Don’t get me wrong the surroundings are lovely and the team are fun to work with. This year I am staying at the Le Meridien Beach Plaza in Monaco where I last stayed in 2007 when we last hosted DISTREE here.
Most of the Sunday (22nd) was spent on a plane. I like KLM. It’s a simple airline with no pretensions and affordable and the service is very good (not so sure about the food). The staff is very friendly. I checked in online (always do that when I can), dropped off my baggage after making sure that the aisle seat I had booked was an aisle seat. I did the same with Emirates and they swapped airplanes and I ended up in the middle seat on the flight to Kolkata last December. Hated it.
I transited through Schipol which is such a delightful airport to transit through. So well set up and the immigration and checks (between the international flight sector to entering European sector for my flight to Nice) was efficient and friendly (why do immigration officials feel they can’t smile or say hello?). There was free Wi-Fi at the airport and it was fast and efficient and, guess what, friendly too. I tweeted that I was transiting through Schipol and @schipol answered me back within 10 mins. So pleasant to see a friendly corporate social media account that is on the ball.
I barely see Nice except as a transit airport and whatever little I see as I take the bus out to Monaco.
This year the event has moved completely out of the hotels (it used to be hosted in Fairmont and before that the Meridien) into the Grimaldi Forum. It’s a massive set up this year and I am going to get a great deal of walking done (more than usual) since the venue is a 5-10 min walk (depending on your pace) from the hotel and the first evening I did that 6 times already.
The next four days are going to be hectic, 12-14 hour (if I’m lucky) days but with a lot of civilized networking, giggles with the team, some nice food and wine. So it’s not all bad.