WordCamp Europe, the catalyst for the travel, was held in Berlin this year and kick-offed the EU 2019 trip. Berlin is a large and beautiful city. The architecture, food, public transportation, and shopping were great. The open squares and beer gardens were plentiful—European cities know how to create large social spaces. There was also a lovely smell throughout the city due to the thousands of linden trees that were in bloom.
We stayed in the southern part of Mitte, the central borough of the city. The location was fantastic. It was easy to walk to all of the attractions and food of central Berlin. Our hotel was next to a U2 station, making it super convenient to get to the WCEU venue and to other districts within the city.
The city is extremely bicycle friendly. The bicyclist… lets just say that pedestrians are third in the hierarchy of owning the sidewalks and streets. 1-bicycles 2-cars 3-pedestrians. It was, however, impressive to see how many people ride their bikes as their primary mode of transportation. It is inspirational.
In dealing with its past, the city doesn’t hide the atrocities that happened in and around the area while under control by the Nazi Party. Rather, it is magnified. There are many markers, monuments, and memorials throughout the city to the memory of those that were taken and/or killed. It is a dramatic reminder that people are people and that we need to push back on anyone in power who divides people based on gender, race, religion, etc.
Sculpture at a Jewish cemetery
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Graffiti on the side of a building
View of Fernehturm outisde of a train station
Sunset over the Spree
One of the train lines at Alexanderplatz station
Fernsehturm broadcasting tower
The Spree through central Berlin
Memorial to the Sinti and Roma of Europe murdered under national socialism
WordCamp Europe 2019 in Berlin confirmed that the feeling I had after my first WordCamp Europe in Belgrade last year wasn’t a fluke – I haven’t been to a more inspiring, caring, inclusive, and thoughtful conference. Or a better conference. I am sure there are others that are great, but there is something about WCEU and I don’t think it is completely due to my rose-colored European vacation glasses.
The venues are well selected. The food has been great. The talks are excellent, and keep getting better!
In addition to the excellent talks I was able to attend, the 80s themed after party that rocked, and contributor day, the biggest takeaway from the event for me were the existing relationships I was able to build on and the new relations that were started. I especially had a good time getting to know a few of the folks at the marketing table during contributor day.
These relationships are what make open source communities so great. They provide support, inspiration, opportunities to collaborate, and accountability.
Tina Turner rocking during the after party. Okay, not really, but still a great show.