Eight days I arrived in Berlin in order to attend WordCamp Europe 2019 in Berlin. This annual event is one of the biggest events in the WordPress calendar and is attended by many important people in the industry.
I unfortunately missed WordCamp Europe 2018 in Belgrade. From what others have said, it was a fantastic event, but I did not look into booking flights early enough. When I did check flights, it was going to cost me several hundred pounds to get the two flights required to attend. When I took that into consideration, and the subsequent cost of accomodation and spending money, I opted out.
I did not want to make the same mistake this year so booked up a few months ago.
This was my third trip to Berlin, having previously been in 2005 and 2007. It's a fantastic city that is full of history. I highly recommend visiting if you have never been.
The Glorious City of Berlin
My journey started the day before the event with a scheduled flight time of 7am.
The flight was delayed an hour. Simon and Colm, who were coming from Dublin, were delayed an hour too. This meant we still arrived at the same time.
Simon and Colm are doing really well with their Commerce Gurus and Create & Code WordPress theme businesses. I met them at my first WordCamp Europe in Seville in 2015 and have gone to WordPress events with them ever since.
We stayed at an AirBNB apartment in the Neukölln area of Berlin. It's a great part of Berlin that is full of restaurants, cafes, and trendy bars. Lots of students and artists live there.
It was a practical location as we were only a 20 minute walk to the conference venue at the Estrel Hotel and Congress Center (which is apparently the largest hotel in Germany).
We hung around Neukölln on the first day. The weather was amazing so we enjoyed walking around and chilling out.
As a vegetarian, I was impressed by how well restaurants and cafes cater towards veggies and vegans in Berlin. It made my life a lot easier.
I had a few veggie kebabs over the trip; something which I do not normally have as few kebab shops in the UK accomodate vegetarians.
I would have liked to have revisited some Berlin landmarks again, but we did not really have too much time as the days at the conference are busy.
After the first day of the conference we caught up with friends at a party on the river which was hosted by WP Engine. Me and Colm were lucky enough to chat to WP Bakery Page Builder (Visual Composer) creator Michael Makijenko at the party.
We did not eat until midnight so we were back late; however it was a great night out.
I gave up alcohol a year ago as I was diagnosed with GERD. Due to this, this was the first WordCamp event which I attended in which I did not have any alcohol.
I do not miss alcohol at all and it does not prevent me from enjoying myself, however I must admit you do experience things such as after parties a little differently when everyone else is drunk and you're completely sober.
At the Conference
The venue was fantastic. It was big, airy, and easy to get around.
Coffee and water were present throughout the conference centre, though you did have to wait to set times to get snacks etc. The sheer size of the venue also meant that whilst there were around 2,500 or so people there, it never felt cramped.
You guys should know by now that I am far from productive at conferences. A lot of people go to these things with their schedule all planned. In contrast, I just walk around and talk to people and have a good time. There are always good people who attend WordCamps so it is great to walk about and chat to people at booths about their products.
Over the years I have made a lot of friends at WordCamps, so it is always good to catch up with them.
Every WordCamp event has talks from experienced WordPress users, however I spent nearly all my time in the main hall chatting to people.
Nothing newsbreaking was announced during the talk, but it did make clear what direction WordPress are going with it over the next few years.
Whilst I can see the benefit of developing Gutenberg more, it is clear the product is years behind other drag and drop page builders on the market.
I managed to catch up with a lot of people I met in previous years, however there were many people I missed. The size of the event means that there are always people you miss, despite hoping to meet up.
The After Party
The after party was held in the same venue as the conference. We were only there a few hours but enjoyed it whilst we were there.
A few days after the event the organisers published an apology about the after party.
One of the issues they raised was the fact that many people, including us, were not allowed into the event as it was full. We had to wait around 30 minutes to get in. We also did not get any drinks tokens as they had all been given out before 9.
Still, it is hard to complain about these things. Yes, there were a few things that could have been handled better, but on the whole the event was a huge success.
We stayed at the after party a few hours. The main room was too loud to talk in and outside there were no chairs, so we went to a bar at 11 so we could sit and relax and chat.
By the sounds of it, those that stayed had a blast.
Berlin was a great trip. I managed to catch up with a lot of friends and meet many new interesting people. I am glad I made the effort to go to this year's event.
WordCamp Europe 2020 will be hosted in Porto, Portgual. I have never visited Portugal so this is a trip I do not want to miss.
I hope you have enjoyed this quick recap of WordCamp Berlin.
The venue was great, the weather was fantastic, and for the most part, everything ran smoothly. Kudos to everyone who organised the event.
Thanks for reading.