VMworld EMEA 2016 Wrap Up

Were you one of the fortunate ones to join us on the incredible tours in beautiful Barcelona during VMworld EMEA? If so, thanks for participating and exploring such a beautiful city with me!

Here’s a quick recap of the week:

  • Monday – We started the week with a bang as we headed out to explore the tastes of the Catalunya region with a walking food and wine tour. This fun experience was sponsored by VMware NSX.
  • Tuesday – It’s hard to visit Barcelona without seeing the majestic Montserrat, which is why we took the trip to this exquisite area. We even got to listen the Boys’ Choir. Thanks to Veeam for making this fantastic day possible.
  • Wednesday – What can be said about a day that takes you to two countries? We began our day in Spain, had lunch in the French Pyrenees, explored more of France, then finished our day back in Spain. What a great day it was, courtesy of the support of VMware NSX.
  • Thursday – The day that wrapped up our week at VMworld allowed us to stroll historic Roman Tarragona. We visited ancient ruins of the stadium, Roman wall, and other sites. We dined on handmade meals made by a local family who still uses wood-fired stoves to prepare some of the best food in the region. Again, an incredible day brought to us thanks to the support of VMware NSX.

    The T-shirts, bags, and other goodies were also made possible by the support of TVP Strategy and VMUG. Without our sponsors—VMware NSX, Veeam, VMUG, and TVP Strategy —these events wouldn’t be possible, so be sure to thank all of them. Also, if you love what Spousetivities is doing and want to see more awareness of the activities in coming years, make sure to share your thoughts with the VMworld Events Team. You can email them using this address for Europe: VMworldEurope2016Registration@vmware-events.com and this address for the US/North America event: VMworld2016Registration@vmware-events.com.

    If you didn’t get to join us, you certainly missed out, but don’t worry, 2017 promises to bring more once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to explore the world! If you want to be the first to know about upcoming Spousetivities tours and events, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and of course, you can find the latest information on my website as well. See you next time!


Do Barcelona in a Whole New Way with Spousetivities

Think you’ve already done Barcelona? Think AGAIN! This year at VMworld Europe, Spousetivities is offering some incredible activities that you may never have the opportunity to do again. Wait, why are you still reading? Go register now!

So you weren’t convinced? That’s OK. Let me see if telling you about some of the tours will get you excited about joining your VMworld attendee in Barcelona.

  • Day 1: Monday, October 17 (https://spousetivities.ticketleap.com/vmworld2016emea/dates/Oct-17-2016_at_0800AM)

    • We will set sail on the Mediterranean for a morning of adventure. This tour will allow you to experience Barcelona like no other tour!

    • Not a water person? No worries, how about a walking tour with wine tasting? Even if you choose to sail in the morning, you can join this activity in the afternoon. Either way, this is a great way to learn your way around the city and get to know the locals.

    • If walking isn’t your thing, you can join a biking tour of the city. This excursion will show you all the city highlights! Don’t worry about being an avid cyclist, this tour only requires that you be in reasonable physical health. There are plenty of stopping points and few hills.

  • Day 2: Tuesday, October 18 (https://spousetivities.ticketleap.com/vmworld2016emea/dates/Oct-18-2016_at_0800AM)

    This amazing day takes you to the incredible Montserrat where you will see the Black Madonna and hear the famous Boys’ Choir. There will also be an opportunity for a small hike and a ride up the mountain on the tram. After a morning to remember, we will venture into the city to enjoy lunch at a quaint local restaurant. Don’t worry, the day isn’t over yet, after lunch, our group will venture to a couple of local wineries to taste some of the local wines. If you attended last year, don’t fret, we are going to new wineries and a new restaurant!

  • Day 3: Wednesday, October 19 (https://spousetivities.ticketleap.com/vmworld2016emea/dates/Oct-19-2016_at_0800AM)

    If you can only join one day, this is it! We will be visiting the French Pyrenees on this incredible tour. Yes, it is a long drive, but you’ll soon forget it once you take in these majestic views! Make sure to dress for the weather (in layers), and be ready for a day you won’t soon forget.

  • Day 4: Thursday, October 20 (https://spousetivities.ticketleap.com/vmworld2016emea/dates/Oct-20-2016_at_0800AM)

    For our final day of activities, we will visit Roman Tarragona & Cistercian Monastery. This is a day rich in history and culture and will not only be a day of exciting photo opportunities, but will include a fantastic lunch and plenty of sights that you can only appreciate in person.

Did I mention that the first 30 guests to register will get a special prize? I forgot? Oh…well, in that case, the first 30 guests to register will receive a swag bag with great items courtesy of our sponsors. Who are the sponsors? Glad you asked! This year, we have VMware NSX, Veeam, TVP Strategy, and VMUG. In addition to the gift bags, the cost of all these tours is reduced by 40% because of their support. Make sure to thank them at their booth, on Twitter, and/or on Facebook. For a final surprise, there will be a major giveaway item for each day of activities. You can win more than once. Each day that you arrive for your tour, you’ll be given a ticket for that day’s prize. During the tour, I’ll draw the winning ticket. If it’s yours, so is the prize! Prizes include but aren’t limited to iPad mini, Kindle Fire, gift cards, and more.

Now, really, what are you waiting for? Register now as space on these incredible adventures is limited and only available on a first come first serve basis. Don’t delay, register today.


Let’s go to Barcelona!

After wrapping up the 8th annual Spousetivities at VMworld US in San Francisco, it is full steam ahead to VMworld EMEA 2015, once again in beautiful Barcelona, Spain! Let’s face it, leaving your partner behind while you head to another weeklong conference doesn’t gain you many points in the relationship. This year, why not bring him or her with you? He or she can check out what Spousetivities has planned for them while you are busy networking and soaking up knowledge at the conference.

Like the US event, Spousetivities will have some goodies to give away for participants. The first 25 to register will get a backpack with great gifts from our sponsors. Who are these sponsors, you ask? This year we can thank VMware NSX for their Gold Sponsorship. Spousetivities is also pleased to thank Brocade, Cisco, VMUG, The Virtualization Practice, EMC Elect, and Thinware for their support of these events.

If that isn’t enough to get you or your sweetie excited, how about one of the following tours available at 40% off the public tour pricing (again, thanks to our amazing sponsors):

  • Montserrat and Wine Country – The group will head for a visit at the impressive Monastery of Montserrat. Most visitors will have the opportunity to hear the famous Boys’ Choir perform (not guaranteed). You will also visit the “Moreneta de Montserrat”, one of the black Madonnas of Europe, and enjoy a light walk to Santa Cova, where the black Madonna is said to have originally been found and rescued. The tour will then depart Montserrat and the group will enjoy a fantastic lunch of local Catalan country cuisine in a traditional restaurant at the base of Montserrat. Lunch will be followed by a private field tour, guided visit and three-product wine and cava tasting at one of the premier, small, boutique wineries of the region.

  • Costa Brava & Medieval Girona – Guests will visit charming fishing villages, local markets, city gardens, and enjoy short walks to secluded beaches and great panoramic lookout points over this Mediterranean paradise. The Girona city tour takes you through the rich history of one of Spain’s most charming, medieval walled cities that has been very well preserved since it was founded by the Romans in the 1st century. On this journey through time, guests will also enjoy a four-course lunch, in a traditional local restaurant, that includes wine, salads, olives, grilled meats and fish dishes.
  • Wines of Catalunya – One cannot visit Spain without getting some insight into their distinctive wine making. Guests will head out for a truly unique and personalized opportunity to enjoy authentic local flavors via food and wine tasting in private, boutique cellars of the Penedès. We will have wine and food all day in a casual and relaxed pace and manner. Guests visit charming, small, boutique wineries where the local, resident wine makers host Spousetivities participants personally and exclusively. A traditional meal of Catalan fare will be served at one of the venues while you enjoy extensive and varied pours of whites, rosés and reserve reds and cavas.
  • Medieval Mountain Village & Panoramic Trails – Guests begin the day of adventure by exploring a village’s winding cobblestone streets and stone houses dating back more than 500 years. With photo opportunities galore, time will still be made for a quaint break for coffee (or tea) and a pastry before more exploring the streets of this medieval town. This is a day of great mountains, excellent views, amazing history and a superb four-course restaurant lunch in a traditional Catalan country restaurant. For those who wish, we will duck out of the village for a great light hike through wooded trails and cliff-top look outs, streams, rivers, waterfalls and spectacular views of deep river canyons and the forested valleys. Non-hikers can relax on a river-view terrace and enjoy the sun, beverages and a book until the others return.

    Don’t wait–register today!


Celebrating Our Global Gold Sponsors

Spousetivities would not be where and what it is today without the generous support of sponsors, including this year’s Global Gold sponsors (in alphabetical order): Brocade, Cisco, VMware NSX, and VMUG. But why does Spousetivities have sponsors? To understand the answer to that question, you need to look at this history of Spousetivities.

Spousetivities originated in 2008, at VMworld in Las Vegas. I decided that I was tired of the typical business trip with my husband, Scott Lowe. He loved having me travel with him, and I loved going. Being there alone, though, was not my favorite thing. Long story short, Spousetivities was born! (The name came from the community and is a shortened version of “spouse activities”.)

As the idea grew, it became apparent that I could no longer keep offering public tours having everyone buy tickets separately. What if someone missed a bus? Or accidentally purchased the wrong tour? There were too many potential issues. Once again, the community supported me and gave me the idea that I find companies (sponsors) willing to not only “talk the talk” but actually “walk the walk” when it comes to creating a family friendly environment and supporting work-life balance.

Because of these incredible companies, Spousetivities has been able to offer activities to the friends, family, and loved ones of those attending VMworld for 8 years. To thank a few of them, this is a spotlight post on our Global Gold sponsors for 2015. Here they are, again in alphabetical order:

  • Please welcome Brocade this year as a fantastic new sponsor of the Spousetivities community. Brocade’s support means that you get to enjoy time out in the wonderful city of San Francisco without breaking the bank.
  • Also welcome Cisco Systems to the family of supporters that faithfully support Spousetivities each year. Cisco’s support has allowed these activities to be offered at reduced cost, while still allowing them to be both exclusive and private (like our wine tour outings this year!).
  • For the second year in a row, VMware NSX is supporting Spousetivities in a big way. As the sponsor of the ever popular “Get to Know You” breakfast, VMware NSX continues to promote a healthy perspective on work/life balance to families.
  • Finally, for the 5th year in a row, the folks at VMUG are continuing their support of Spousetivities. Their support is not only via funding to keep your costs low, but also by providing “behind the scenes” support as well to help enhance the experience of Spousetivities each year. Being community-minded themselves, VMUG understands the need to support the IT community as a whole.

In short, Spousetivities can only do what it does (offer fantastic activities at reasonable prices) thanks to the support of some great sponsors. If you’re traveling to VMworld this year, either as a spouse or as a conference attendee who is bringing your spouse, please take the time to thank Spousetivities sponsors for their commitment and dedication to community, family, and a healthy work-life balance.

Finally, don’t forget to register for Spousetivities before the events sell out!


Spousetivities at VMworld Barcelona

Now that VMworld US 2012 is in the books, it is time to start planning your trip to VMworld EMEA 2012, in beautiful Barcelona, Spain! You know you don’t want to be in the doghouse for heading to Spain without your partner, so check out what Spousetivities has planned for the ones you care about while you are busy soaking up knowledge at the conference.

Like the US event, Spousetivities will have some goodies to give away for participants. In the past, that’s included things like iPads, iPods, Kindles, and other nifty electronic gadgets. If that isn’t enough to get you or your sweetie excited, how about one of the following tours:

  • Barcelona City Tour – Participants of Spousetivities will enjoy a full day of touring the city by private motor coach. This tour boasts panoramic views of Montjuïc Hill, a drive through the posh Eixample community, and a visit to Santa Maria del Mar. This is only a glimpse of the sights this tour will expose our group to on this amazing tour. There will be a stop for lunch during this beautiful tour as well. Lunch, of course, is included in the price.
  • Dali Tour – This is a long tour but well worth the time. After we depart from Marriott, we will enjoy a full day of sightseeing and amazing history. We will see the coastal village of Cadaqués then on to Dali’s chosen place of peace and quiet, Port Lligat. This tour will also take us to Cap de Creus on the eatern point of the mainland Spain. The tour includes tickets to 2 museums we will visit as well as a private guide and private motor coach. Once again, lunch is included so pack your camera and let’s go.
  • Montserrat and Cava Trail – One cannot visit Spain without getting some insight into their distinctive wine making. We will tour Codorniu and their magnificent underground cellars. We will also visit a must see destination of Montserrat Shrine as well as enjoy a fantastic lunch and a stroll at Cava Trail. This is a full day!

These tours are an amazing opportunity that you won’t want to miss. However, there is not a lot of room and the spaces will fill quickly. Don’t wait–register today!


North Sealand Tour at VMworld Spousetivities October 19, 2011

Today’s North Sealand Tour is leaving the Copenhagen Marriott promptly at 9 AM. Please be sure to arrive at the Copenhagen Marriott by 8:45 AM so that we can leave on time. We have a lot of great stuff to see, so we don’t want to get started late!

Note that lunch is not included in the tour price, but we are stopping for lunch as part of the tour schedule. Lunch options were e-mailed to everyone who registered. The restaurant where we are stopping accepts both credit cards and currency (Danish kroner only, please), so please be prepared to pay for your lunch. Again, the lunch is not included as part of your tour price; it’s separate.

I look forward to seeing everyone soon!


Spousetivities Returns to VMworld EMEA

I am delighted to announce that Spousetivities will once again be offered in Copenhagen during the VMworld EMEA events. Those of you familiar with Spousetivities know that there will certainly be plenty to keep you busy. I learned a lot last year so this year is sure to be fantastic!

As we learned last year, it’s cold in Denmark in October! So, all the tours this year are via private bus (with heat) and include an English speaking guide. We will see castles this year, but we will also tour City Hall Square, take a canal tour, and visit Sweden. The best part is that you can participate in all of the activities for around $250 US. Which leads me conveniently into the next thought.

Please take time to thank EMC and The Virtualization Practice for making these events possible! Without great sponsors, we, the spouses and companions, would not be able to enjoy these events and time together.

All of this sounds great, but how in the world do I register, you ask? Well, just visit the registration site and sign up for any or all of the activities listed. Then all you have to do is show up and enjoy your time in Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmo, Sweden.

See you there!


Let the Fun Begin!

I have been working feverishly to finalize arrangements for VMworld Copenhagen Spousetivities. I finally have everything in place! There are a few critical things that everyone needs to know. First, if you have not already registered, you need to do so right away. I only have a certain number of spaces reserved and when they are gone, there will be a fee to participate. Below, you will find a detailed list of what we are doing each day and how many spots remain. I will also list how much the event will be if you register after the free spots are taken.

  • Tuesday – Breakfast at the Planetarium – This will include a wonderful breakfast including croissants, pastries, eggs, bacon, salmon, fruit, juice, coffee, and more! I currently have 5 tickets left for the breakfast. Register soon so that you can take advantage of the wonderful generosity of our sponsors. The cost will be $35 per person after the free tickets are gone so you don’t want to miss out!
  • Tuesday – iMax Movie – This is also at the Planetarium and will be immediately following the breakfast. There will be headphones available for translation. There is also a guided tour of the planetarium and a viewing of a model of the International Space Station! I currently have 8 tickets remaining for this activity so make sure you get registered if you plan to attend! After the free tickets are gone, the cost will be $25 per person for the movie and entrance fee. Of course we all know the movie will be better when the cost is free so don’t hesitate–get registered today!
  • Wednesday – Castle Tour of North Sealand – I have arranged a private tour coach for this event. There is a cost for this but it has been partially offset by our wonderful sponsors! Unlike the general purchase of this tour, we get our own private coach and tour guide. Don’t worry, we will still get back in plenty of time for the party Wednesday night! The tour is about 7 hours and will depart from the Marriott Copenhagen at 10:00 AM. The cost is $50 per person for this tour. You can register and pay here using PayPal. I currently have 17 tickets left for this event!
  • Thursday – Walking Tour – As a final rounding out of our activities, we will enjoy a wonderful walking tour of the city of Copenahgen! I only have 7 tickets left for this activity so register soon if you want to participate. After these 7 tickets are gone, I cannot book anymore unless I get a group of 13-20 more. If another group is added the cost will be $21 per person.

That about covers it! For activities on Wednesday and Thursday, we will meet at the Marriott Copenhagen. For Tuesday’s activities, we will meet at the Planetarium. I will be posting transportation links and weather information soon. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me using the contact information on the About page of this website. I look forward to seeing everyone soon in Denmark!


Copenhagen Update

This is a quick update to let you know where things currently stand for the Copenhagen events. Tuesday is pretty much a set schedule. We will spend about 3 hours at the Planetarium. You can register here for the Planetarium activities and welcome breakfast. I am also organizing a group for Tuesday afternoon that will spend some time walking around the city to see what there is to see. We will return to our hotels in time for the welcome reception for VMworld. If you are interested in participating in this adventure, please e-mail me so I will know about how many to expect. My contact information can be found on the About page of this site.

For Wednesday, I am still trying to get reduced pricing for the tour I am planning. You may look at the details here for this castle tour. If I cannot get discounted pricing by Wednesday of this week, I will send out another message so that you can each sign up for this tour independently. We will all meet that morning so we will be on the same tour. This tour will return in plenty of time for the VMworld Party. We should return by 5:30 PM and the party doesn’t begin until 8:00. You cannot buy companion tickets through me for the party. They must be purchased through the VMworld registration site.

Thursday will begin with a walking tour of Copenhagen. This is a guided tour and will depart at 10:00 AM from the Marriott. We will be divided into two groups as each group cannot exceed 20 people. When registering for this activity, you do not need to register for group one and two, only one or the other, please. The tours are departing at the same time so you can’t do both. You may register here for this event. Once group one is full, registration will close and only group two will be available. Again, you do not need to register for both groups.

Well, that will wrap up our activities for VMworld 2010 Copenhagen. I look forward to meeting all of you! Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions. See you in a couple weeks in Copenhagen!


Registration Now Open For Copenhagen Spousetivites

I am very excited to let everyone know that registration is now open for Copenhagen Spousetivities. If you are traveling with a VMworld attendee and are interested in joining other spouses, friends, and family of attendees, you need to check out these fun events!

Other activities will be added later this week and throughout the weekend. The first events are all free because of the support of our sponsors, EMC, Train Signal, and HyTrust. Make sure you register for the vWife t-shirt! These are always a huge hit for both the Spousetivities participant and the VMworld attendee. Don’t worry if you aren’t a wife, I have t-shirts for you, too! On Tuesday, October 12th, we will be having a “Get-to-know-you” breakfast at the Tycho Brahe Planetarium. Right after breakfast, we will enjoy spending some time watching the movie “Vores kosmiske rejse”. Don’t worry about understanding the film as I have already arranged for the translation headphones for everyone! There will be lots to see and do on Tuesday!

Events for Wednesday and Thursday are in the final planning stages. Please stay tuned for these to be posted. Don’t forget that all participants also get a welcome bag with other free goodies inside! I look forward to seeing everyone in Copenhagen in a few short weeks! Don’t forget to register now!