This entry was long overdue. Yes, I know that WordCamp Europe ended just four days ago, but I had not written about the previous WordCamps Online and especially about the previous WordCamp Europe in Berlin and I had that thorn in my side.
Before you start reading, you should know that I am not going to talk much about WordCamp Europe. I will talk more about the people, the community.
What is a WordCamp Europe?
Fernando Tellado explains it much better than me, so why am I going to repeat myself, here it is: WordCamp Europe 2022 – State of the WordPress Business or also in the links at the bottom of the page with the summaries of other attendees.
Another thing is the people who attend WordCamp Europe, just like other WordCamps, but with higher numbers. That’s what I want to talk about and I’m going to tell you about it from my departure to my arrival. Warning, spoiler, it can be a spoiler… and it is 😉
Travel to Porto – Wednesday
I left on Wednesday 1st from Lugo by bus to Coruña, at nine o’clock in the morning. After an hour’s drive, bus back to the airport (10-15 minutes) and departure by plane to Madrid.
After an hour of travel and a new Madrid-Porto flight, I arrive at my destination around 15:30. I’m on the same plane with Alvaro, so we take the subway together. This is where the wonder of the WordCamp begins, we chat, we meet again after several years without coinciding… the WC atmosphere begins little by little.
Don’t ask me why I made the bus-plane-plane trip when from Lugo to Porto by car it takes three and a half hours 🙂
We arrive at the Super Bock Arena, where Álvaro stays, and I continue to the hostel that José Luis had booked. There I meet Francesc who was taking a shower (well, I’ll have to start leaving out some details). I only knew Francesc online and he has been one of those people that you fall luxury as soon as you cross two words with him, for me he has been one of the great discoveries of this WC, a person who exudes confidence and good vibes wherever he goes.
First night – Wednesday
Yes, I’m going to classify the trip in nights instead of days, as they have been as long as each other 😉
After a shower and change of clothes, I have a beer with Jorge and some other members of the Pontevedra community. Then I take an Uber to go to the Codeable dinner-party at Pestana Palácio do Freixo where I had arranged to meet Wajari and José Luis, both guests at the party.
The first encounter was with Chris who was greeting people. A warm embrace and reunion from Berlin, a few hours in Porto and we were already feeling the warm atmosphere that makes these community events so special.
Soon Wajari and José Luis arrived. Although they were next door, they had to go around the entire palace and its immense enclosure to get in, Google maps stuff. Reunion hugs with both of you, who are very special to me for several reasons. With both of them I went to my first WordCamp, also theirs. José Luis was coming to the WordPress Lugo Meetups from Pontevedra and when I went to the WC Pontevedra I stayed at Wajari and Isa’s house. There have been many experiences with both of them and that is why I have a special affection for them.
The location of the party was dreamlike, as well as the whole organization, pinchos, dinner and drinks with DJ.
Here José Luis was starting to get pretty tired and both Wajari and I promised him that we would leave as soon as we finished the drink, although I think it was refilled a few more times by mistake, but this was the fault of the disco lights that fooled us with the content 🙂
Uber back to the hostel and there José Luis discovered that the room was on the third floor and without elevator (he was the one who booked the rooms). We went to bed and slept all 6 of us in the room, even though we had two rooms reserved and the other one was completely empty. Yes, you don’t need to say it, it seems that we are not good with numbers and dividing 6 people in two rooms gives us 6 per room, but it was “more community”😀
We also discovered that we were in the middle of the nightlife area and sleeping with the balcony doors open (believe me, it was necessary) meant that we had the party in the middle of the room.
Second night – Thursday
We started the day tired, of course. At 10 o’clock we left for the event at the Super Bock Arena, as it was Contributor Day.
I started at the plug-in table, with such a good aim that the table was left with no one to run it. So I switched to WordPress TV and there I uploaded my first video, very interesting experience. While uploading a video, Wajari’s computer rebooted and it was impossible to exit the BIOS screen. He was left without a computer, although the next day they managed to fix it.
Also at the table was David, who I believe was the first time we had met in person. I also met Núria, which made me very excited, since we met many times at the arroyo club. You can see the photo of the table in his tweet https://twitter.com/nuriarai/status/1532375862464618498
I don’t know if it was before sitting at the WordPress TV table or after, but this was the day I met Jesús and Vicent in person, which I was very excited about after having seen each other every day at the cafelito for almost two years. It has been a great feeling, we were already fully in the event, in community, it’s all about people, affinities and feelings, with reunions of old acquaintances that we knew from previous events or simply knew each other online.
Here I no longer remember the order in which I met each one, but there were some great encounters, such as Fernando, Jorge, Juan, Carlos, David, Tellado, Mon, Nile, Amieiro, Celi, Nora, Angel Zinsel, Nauhai, Rocio, Ibon, Otero, Manuel, Sveta, Paulo, Maria, Angel, Isa, Jose, Sabela, David, Angel and so many others that will remain pending in this entry. Sorry, but there have been too many people and I may have been with you several times and now it’s slipping my mind.
Some meetings are special, like the vice Fernando, whom I appreciate very much and I think we have a few things in common. Jorge, who is a PERSON, that way, in capital letters and has shown me more than once, starting with that WC years ago in Madrid that accompanied me to the hostel leaving the party so I wouldn’t get lost. Or Juan, a reference of the WordPress community in Galicia, who even if he repeats that the food had a lot of salt, or little that I do not remember, you know that I would eat it anyway 😉
I have also met new people like Julián, Flavia, Piccia, Marta, Juan Valentín or Vero and all those that I don’t even remember their names, nor at this moment would I be able to remember them. That’s too many people for such a short time. But as in past WCs, they are people that you add to your list of friends and that sometimes you end up incorporating as regulars.
After lunch and the final summary of Contributor Day, back to the hostel, shower, change of clothes and on the way to the party for the organizers, speakers, volunteers and sponsors, to which I had been invited. Everything great, great place, luxury party, WC Europe level. At the time of the dances, the XWP people, among many others, were giving it their all.
José Luis could not come to this party because the day had left him a bit tired (and the party the day before). You have to take care of yourself Jose Luis and start attending the WC as an assistant and leave the harder work for the younger ones who are asking us to make way 😉
José Luis was replaced by Vero, Carlos Sobrino had to be insisted on not to be left alone, or something like that, in the end he came as a none none thanks to Juan 🙂
In short, another fantastic night and back to the hostel to endure the party in the square until late hours.
Third night – Friday
And finally we started the WordCamp and I thought I couldn’t take it any longer…
Breakfast at the event, a first round of sponsors to start filling bags and the first talk “The Real Impact of Having Website Performance as a Mindset” by Leo Postovoit (XWP) and when I saw him leave… this guy had been giving it his all the night before at the party. Wonderful, this is also part of the community, the speakers, whatever their level, are with the audience at all times. It’s not an event where superstars arrive late, do their performance, take two pictures with the VIPS and disappear, no, this is different, it’s more human.
I’ve seen enough talks for today, yes, I know it was only one, but I’ll watch the most interesting ones on WordPress TV which I can do and, on the other hand, talking live with people and chatting with sponsors, I can’t do that from home.
At lunchtime, there were perhaps too many crowds, but it was just a matter of delaying it a little, at a “more Spanish” time, and there was no problem.
Something that I found very curious was a moment when I sat at a table in the tent drinking coffee and checking emails on my cell phone. At the table there was a guy who looked at me briefly and continued with his cell phone. After a while he asked me, Carlos Longarela, well, I had seen it on my lanyard so it wasn’t so strange. But when he told me his name rang a bell. He was a recruiter from Idaho (USA and it was his first trip to Europe), with whom I had spoken about four years ago through Zoom. You can see how bad I am at remembering faces and names until I know the person very well (right Nahuai?). He read my name and checked on his Linkedin that it was indeed me. I think it’s great that this kind of coincidences can only happen in an event of this kind.
More chats, pasilleo and end of the first day. Back to the hostel, change and head to the WP Engine party. By the way, although Sabela and Carlos H. had already arrived at the hostel and were in the previously vacant room, we still did not redistribute and we were 6 in one room and two in another, despite being the same size. You know, mathematical stuff.
The WP Engine party was great, but after two hours we had to leave, so we had to look for alternative places and in the end we ended the party in the same square where we had to put up with the noise of the party the previous nights. Since we had to put up with the hubbub, at least be in the hubbub.
Although the atmosphere was a little young for me and some others like Paulo and Maria also commented, in the end between laughter and stories of grandfather onion we had a great evening, which was appreciated in our faces the next morning.
The return to the hostel, in our case, was a matter of two minutes, since we were in the same square.
Fourth night – Saturday
On Saturday I attended the talks by Vicent (“What is the next thing about color contrast?”), Piccia (“Design for conversions: how to be more profitable by putting people first”) and the round table in which Flavia participated (“Building a Sustainable Community through Meetups”). I loved all three, but I found Vicent’s talk masterful in terms of dealing with a dense (and post party in our case) topic and focusing our attention throughout. Singing and bringing to the stage Raffaella Carrá, Rocío Jurado or Rigoberta Bandini. Out of 10, I have to watch the talk again, I think he received one of the longest applause of all the talks.
One last look at the sponsors and see Matt’s appearance with big announcements about multilanguage and something else, although I didn’t understand him very well, I think because of the accent, he must have said something about that it was coming soon or something like that, just like Casares’ question about why PHP 5.6 was still supported I think he said they were going to change it to ASP or something similar 😉
Back to the hostel, a little rest, shower and change of clothes and off to the final party of the WordCamp Europe. You know that what happens at the After Party stays at the After Party, and you have to be there to find out, but I’ll tell you my impression in a minute.
I started the After Party with such tiredness that I thought I was going to leave in half an hour, I continued in the same way, I was outside for a while with Fernando, Paulo, Maria, Francesc and Flavia and little by little they all left, except Flavia and me. The truth is that I thought about leaving, but little by little the party started to get lively, with Wajari being the number one entertainer, he is an artist and so everything was flowing until we reached the end of the party. In summary, one more party that we closed and back to the hostel around 5 o’clock. If you want to know about the after party, you know you have to be there, so don’t miss the one in Pontevedra from September 23rd to 25th or in Europe, the one in Athens from June 8th to 10th.
Travel to Lugo – Sunday
On Sunday we were able to get up a little later, we didn’t have to be at the Super Bock at 9 o’clock like the previous days. We had until 11 o’clock to leave the hostel, although we had to pack. In the end I sent two bags of swag to Pontevedra via Wajari, as I couldn’t fit that much in the suitcase.
We had a quick drink and Wajari drove me to the airport. Farewell to Juan, José Luis, Sabela, Carlos, David, Francesc (before leaving the hostel) and looking forward to seeing them again.
On arrival at the airport, the drop in adrelin, which had been sky-high in recent days, began to show.
In the corridors I meet Vincent and Julian, so I say goodbye to both of them for the second time. After a while I meet Jesús Yesares and once again I say goodbye for the second time. I eat something quick at the Burger King and when I go to sit down for the departure of the plane, I meet Manuel Rodriguez and we had a good time chatting until it was time for boarding.
As I sit on the plane, in the row next to me, I am greeted by Marta, who the night before we had also closed the event and final in the hostel’s square.
I think that from the time the plane left Porto until I fell asleep, not even two minutes must have passed, a situation that I repeated on the flight from Madrid to Coruña.
Upon arrival in Madrid I went down with Marta and as soon as we arrived at the airport, Rocío was there. We talked for a while about the night before (had to be there ;), you know for next time) until he had to board his flight. We continued talking for a few minutes, Marta and I, and we were planning for the next WordCamp in Pontevedra and when I went to the gate of my flight, it was already closed and the last call to board.
What happened from the moment I boarded the plane until I landed in Coruña, I have already narrated.
At the arrival my wife was waiting for me, I told her that my voice was a little hoarser than usual due to puberty, but I don’t think it didn’t work. Return trip by car to Lugo and end of WordCamp Europe for this year.
I could tell you many things about how amazing a WordCamp is in general, about how special a WordCamp Europe is, something I wanted to do when I came back from Berlin and never got around to doing, I think because a WordCamp is not over until you write about it. and deep down I didn’t want it to end.
But I’m not going to tell you anything about all that, just tell you that you have to live it, the people who make it up and organize all this, the attendees, the atmosphere, so many and so many things that it is impossible to capture it in an entry however extensive it may be.
I could write this post a hundred times and tell you different stories, of the day, of the night, of the people, of the event, of the organization, of the ins and outs, of so many things, that the only thing I can really tell you is that you have to live it.
Finally, I would like to tell you about a bad experience with a not so bad ending. On Sunday, Flavia picked up her suitcase and went with her partner to visit a museum and… they were robbed in the car, her MacBook M1 Pro, her iPad Pro 13″ among many other things. A very bad news for the return of the WordCamp.
But Roberto Tuñón (you see, I already forgot to name someone, sorry to all the others I had left) and Nilo created a campaign to raise money for Help Flavia to be able to mitigate a little the irreparable losses of the theft, which by the way if you can I encourage you to participate in it.
Soon the campaign spread through Twitter, Slack channels of various institutions and all kinds of media, reaching its goal within hours and even reached Matt via Twitter thanks to Teresa, who gave him like and also appeared an anonymous donor of 2.000€ 🙂
At the moment the amount raised is more than 4,000€, although as I said, no amount is enough to recover what has been lost. But once again it shows the value of this magnificent community that always supports good causes and that makes me feel very proud.
WordPress is a great free software, but its community is its true value, we are WordPress.
See you in Pontevedra.
Other entries that tell the story of WordCamp Europe better than I can.
- Wajari Velasquez: WordCamp Europe Porto
- Podcast El Arroyo (Fernando and Adrián): Episode 49 – WordCamp Europe. What is a developer like you doing at an event like this?
- Fernando Tellado: WordCamp Europe 2022 – State of the WordPress Business
- Jesús Yesares: WordCamp Europe 2022: The WordPress Macro-Event after the Pandemic
- Javier Casares: WordCamp Europe 2022
- David Pérez: My first WordCamp Europe
- Freelandev (Podcast by Nahuai and Esther): Review of WordCamp Europe 2022
If you want me to add yours too, let me know in the comments.
P.S. The photos in general are not of excellent quality, as I did not bring a camera and took them with my cell phone. Some of them are not mine and so I indicated, from Codeable, Nilo and Wajari’s staff.