I finally found time to write down my recap for WordCamp Europe 2023 in Athens.
This time was a bit different for me in many ways. First of all, it was the first time I got the chance to speak at a WordCamp.
It was also the first time I focussed almost entirely on networking instead of attending session after session.
Table of Contents
Arrival in Athens // Thursday
Our flight got rescheduled, so we arrived on Thursday evening (7:30 PM, to be more precise). I was a little disappointed to miss the Contributor Day and the Speaker Dinner because of that. I would have loved to connect with all the other speakers and the volunteers that made this event such a pleasant experience.
Instead of going to any after-party, we decided to use the last hours of the day to hike up to Monte Licabetto, which offered a great view over Athens. Besides the lift being closed during that time, we still enjoyed it.
We enjoyed seeing the sunset and went to a little bar on our way down.
First Conference Day // Friday
I’ve gone to bed early to be as prepared as possible for Friday. I’m usually a night owl, but I got out of bed at 7:00 AM to attend the conference at 8:00 AM – a huge thing for me 😅.
I was joined by my wife and two friends who joined my trip (but used it for sightseeing). The first thing we did was check out Track 1, so I could get an idea of how big this room was before giving my talk later.
We grabbed our T-shirts, and the next step on my to-do list was to find the guy with the handmade Wapuus from the German community. I’ve seen his tweet and immediately knew I would get one no matter what! What can I say? I got one! 😁
I took the time to explore the venue a bit, and then I went straight into networking with all the awesome folks of the WordPress community. I met so many people I only knew from Twitter, and it was a great experience overall.
I spent quite a lot of time in the coffee bar with other like-minded folks from the community. It was great having the time to chat extensively about WordPress product business stuff.
At 3:30 PM, it was time to prepare for my talk. There was a “Speaker Green Room” to calm down and review the presentation. I was nervous knowing that I would soon be on a big stage presenting “Static WordPress” to a bunch of people that might not even have heard about that topic ever before (and that within 15 Minutes).
A special thanks to my speaker assistant, who helped a lot with calming down and brought me to the track on a hidden path. Watching the presentation right before my talk was relieving – I think I would have been way more nervous if I had to give the first talk, but being the second one made it a lot easier.
If you missed the session and you want to get a short introduction on “How to run a static WordPress website”, there you go:
As you may have assumed – I survived my session, and there were a couple of people coming to me after the session, congratulating me and asking questions about Simply Static – I was so happy to get in touch personally with some users of Simply Static!
Afterward, I returned to our apartment, rested a bit, and finally got ready for the Freemius After Party.
Freemius After Party
It was just a 3 minutes walk from my apartment to the bar, easy! It seemed I was a little late as the bar was already filled with wonderful people from the WordPress product community.
I managed to talk to a lot of people I never met before. I was also one of the last people around as the party came to an end 😅 – Huge kudos to Vova and the entire Freemius team for that – it was, without a doubt, the best after-party I’ve ever attended at a WordCamp.
Saturday // Taking it easy
For me, Friday was the most important day at WCEU. So, I’ve decided to give myself a little rest and take things easy on Saturday. I arrived just a minute before 10:00 AM. Just in time for the coffee chat with Michelle Frechette!
We had a little chat about our WordPress origin stories and my experience giving a talk at a WordCamp for the first time. We even managed to do a little video interview for the Post Status community.
After that, I got together with our little nerd group of WordPress product people at the coffee track and spent almost the entire afternoon with them. I even forgot to eat something 😅.
In the late afternoon, I caught up with my wife and friends and finally got something to eat. We are huge fans of street food, so we went to Street Souvlaki, a pretty good food restaurant close to the after-party venue.
To our surprise, they even spoke German, and we had a little chat about how it is for a German woman to be an ex-pat in Greece and the general work culture.
We arrived early to the after-party as we knew it was a tiny space for probably many WP folks. I know it wasn’t perfect. It was too small, getting a drink (even water) was a huge challenge, and a big crowd standing next to a busy main street was a reminder that we could do better and should pick a space that offers something for all of us.
Nevertheless, I had a lot of fun at the after-party, but I was also pretty into clubbing back in the day 😅
For me, it was a great experience. I met many lovely people, connected a lot, and enjoyed the warm weather in Athens. As someone who missed WCEU Porto last year, it was about time to attend again and create new memories with the people that make WordPress what it is – the best open-source community on the planet!
Before going back to Germany, we spent two additional days sightseeing. So if you are more into holiday photos, there you go:
Other WordCamp recaps
If you want to check out some other recaps, I collected a short list of others that I’ve enjoyed: