For me WordCamps are always a good reason to travel. Meeting new people and getting to know new places. A trip to Finland for WordCamp Nordic was a great vehicle to also finally meet up with old friends I know from CoWorkingCamp in Turkey.
Even as not all plans about timeing and things to do worked out I had a great week visiting the winter up north in Finland.
After spending about 3 month in Spain for the winter. I wanted to go back heading a bit more north. Taking a look at the WordCamp schedule showed there is a WordCamp in Vienna. A small one but it’s a WordCamp.
Vienna takes pride in having carriages as taxis
So I flew from Barcelona over the Alps to Vienna. What is surprisingly far east. My geographic instinct got a real life update there. This time no WiFi on the plane, because of AirBerlin. But my seat mate is the most interesting of all ever. He is a professional Freestyle Motocross Pilot from South Africa. We are chatting a lot about motorbikes, danger, traveling and who awesome Europe is.
Arriving in Vienna, it feels weird to me that the people speak something quite close to my native language and I can read everything, beside it’s funny wording for some things.
In my hotel, for the next 2 nights, the first thing I do is drinking a glas of tasty tap water. What a joy and a bless that we don’t have to think about getting clean water, without buying it from a shop or even worse.
In the mood for drinking tasty things I meet with parts of the team from required in a (beach) bar. With some vine sitting in the sunshine the chatting about WordPress & Co. for the next 36 h get started. Later on we decided to go for a hunt, for some classic „Wiener Schnitzel“. It’s touristy, but we had to do it. So we end up in a restaurant, with a really funny and for stranger easy to misunderstand waiter.
Next day is camp day. The first time I’m at a WordCamp with just one track and one day. Well prepared with a WordCamp coffee mug and it’s accompanying content I missed the first sessions in favor of chatting with different people in the lobby. The rest of the day we spend with watching sessions and even more chatting about Code and non-Code. The final part of the Camp was a long and fun party.
The next day I was roaming around Vienna where the annual marathon and an bicycle exhibition/show was taking place. I enjoyed what some freestyle riders were able to perform with there bikes. After that show I needed to move from the hotel to an AirB’n’B a bit more outside of the city center. It was an big and old flat where I was staying an an very spacious room and shared the flat for one week with the Austrian owner and a French guy living in Sweden.
We all stay in a Hotel for a couple of days once in a while. But calling a hotel your home is quite unusual. As a Nomad I move my home around regularly. So I made a hotel resort in Turkey my home for six weeks. The hotel was not a random selection. Matthias selected this place well to hold the CoWorkingCamp 2014 close the Antalya, Turkey. Because the event take place in November and the first half of December heading south was great.
The CoWorking Camp is an event where a CoWorking Space is placed inside a hotel for some weeks and you come to stay there for a self selected period. While that time you can work like in a CoWorking Space and meet new people even more intensive, because all administrative things are taken care of.
The people there range from digital nomads over location independent entrepreneurs to curious persons who wanted to see what is new thing is. The variety of nationalities was broad with people from all over Europe, Africa, America and Australia.
Coming from Athens changing the plane in Istanbul I landed in Antalya and got picked up by the Hotel-Shuttle-Service. The first time in my life someone with a name-sign waited for me at the exit of the airport. I liked that a lot. After that I spend one hour driving through the night towards the hotel looking at a country I haven’t been before.
View from my room
Fresh fruits grow inside the hotel
View over the park resort
Arriving at the hotel close to midnight I got to my room. A very very nice room the receptionist sad to me ;-). Like all of the participants I had a room with sea-view and space for two people. My room was even spacious after I asked to remove the crib the next day. Still awake from the travel I started exploring the resort in the darkness. I really like to see the beach right after arriving. I also got a sneak peek of the empty lovely prepared CoWorking Area. As I found out the next day I just saw a small part of the resort. The name says park hotel and that is true.
Time to continue reporting from my stay in Athens. I already spoilered there will be stories about water in this post, so lets start with a good one.
After a week of work I decided to make use of the ocean and go for a dive. The Mediterranean Sea is still nice in October for that. I took the public transport to get to a base outside Athens.
Arriving in a small village I was impressed by the different landscape and the completely with Mares equipment dive base. The people I meet there were professional about diving, equipment, education and also very nice. Making this base a recommendation for serious divers.
I was lucky to get Lilli as my buddy for the first dive. She took some underwater photos and gave them to me. Thanks for that.
Getting from Sofia to Athens was pretty simple and easy. I just took the plane. Used the metro to ride into the center and meet my contact person to get into my AirBnB-Apartment. Even arriving at 11 PM is not a problem. I felt a bit uncivil to get here so late, but the city was still very active and it not unusual to stay up until midnight and even longer.
The next day was a Saturday. So no need to work and a new city to explore. I started by searching for a local SIM-Card. Running around in small streets full with shops I just found souvenirs and clothing.
I ended up in a mini-market asking for it. Because the woman behind the counter was not really able to speak English, a (un)random customer needs to help out. He told me the way to a shop. I started walking. Suddenly a scooter stops next to me, the already helpful man from the mini-market smiling at me, letting me know I should take a seat on the back seat. And so I got a free original greek ride through Athens, of cause without helmet and right through traffic jams. Unloaded in front of the mobile phone store I shortly after was equipped with data and minutes.
View over the sea of houses
The park next to acropolis
First time here, I decided to see the historical parts of the city. The biggest area for that is right in the center, just follow the rest of the tourists. Walking up the hill to the acropolis you get more and more a feeling for the size of this city. It is a white sea of houses all over until the green mountains around it. And there are no cute small white houses with blue roofs between there. Most of them are 4-5 storey high. Not quite cliche.
The big step is done. I left Hamburg, Germany and my life as it was until now. So this is the beginning.
From now on I’ll travel to get to know new people and new places. And there is just one way to go: Forward.
Until now this trip to Sofia feels mostly like every other trip to a WordCamp or conference. I know in the back of my head, that there is no flat waiting for me to return. The flat and a lot of things inside were part of my past, what kept me from going forward. I feel very relaxed and positive about what to come.