour to Rybinsk

The city is just 35km away from hotel and ont the second day we had a guided tour there. The city takes both banks of Volga river. I think the city could have been maintained a bit better, but anyway, the river and guide's narration made the tour worthwhile. Here are some photos I took during the tour.

Oshanin Oshanin

Burlak Burlak

I hope you enjoyed the review, please leave your comments!