I just flew in from Dublin, and boy are my arms tired!
Adam and I just got back from two weeks in Europe, most of which was spent in the Google office in Dublin. The Dublin office is completely fascinating (for a language geek like me) because it's very international and anywhere you wander in the office you can hear people speaking to each other in French, German, Turkish, Swedish (often at the same time!)... We've been taking advantage of their international expertise and spent the last couple weeks working to improve our webmaster communication efforts outside the sphere of just the USA or the English-speaking market.
So the single biggest thing that struck me upon arrival in Dublin was (and you're gonna laugh): there are no bugs! I'd forgotten from my time in England that there are no screens on the doors or windows there. You can leave them all open—even when it's dark out, and the lights are on inside—and no bugs come in! It's amazing! I have no idea why this is the case, but it's so.
Actually Ireland reminded me a lot of England in some ways. The driving on the left, of course; but also the styling of their street signs, the storefronts, the architecture of their houses. I was trying to describe what makes the buildings different from in the US, and the best I could come up with (aside from all that classic red-orange brick) is that the building-fronts are very flat.
The neighborhood in which the Google office is located used to be not-so-desirable, but is undergoing a rejuvenation (at least, according to my cab driver). Observe all the cranes:
I did do a day of touristing around Dublin [edit: details here], but most of my time was spent in the office at breakneck pace: back-to-back meetings most days, giving presentations, talking one-on-one with people, even answering Q&A on a panel at a conference. It was a fairly overwhelming couple weeks, but definitely worth it. Meeting all of the international Googlers who were there was not only a pleasure (one of them is a fellow Rubik's Cube enthusiast!), but gave me a new perspective on the importance (for Google) of building our international presence. Now my challenge is to synthesize all the information I whirlwinded through and to bring it back in a useful form to my colleagues stateside.