Sunday, October 30, 2005

Tallinn, Estonia Trip Review Part 2

Day 2 of our trip to Tallinn comprised of sleeping in since we had stayed out late the night before. I didn't bother calling Jimmy's room since I knew he would still be out and I went and explored the sights on foot and took some pictures while it was still morning:

Tallinn is a very historic and medieval city and it was refreshing to find a lack of commercialization with no signs of McDonalds or a Starbucks. After awhile Jimmy and I went off to explore the Olde Towne part of the city and had a great lunch in a rustic cafe off to one side of a large courtyard area. We then set off to explore some castles that were very old having been built around 1000 A.D.

This particular street sign looks like it could be painful - Ouch!

One of my favorite pictures from the trip:

Pictures of a very old and beautiful church:

For dinner, Jimmy and I headed back to Klafira for some more Russian food because the food and the service was excellent and once again we posed for a picture with our new Estonian friends:

The menu included an interesting caption for ordering Black Beluga Caviar - maybe they just meant to say "Feel like a Czar"????

All in all a great trip, would definately return to Tallinn, Estonia - maybe when it's a bit warmer too!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Tallinn, Estonia Trip Review Part 1

After the Stockholm SES show, Jimmy Furland and I decided to head out to Eastern Europe and experience Tallinn, Estonia. The flight on Saturday afternoon was short and uneventful and the ride into town from TLL airport was extremely short. Tallinn is a very small yet wonderfully quaint and very historic. We checked into the Radisson Hotel right in the center of town and then decided on Russian food for dinner. The hotel concierge suggested Klafira Russian Cuisine and we made our way over by foot. Once inside, the atmosphere was amazing with Russian ornamentation throughout and elaborate colorful costumes worn by the staff. Jimmy ordered Black Beluga Caviar for a starter while I had the chicken noodle soup. Both were fantastic!

While dining, every so often a dance troop would come out to entertain us with accordian music and Russian dancing and the dancers would change costumes with every set:

The main courses were also fantastic, I had a steak and Jimmy had salmon and we also ordered some traditional russian vodka to add to the authentic Russian experience. The staff was very helpful and extremely friendly and after several hours of dining, we finally departed for the evening but not before preserving the memory of our new found friends from Estonia:

What a dining experience! All in all, a great first night in Eastern Europe!

Search Engine Strategies Stockholm Part 4

On my final day in Stockholm, I slept in rather late but did manage to make it to the club lounge just in time for breakfast and got to explore the hotel a little bit more, I rediscovered the gym and hot sauna that I remember using last year during the Stockholm conference and opted for an executive in-room massage to complete the Swedish experience.

I had planned to meet up with Nate Elliot from Jupiter Research and Jimmy Furland to go out that night and we all met up in the hotel lobby around 7 to have dinner at the hotel restaurant - Die Ecke - where the german sausages were superb.

So we started off the night at a nightclub called Hoteles which was a crowded multi-leveled club and proceeded to get the night going. After about an hour or so we began to notice the crowd thinning so Jimmy suggested we head into Stureplan which is the party central point of the city with a lot of well known nightclubs such as Koket, Kharma and Sturecampagniet.

Here I am with Nate Elliott and Jimmy Furland at Sturecampagniet:

Search Engine Strategies Stockholm Part 3

After a late night out with the gang I slept in and then made may way back to the club lounge on the 8th floor for some breakfast. The lounge had a nice balcony which was a much nicer view than the one from my room since even though as a Starwood platinum menber they had upgraded me to a suite, it was on the 1st floor. At 11:00 the view looked like this:

So after finishing coffee and my view, I figured I had better work on my presentation since I was speaking at 1:15.
I was speaking on "Site ECG - Does Your Site Have a Healthy Heartbeat" with Anne Kennedy from Beyond Ink
and Thomas Svensson from Mirago. The presentation went well even though the audience was rather small and we received some intelligent and thought compelling questions on a variety of topics.

After my session I sat in on "Writing for Search Engines" with Chris Sherman from Searchwise and Heather Lloyd-Martin from Successworks International.

So after my long day ;) I joined my fellow speakers in the hotel bar and tried to figure out what to do next and opted to explore the city a bit and have dinner with new found friends that I met during my session
where once again I feasted on Swedish meatballs. :)
A lot of the speakers were leaving in the morning and I had already said my goodbyes to several of the gang so I ended up calling it an early night, at least by SES standards.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Search Engine Strategies Stockholm Part 2

First day of the conference was ok and probably would have been much better had I gotten more sleep, so zombieness aside, I poked my head into a few sessions and joined Mikkel, Jimmy Furland, Martin S, Dave N, Christine Churchill and a few others for lunch. I didn't speak today so I didn't bother throwing a suit on and the highlight of the day was my brief nap but I felt much better afterwards.

For the evening festivities, there was a cocktail mixer put on by Jupiter/Incisive in the exhibit hall (whopping 6 booths!). After that, several of us headed to dinner where I feasted on Toast Skaagen and traditional Swedish Meatballs.

After dinner, three cabs full of conference attendees pulled up to Cafe Opera, a hip and trendy nightclub in downtown Stockholm where Jupiter had given conference attendees access prior to 11:00 p.m. so we didnt have to wait in line.

Once inside, Jimmy Furland and I managed to secure a private table by ordering bottle service and had a couple of bottles of Champagne delivered. Here I am with Danny Sullivan (London), Thomas Bindl (Munich), Jimmy Furland (Stockholm) and Dave Naylor (Leeds):

After awhile Mike Grehan showed up with yet another bottle of Champagne in hand so of course he was invited to sit down - mostly because it was a nice bottle of Moet & Chandon but also because we like him ;) Andrew Goodman stopped by and I spun around on the dancefloor for a bit with Christine Churchill.

Since most of us had to speak the next day, we called it an early night (by our normal standards) and went back home (hotel) by around 2:00 a.m. I guess we'll save the hard charging night for later in the week. When I got back to the hotel, I saw Danny, Thomas, Andrew and Dave in the lobby so I joined in on the gossip and stole one of Danny's donuts. Ok, so now its 3:00 a.m. but at least I dont have to speak until 1:15 p.m. Time for bed...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Search Engine Strategies - Stockholm

Well I've arrived into Stockholm for SES and I'm beginning to get acclimated. So far, I've had a wonderful dinner with friends Jimmy Furland, Thomas Bindle, Mike Grehan, Anne Kennedy and Chris Sherman. Last night we hung out at the lounge at The Sheraton Stockholm and Towers. One of the highlights of the evening was listening to David Naylor (DaveN) strke up a fascinating rendition of "Great Balls O' Fire" on the piano.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Danny Sullivan and Brett Tabke Embrace SPAM

Just returned a few days ago from Ad:Tech and PubCon in London. I couldn't resist the opportunity when I saw all three parties in close proximity so I seized the moment... ;) Who would've thought?