WordCamp Zaragoza 2024 – Recap
So, 2024 kicked off, and as mentioned before, WordCamps are becoming more and more present worldwide. To start this year, for the first time ever, GreenGeeks decided to sponsor a WordCamp in Europe! And why not start is Zaragoza, Spain?
It was a WordCamp of firsts, no doubt, and it was just a fantastic one. Read along!
Getting to the Venue
The venue is located in downtown Zaragoza, just off the train station (Las Delicias Train Station) in a building called Etopia (not to be confused with Ethiopia like many of us did).
Etopia is a center for the arts, technology, science, and contemporary society. Once again, I like how organizers choose their venues, and this one was more than perfect. Centric, easy to get, has great room for sponsors, and good vibes in general.
Getting to Zaragoza was a bit difficult because Zaragoza is just at the border of what could be the beginning of the northeastern region of Spain. So, it was either Madrid or Barcelona the natural choice to enter, and then take a train/car to the venue.
Needless to say, getting there was hard, but getting around Europe itself is quite easy.
Zaragoza, is the former royal city of the Aragon Kingdom, who was the first European ruler of the city after the Mutism’s ruled in Spain for centuries. It lies in the Ebro river, which is a very important river within Spain and the city is beautiful to stroll, eat and hang out.
The venue, like I said, was a perfect distance from everything and we were good to go.
As usual, I arrived a few days before to scope out the venue to see the logistics of setting things up. As this was the first WordCamp we held in Europe, it was important for me to know the place beforehand to avoid surprises.
Me and Selena Salustri, who came to Italy to her first WordCamp in Spain and a dear friend of mine being just an awesome person, we met in the train station in order to go to the venue when something I hadn’t seen in 20 years appeared.
I mean, I was not expecting that one – no-one was. The organizers later said it hand’t snowed in Zaragoza in many, many years. It was magical at first, but then I remembered how much Canadians disliked it. I wasn’t prepared for it, had left my winter coat at the hotel. I couldn’t get to it and my shoes were obviously not winter ones.
So, there I was, chilling cold, with feet wet. Did I mention it was cold?
Needless to say, we got to the venue and then we went to the speaker/sponsor party which was at this restaurant called Aura, which was overlooking the Ebro river.
The view was fantastic because you could see the Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar from afar, which is one of the landmarks of Zaragoza.
The party was great, I was pleased to see many of the friends I have known from the Spanish community that I’ve met in WordCamp Europe, such as Ohia, who unfortunately didn’t make it to WordCamp Europe last year.
We caught up, had food and drinks, and things were about to warm up, as they do sometimes at these parties. Eventually, it was time to go home because there was a big day tomorrow.
The next day, it was time to get things going. I had my swag ready and the first thing I noticed was that it was still cold. It wasn’t as bad as the day before, but still cold, and I soon realized that it was also cold at the venue.
It turned out that the heating system was broken, and the company couldn’t fix it the day before since it snowed and the machine that fixes it couldn’t be exposed to water, etcetera, etcetera.
Thus, this was bar none the coldest WordCamp I had to attend.
No jackets were taken off during the entire Camp. It was ok, I mean I am pretty resilient to cold (was wearing a shirt and hoodie when it was snowing) so I was able to withstand it. Attendees were not to successful and you could see they were cold.
The organizers where aghast about the situation, but I just think these things happen. They are out of one’s reach and you have to make the best out of this.
Our swag, as usual, stunning, great and for the very first time in a very long time, we ran out of it. All of it!! It was such a great feeling.
It was also a great feeling of having people ask about us, because well, since we’re in Europe, not many of the attendees knew us, or had seen us before. So, it was a refreshing thing, the organizers were thrilled at having new sponsors tag along.
A couple of the things I noticed from the Spanish community is that one, they do by far the most camps out of ANY country in the world right now (maybe the US beats them?). And two, they are a very, very, very tight community in the sense of unity and good spirit.
The talks? I went to one, and it was a workshop by Carlos Diaz, who is from Madrid I believe. The workshop was about Google Tag Manager.
Great guy, great talk. I was interested in this one because I work a lot with programmatic ads, and knowing Google-talk as a developer is quite useful.
Last day of the Camp, and the following day is Sunday. No waking up early, no rushing to the WordCamp, you would think it is time to party hard, right? Of course you are.
Although it didn’t seem like that at the beginning, WordCamps and its parties can be unpredictable. One minute you are in a museum eating fruit and you end up in a karaoke 5 hours later.
This was no exception.
The afterparty was at the venue, with free, unlimited beer (take note organizers!!) until 9:30PM when we were kicked out. People scattered and they went who knows where.
Me and Selena though, we made friends with the organizers from WordCamp Torrelodones, and they told us they were going to eat at a bar. So I said, alright let’s go.
When I arrived there, what a surprise. They were ALL there, plus other organizers from other parts of Spain, and we were at this authentic Spanish bar where they served real, homemade Spanish food.
The place was small, but the food was out of this world. So we ate, drank, and had a blast. The next thing I know, I was having a blast with the crew from Torrelodones, Jaime Garmar and Ana Cirujano.
I had a great time as it was a great party. And man, what a great WordCamp this was. One of firsts – snow, trains, Spain, new people, but that same vibe of community, friendship, knowledge and just good old WordPress.
Until next time!