WordCamp Europe 2018 – Preparations (greek style)

My first WordCamp Europe! Hurray!

Wasn’t I excited to attend my first WordCamp Europe? Definitely I was, as a newbie in WordPress and the WordPress Community.

My story with the platform started back in 2015. And, although I am new to this amazing world, I try to be an active member and volunteer as much as possible.

I’ve been an organizer of my hometown’s local meetup along with my friend Evangelos Athanasiadis, for a while now. Evangelos was the person that introduced me to WordPress and opened a door to a beautiful community. At the same time, I have been a member of the organizing team of the first WordCamp of the WordPress Greek Community, WordCamp Athens 2016. After that, the team kept going with WordCamp Athens in 2017. And this year we decided to surprise our community, by WordCamp Thessaloniki 2018. Above all, it’s been 3 amazing years so far. Hopefully, we will keep it like this and even better.

Why WordCamp Europe?

Volunteering @WordCamp Europe 2018

WordCamp Europe 2018, in Belgrade, was an opportunity to offer more to an incredible community. Therefore, we decided that the organizers of meetups and WordCamps in Greece would apply as volunteers. That is to say, it was time to experience this great event altogether.

Since this decision, it has been a happy period. In short, when our names got announced as selected to be volunteering and our mails got the message that we were expecting with so much excitement, it was considered to be party time!

Booking our tickets and arranging our accommodation, spreading the word of WordCamp Europe 2018, wherever we were, arranging meetups inviting Serbian community members to talk about their community and the journey to WordCamp Europe.

And the day came… to leave our country and get in Belgrade.

The journey has just started!

I chose the bus, since the train trip, unfortunately, was not an option at that point. The railways in Greece were under construction. (Too bad cause I really wanted to have this trip by train.) After almost 15 hours of traveling (I left Greece on Saturday 1 pm and got in Belgrade Sunday at 3:30 am), here I am early in the morning, meeting Fotis and Anastasis from Greece and George from Georgia (this is one of my favorite lines).

Meanwhile, Sunday morning, found us a bit sleepy and Fotis working, so we decided to have a brunch. However, it ended up being lunch at Bistro Grad Hometown Food. We walked till that nice place from our apartment and Anastasis showed us a bit around the city. Guess who had their own guide?!

Passing by parks with beautiful sculptures like Tašmajdan Park, Anastasis was talking about history and buildings. When we arrived at Saint Mark’s church, we experienced also a Serbian wedding with many similarities to the greek ones. There was a small traditional orchestra accompanying the bride to the church. We got inside the church that looked minimal comparing to the greek ones. It was, though, very beautiful and spacy. To tell the truth, we saw the whole wedding ceremony. We congratulated the couple and took a little wedding favor with us!

After a delicious meal, we realized we needed some rest and work so we headed back home. Well… I soon left again to see a bit more about Belgrade having the best guide I could ask for, Nemanja. If you need a guide for Belgrade, I’d recommend him. You’d better select a Serbian living in the city.

People used to sit on the laps of the Nicola Tesla statue outside the University of Belgrade Faculty of Electrical Engineering, in order to take pictures. However, I decided to show some respect to the guy and just take a picture of the – so alive – statue. Moreover, I found it really interesting that student parties might keep up until the morning in the basement of the university at KST – Klub Studenata Tehnike. On the other hand, the sculptures outside the National Assembly of Serbia did make an impact on me, but I had to take a picture of this bearded guy Nikola Pašić, so I could make fun of my friend and colleague Takis regarding who did it better!

Afternoons can be fun in Belgrade

Coffee was necessary at Kafeterija, which according to my guide makes the best coffee in Belgrade, and then we passed by Manufactura with the red umbrellas hanging over us to get walking around the Kalemegdan fortress and the park that surrounds it, (full of people walking, enjoying the view, concerts, art and photography exhibitions…) was one of the most awesome times ever, and the view of Sava river was just breathtaking.

However, among the beauty of the city center of Belgrade, there lies a mall (a monster of modern architecture). It’s ruining the feeling that you are a time traveler due to the amazing buildings and the history of this place. Certainly, this mall does not belong here. Definitely, it doesn’t fit…

In addition, the available time to walk around was a bit limited, as we all felt hungry and needed to grab some dinner. Anastasis, Fotis, George, Nemanja, and I met at Central Square, just next to the offices of GoDaddy. Eventually, I found out that this place was about to become our home for the coming days.

Are you hungry?

The company was lead to Skadarlija, where we realized WordCampers from all around the world have started gathering. Ivana, Taco, Milan, Andrea, Remkus, Bjørn were added to the company. That was a great multicultural gathering! Lots of great Serbian specialties and rakija made by plum, while Yoast, thankfully, took care of the bill!

(to be continued…)

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