Europe Trip/Talks: Recap + Photos

I have returned from my three-week romp around Europe, book-ended with talks at CSSConf EU and WordCamp EU. Here’s a recap along with some photos.

I started writing this from outside a Thai restaurant in Vienna in a Dropbox Paper, and I now write from my usual coffee shop post back in Los Angeles with a fresh install of Gutenberg, at long last!

I returned from my three week Europe trip a few days ago, and I’m so excited about all of the wonderful new people I’ve met and experiences I’ve had. I feel totally refreshed and have renewed excitement for my day-to-day (just have to figure out how to make that last).

On to the recap!

“The Algorithms of CSS” at CSSConf EU, Berlin

Major career milestone here! This (and WordCamp EU, to follow) was my first time speaking at a big international conference, and I did not take it lightly. For about six months, I have been hard at work researching and writing my talk for CSSConf EU, The Algorithms of CSS.

An excellent picture from my new friend and fellow presenter, @hj_chen!

A hot topic, indeed! I’m so, so, so pleased with how it all turned out, and the response was better than I could have imagined. This was by far the largest conference I’d spoken at and my first time presenting a topic that is totally original – my past my talks have more oriented around teaching a technology, and this one was uncharted territory.

Here’s one slide I was particularly excited about – FizzBuzz in CSS! Take that, Reddit.

📸 from @elisabethirg’s tweet!

Perhaps more important than the success of the talk itself, is that I discovered a topic I am itching to explore further and share with the world for, hopefully, years to come: learning Computer Science through the lens of CSS. What form that exploration will take has yet to be determined, but you can be sure this isn’t the end of the conversation. In the mean time, here are my slides and lots of links to research.


After CSSConf, I stayed in Berlin for a few more days to attend JSConf (give them your money – this pair of conferences is 🔥). My good friend from LA met me in Berlin and we traveled together for 8 days by train from Berlin to Prague to Vienna. A few highlights:

Faces on Eggs

This is a pretty minor highlight, but brought me so much joy it had to be included. The hotel in Berlin had little faces drawn on the hard boiled eggs – I almost couldn’t handle it!


Both Berlin and Vienna are incredibly bike-friendly cities, and I love riding bikes. Here is an A+ selfie while biking in Berlin with my friend, Jessie.


Not sorry for the enthusiasm: I also love trains, and European trains are deserving of the all enthusiasm. Here is a photo of the train tracks of the Metro in Prague – please note the marked absence of rats and trash.

The Bone Church in Prague (Kutna Hora)

About an hour’s train ride from Prague there exists a church made of 40,000 human skeletons that was supposedly assembled by a half-blind monk in the 1500s. Need I say more?

Sign over police station in Vienna

Stolen Suitcase

Perhaps I was a little overenthusiastic about trains after all, noteably on the ride from Prague to Vienna. We left our bags for 20 mins while in bar car, and my suitcase was stolen. My valuables were with me, but it was a major bummer.

Lunch @ Steirereck

Both my friend and I are very into food, and it just so happens that one of the world’s best restaurants is in Vienna. We had a 5 course, 4 hour lunch at Steirereck, and it was amazing. Here’s some cheese that blew me away, in particular.

Cakes and Coffee in Wein

Vienna is a sleepy city. Rather, it’s possible we didn’t quite find where the nightlife was, but the cafe culture means coffee and cakes are not difficult to track down. We had plenty.

UX Vienna Meetup

This is a very poor photo, but it says “What’s Up With UX in Slovakia,” the topic for one of the talks at the June UX Vienna meetup I attended. It was great to meet some tech-y locals, and I boldly did an impromptu run-through of The Algorithms of CSS!

New Suitcase!

My H&M plastic bag of replacement clothing wouldn’t do for my upcoming flight to Belgrade, so I purchased a new, hot pink suitcase. I figure that might deter future thieves (though I don’t intend to give them the same opportunity).

Coffee in Belgrade

Vacation was pretty much over once I got to Belgrade as I had a bunch to do to get my workshop for WordCamp EU together. I was pleasantly surprised by Belgrade’s  coffee shop scene! I had two of these Ethiopia V60 pour-overs.

“Let’s Build a Gutenberg Block” at WordCamp EU, Belgrade, Serbia

Another beautifully run conference! WordCamp EU was a blast, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to host a workshop all about building a Gutenberg block. The workshop format was a bit less pressure than a full-on talk, and I had a great time putting together the curriculum and workshop materials.

Thanks to @itswpshoutout for the picture!

I’m pretty sure everyone in the workshop did build a block, which means it was a great success! Here is a big ‘ol checklist for the workshop along with links to the demo files. They should be helpful whether or not you were in Belgrade.

I’ll round this out with another set of what I’m calling “Story Blocks” about Belgrade. I had a ton of fun in Belgrade – the city really resonated with me and one afternoon I had the chance to do a fair amount of exploring:

Splavs i.e. Clubs on the River

Belgrade has some excellent nightlife, and much of it happens on these house-boat clubs on the river. Lots of fun and great DJs.

The Belgrade Fortress

There is a massive fortress from the 1400s in Belgrade – I took a run over to it and found lots and lots of interesting places to explore, including…

Medieval Torture Instruments

This was exactly what it sounds like and it was horrible. It’s not something I would normally seek out, but when in the Belgrade Fortress…

Dino Selfies

Also near the fortress was a park of dinosaurs! I had way too much fun taking selfies will all of them. It made for an amazing Instagram story and, more importantly, removed the torture instruments from my head space.

That’s all I’ve got for now, so good-bye, friend!

P.S. I like these story blocks, so maybe you’ll see more of those in future – here is the source code if you’d like to use them on your own Gutenberg-enabled WordPress blog 💜.