WordCamp Bilbao 2016 – A WordCamp not like many others

The last two days I attended the first WordCamp in Bilbao, Spain. It was not at all the first WordCamp outside of Germany for me but I still experienced some differences. The first thing was, that I attended only two Sessions. Or at least only two I understood. Because all the other sessions were given in Spanish or Basque, which I both don’t speak 🙂 And that brings me to the first thing I liked about this WordCamp.

A WordCamp truly for the local community

The idea of WordCamps started as something local. We tend to forget this as we attend big ones like WordCamp in London with 600+ and the WordCamp Europe this year with 2200+ attendees. So they are usually very international and it is pretty common that people travel to those WordCamps from all over Europe (or even worldwide).

I had the WordCamp in Bilbao on my list because I wanted to visit a very good friend in this town, while also attending the WordCamp. So as soon as they announced the date, which was not even two months before the WordCamp, I asked if there will be any English talks. Ibon Azkoitia, the lead organizer, reached out to me on Slack and told me that they were planning to have 80% local speakers and 20% foreign. And with “local” they really meant local speakers, so from Bilbao and around. And this also meant some talks in Basque, the local language, which is just a Spanish dialect but a very own language with no connection to any other language.

He then asked me to give him the title of the talk I was planning to give 🙂 I really didn’t mean to give a talk, I just wanted to visit the WordCamp as well as the city and my friend. But he asked so nicely, how could I have say no? 😉

A typical Basque warm up party: The Pintxo Pote

On the Friday before the WordCamp, a group of members of the local WordPress community met in town for a Pintxo Pote. This is something very traditional but I had no idea what it would be. There isn’t even an English Wikipedia article about it. Can you imagine that? 🙂

So apparently the Basque word Pintxo (Spanish: Pincho) – the Basques love the letter combination TX by the way 😉 – means something like small snack. And the word Pote could best be translated as “bar hopping”. So basically a Pintxo Pote is visiting different bars, drinking something together, and trying the small snack every bars offers for quite cheap prices.

The conference day

The program was split into three tracks. of the 26 talks, two where in Basque and three in English (my own one included). So I could only really participate in two other sessions. The first one was from Petya Raykovska and she was talking about “The Remote Agency Toolbox“.

The second English talk was given by Sonja Leix who was sharing her “Lesson Learned from 7 years of freelancing as a WP Designer/Devel“. And even though I still don’t plan to become a freelancer, I learned some good tips on how to deal with clients for example 🙂

I was also giving a talk and have chosen the same topic I already presented in Nuremberg in April, which was “Better Themes with Scalable Vector Graphics – SVG” (slides).

I also tried follow some Spanish talks, but failed miserably 😉 But that’s my own fault. I had two months to learn some Spanish:)

The lunch also was very nice. They ordered some nice lunch boxes for us:

The after party

As for any good WordCamp there has to be an after party. And Bilbao was no difference. Maybe the start time at 11PM was a little later than usual. But it was a very nice evening in a bar next to the river:

Fortunately, there have been many attendees that where pretty good in English and some even spoken German. So I didn’t have to sit there all alone and not talking to anyone 🙂

The Contributor Day

For those of you who visited a WordCamp might now think, that the Contributor Day is not worth mentioning. But you are wrong 🙂

They did not only organize the working groups, but also a little un-conference where attendees of the Contributor Day could suggest some topics they want to present or discuss about. I was also asked if I have a topic and so I decided to update my talk from WordCamp Norrkoeping from last year and give another “Beginner’s Guide to SASS“. The other talks/discussion were in Spanish (and maybe some in Basque), so I couldn’t attend them. After my presentation I was also interviewed, just as all the other speakers from the conference day which were on the contributor day:

And sure enough we also had some good food. As a developer, that’s for sure a lot of pizza:

But they also had some other things and for desert a chocolate pizza! Yes, you read that right. You don’t believe me? See yourself:

BTW: The chocolate pizza was delicious 🙂

Even more WordCamps next year

As I already said in the beginning, this WordCamp was meant to be for the local community. For the next year, the Spanish community already planned 10 WordCamp! As a German community that’s somehow embarrassing, as we were so proud of our two WordCamps we had last year for the first time 🙂

Am I going to visit the WordCamp Bilbao again? Absolutely! Or at least if it doesn’t conflict with any other plans I might have for May 2017 🙂

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Bernhard is a full time web developer who likes to write WordPress plugins in his free time and is an active member of the WP Meetups in Berlin and Potsdam.

2 comments » Write a comment

  1. Thx for your recap. Unfortunately, I couldn’t come although I wanted to. But it’s nice to see that the Spanish Community embraces all the power of WordCamps. I like it that they plan so many local ones. I rather have many local WordCamp than few large ones where you meet the same people. WordCamps are made for the local communities and I would like to see that in DE, too 🙂

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