Representing Hashrocket at Nordic Ruby this year were Shane Riley, Daniel Ariza, and myself. We hadn't been to Nordic Ruby before or even to Europe. It was definitely the best conference I have been to in a long time and it exceeded my expectations in more ways than one.
If you've only been to the larger conferences, then experiencing the magic of a regional conference is really amazing. It was a single track event so we didn't have to pay too much attention to the schedule or figure out which talk to go see. The quality of the talks was very high and I think that stems from the selection process. They judged the submissions based solely on the title and content of the talk and didn't attach any information about the speakers until they had it significantly narrowed down. That level of unbiased selection is refreshing to see and it certainly payed off.
The talks were thirty minutes each with a thirty minute break in between. There were no keynote speeches but the opening talk from Joseph Wilk felt like it could have been one. His discussion of rhetoric and logical arguments had me searching for things to add to my reading list. The opposite end of the conference program was Steve Klabnik talking about the inconsistencies in Rails and how teaching helps to illuminate areas that need improvement. He presented some interesting ideas on how we can improve the Rails router API and it felt like a much friendlier version of a DHH keynote.
The only weird thing about the whole experience was traveling from the US to Europe to go to a Japanese spa. That said, the venue suited the conference well and although we couldn't really go out and roam Stockholm, we enjoyed the hotel bar and amenities. The fine folks at eLabs even brought their favorite award-winning barista from Goteborg and had her making all the espresso you could drink throughout the event. As a coffee connoisseur I can tell you that her latte art is top notch.