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2016/06/01

PHPSrbija Conference 2016 review

This past weekend I was invited to speak at PHP Srbija Conference 2016 which was held in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia in the south-east of Europe.

I feared that my departure from Brussels Airport was going to take up a lot of time since the terrorist bombing on March 22, but going through the additional security measures went very smoothly.
Arrived at Brussels Airport well ahead of departure time for #phpsrbija
So, I ended up in "the Loft" business lounge on terminal A where I could catch up on some email and do some work before my flight left for Zurich.
Made it to “the Loft” lounge at Brussels Airport. Let’s get some work done! #IWorkAnywhere #DigitalNomad
This StarAlliance business lounge offers soups, bread and hot snacks along with a variety of drinks. So while waiting for your flight you can relax in the very comfortable sofa's (see picture), have a desk-like table for meals or work, use the sleeping pods or take a shower. I decided to have my coffee and a warm snack before take-off.

At the gate I got a pleasant surprise as I was upgraded to business class, making my trip to Zurich very comfortable.
Just got upgraded to @FlySWISS Business Class! W00t! #travelmagic #phpsrb2016
The flight from BRU to ZRH was quick and uneventful. Making the connection in Zurich was without stress as my flight to Belgrade was delayed. But Zurich is a very nice airport with lots of shops and bars, so instead of heading to the business lounge I ended up wondering around from shop to shop.

At my arrival at Nikola Tesla Airport Belgrade I was welcomed by Milan Popović, one of the 3 organizers of the conference. Milan is a very passionate guy who made PHP Srbija to what it is today.

Awesome reception by @komita1981 as a great start for #phpsrb2016
Before we got to the hotel, we first went for dinner. The other two organizers Aco Gagic and Nikola Poša, a couple of volunteers, Phil Sturgeon and Chris Hartjes were already there and had completed their meals. Milan and I joined the table and got extras. The food was awesome and made me forget I had traveled the bigger part of the day. That night, I slept immediately after we arrived at the hotel.
It's pre #phpsrb16 with @grmpyprogrammer @philsturgeon @DragonBe @nikolaposa @komita1981 @AcoGagic @LDusan

The day before the conference, Milan and Nikola took us on a tour at Belgrade Fortress, a beautiful piece of European history that is kept well preserved against the evils of time. If you visit Belgrade, you should visit this place, with perfect view over the Sava and Danube as it was build at their juncture. The visit was followed by a "small" lunch offered by the crew where we catched up with my good friend and fellow ninja turtle Rafael Dohms.

Lunch time! #phpsrb2016
In the evening we were joined by Ciaran McNulty when we went out for drinks and food. I've come to realize that "lots of meat" is just a simple meal in Serbia.

Just a bit of meat

Conference Day 1! Chris Hartjes was opening keynote and presented his best talk I've seen so far. Was it because of the great food or the warm welcome of the Serbian community, I leave that up to your immagination, but Chris flawlessly presented his keynote talk "An oral history of how I became Grumpy". The rest of the day was filled by Sebastian Bergmann, Rafael DohmsCiaran McNulty, Derick Rethans and Phil Sturgeon.


Conference Day 2: Again a day filled with awesome talks by Rafael Dohms, Marco Pivetta, Michelangelo van Dam (me), a dual talk by Sebastian Bergmann and Ciaran McNulty to be closed off by Gojko Adzic who presented an amazing "The future of test automation" closing keynote.


Again, I would like to thank the organizers Aco GagicMilan Popović and Nikola Poša of #PHPSrb16 for going way beyond expectations. You are awesome hosts and it was my privilege being part of this amazing event and taking home so many wonderful experiences.

I can recommend PHPSrbija Conference to every speaker!

It was hard to say goodbye to the good friends I made at this conference, but every beginning has to have an end. So on Monday I started my way back home. But this time it was a bit more eventful as I had hoped for. Flights were delayed because of bad weather in Western Europe and once I arrived back in Belgium, I ended up without normal public transportation because of strikes. In the end, I litterly had to walk the last mile back home. But I made it safe and sound. This little setback was nothing compared to the great conference I had in Serbia. Can't wait for next year!