furtech: (Eurofurence)
Finally!

I finished packing and eating (read: stuffing into me) the last of the fruit and snacks from the trip and wandering over to the train station. I think one reason this trip felt so relaxing is that I planned for extra days to arrive and leave, so there was no frantic rushing around. Best vacation I've had in years and one of the first I can remember where I actually got back home feeling refreshed.

returnflight

The flight back was wonderful: I lucked out by having an empty seat next to me, so I could spread out my stuff and really enjoy the trip. As you can see above, I had everything I needed for a twelve hour flight: a great book (the Wool Omnibus), tunes (my ancient iPod) and snacks galore.
furtech: (Eurofurence)
Sunday is wind-down day: there are no panels, people are checking out...very quiet after the wildness of Saturday with the Pawpet Show, the big dance, Panels.

EF2013Sunday
EF2013Sunday

Sunday is also a great day to finally get a chance to slack out and talk with people. I love this low-key day. In previous years I've gone to the zoo, explored the city, visited Kaiserfest.

For the first time I joined the big expedition to the Schnitzel Temple! This is supposed to be the best schnitzel in town and a large group makes a trek there on Sunday for lunch. Schnitzel Temple serves a 1kg (2.2lbs) schnitzel that-- if you finishi it and the sides-- gets your picture on the wall. I was amused by the several dogs that were on the wall: did they eat an entire schnitzel to get this honor? Very amused.

The dead dog party was well-attended and, again, a fine time to sit back and catch up with friends.
furtech: (Eurofurence)
Saturday is the big day of the con: art show closes out; Pawpet Show; Big Dance (the one that goes strong until after dawn Sunday).

ef2013Sunday
Full Flickr Set Here

The Pawpet Show: End Tide
Once again this was a monumental effort resulting in a spectacular show. The guests of honor were suitably impressed by the result as well (which was much appreciated by the people behind the show, that's for sure!). As I've said, seeing one's creation brought to life by skilled puppeteering is the big moment for me. Congratulations to the cast and crew of End Tide!

[livejournal.com profile] tioh has a nice set of pictures of the actual show . End Tide was a story about the seas around Hawaii, industrial espionage and guns.  Oh, and exploding seaweed.

This was the most fully produced show yet, featuring an original soundtrack by Fox Amoore. The music was sweeping and beautiful. I highly recommend buying it (from the above link).

Saturday was also a day of many panels: I tried to go to every panel run by the GoH's, Andy Heath and Warrick Brownlow-Pike. They are two of the people behind the rauncy British comedy show, Mongrels. They were able to talk the BBC into letting them bring original puppets to the convention! I have long-admired the design and smooth mechanics of these characters and to see them up close-- let alone handle them-- was quite an experience. More on them in another post...


Saturday night after the Show is the best night of the con.  The con staff-- who is most of the Pawpetshow as well-- can let out a huge sigh of relief and finally relax a little.  People are at their goofiest.  Interesting conversations abound. The next time you check your watch, it's likely to be after 4am...

As before, I enjoyed hanging out and chatting with everyone well into the wee hours of Sunday. I barely managed to get to bed before the sunrise.
furtech: (Eurofurence)
This was my second year of the EF Snack Exchange. Outside of the Pawpet Show, this is easily my favorite event. People are encouraged to bring their favorite snacks (or even just weird food) from their country. There is an amazing amount of variety: you get a good idea about how many different countries are represented at the convention!

ef2013snackexchange
Fully Annotated Flickr Set Here

This year I brought Skittles, XXX-hot Cheetos, Pop-rocks and Butterfingers. Next year I will be earlier and more organized (instead of just throwing the food out in any available space! Embarrassingly sloppy!).

The Finns win again for having the least-palatable snacks: Pantteri and its nastier brother, Leijona. These are bitter-licorice "treats". When I asked what flavor it was, he simply replied, "Road". And yes- it tasted like what I imagine licking a freshly tarred street would be like. He was kind enough to give me the leftovers so I could show my friends back in the states. He also brought a bottle of the pure element that is one of the main ingredients of these candies: Ammonium Chloride. I dipped a finger and tried it this year (wasn't brave enough last year): it tastes like what I imagine licking a dirty cat box would taste like. The Finns have a good sense of humor about all this and I love them for that.

It was interesting to compare snacks made in different countries. For instance, American Skittles are distinctly different from British Skittles (American skittles are intensely sweet, while the British version is more pleasantly sweet).

There were cookies galore (mostly wonderful) and some new-comers: dates and treats from Saudi Arabia (omg dates) and canned Dolma.

The Italians (or were they Hungarians? I need to take better notes) were my favorite: rich, sharp cheeses and salamis. He served the cheese (kind of like an aged Parmesan) with a dollop of honey. Incredible. He also brought a jar of a home-made cabbage-ish-something. Despite it's Kim-chee appearance, it was mild and almost (but not really) sweet. I really liked this. I think his mother made it...

The photos in the set are annotated or have cards identifying them, so take a closer look!

The Austrians brought a bottle of a beerenauslese wine that was -very- nice. They also pointed me to the grocery store across the street where they bought it. I went over and found the same winery also makes a trockenbeerenauslese that I bought and brought home (can't wait to try it!).
furtech: (Eurofurence)
On Friday the convention was in full-cry: people and costumes everywhere. Friday was the day of the International Snack Exchange: one of my favorite events of the con (and one that merits its own post).

ef2013friday
Full Flickr Set Here

We had dinner at a nearby Hungarian restaurant. I've noticed that ethnic restaurants evolve to fit their host countries. This Hungarian restaurant (which got good reviews) had a decidly Tuetonic styling to it. And the food was as good as the reviews (very).

Today was also the day of the fursuit parade. This year was less-organized than in past years where there was a distinct path, line of costumers and beginning/end. This route was longer and had cut-offs, so costumers were all over the place (and security scrambled admirably to do their work). Apparently the Mayor came out to meet the 'suiters and extol the city's love for the convention and the furries. The police even called out extra forces...to protect the costumers! So many citizens had turned out to see the spectacle that the police had to use crowd control to direct traffic and keep the parade on-track. As I said-- I'll miss Magdeburg!
furtech: (Eurofurence)
Wednesday was opening ceremonies: the con is official! Before that happened, though, I took a walk to the mall across the street and bought more stuff. Saw a beautiful English (Rough) Collie- her owner was quick to point out that English collies are smaller than their American counterparts. Very cute: almost mid-way between a Shetland Sheepdog and a (American) Rough Collie.

efweds
Full Flickr Set Here

Back at the hotel, things were gearing up and more people arrived. I hung out in the Pawpet Show backstage area and generally tried to stay out of the way as I watched the crew made silk out of sow's ears.

Opening Ceremony was fun: leis were generously handed out to all-comers. Some found creative ways to make use of the extras...

That night I watched an amazing spectacle: the last rehearsal for the Pawpet Show, "End Tide". As I've come to enjoy: I love watching things I've made be brought to life on-stage. Definitely a highlight of the convention for me.

I am in awe of this crew: on top of big convention duties (virtually all of them had committee-level positions), they do a last rehearsal on Wednesday night. This set a new record-- ending after 8am Thursday. Yes-- they rehearse all night, catch a quick nap and then they resume doing their convention duties. Such a Herculean effort!
furtech: (apache-r0ndo)
My flight from SFO to LHJ was blissfully uneventful. I had the Wool Omnibus on my kindle (along with other great books), an iPod filled with songs and audio books and a seat near the restrooms. I read two chapters of the Wool Omnibus, then promptly fell asleep for five hours.

Arriving in Frankfurt Airport was like a homecoming. Have I mentioned I love Germany? I'm still puzzled as to why so many people assume one only visits Germany for business...they were genuinely surprised to hear it was for a vacation...Fresh baked breads, pretzels, and so much efficiency.

EF 2013 SFO to LHJ collage

Full Flickr Set Here

I got to Magdeburg proper in no time at all and checked into the hotel. I got lucky again: a handicap room. Lucky because just before the trip I'd wrecked my leg, so these facilities were actually a boon for me.

It's a shame the convention is moving to Berlin. I have grown to like Magdeburg quite a lot: it's a beautiful city, on a river, with a decent zoo. The Ottokaiserfest is the best RenFaire I've ever gone to (open at night!) when it over-laps with the convention. Also, I know how to get there by rote. I will certainly miss the shopping mall and market that is right across the street: there is a giant toy store, electronics/dvd store, drug stores, travel stores and a very large market.
Having settled into the hotel, I marched across the street to get my supplies: German Meusili; Coke Lite; apples; Nic-Nacs and a few other things. Foreign countries are the few places I actually -enjoy- shopping: I like to see the different products, American foods (usually different in some way), foreign gadgets. Of the latter, the winner this year was the banana slicer: so precise-- very Deutsch.

Interesting finds: Sauerkraut juice (did not try).

Also, R0ndo brand coffee! (Bought a slab for the label. Very amused.)

Stopping in at the Pawpet room, I saw new and old friends in various states of disarray. Plus, all the hard-working team behind the show. Great to see everyone again!

PS: Yes, I know this picture (from an ad at the Frankfurt airport) has nothing to do with the convention-- but visually it's probably what most people think the airport looks like when a furry convention comes to town:
furry carousel

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