Eurofurence 2014 and my Trip to Berlin, Germany

I had quite a trip to Berlin, Germany last month! I was there for 11 days and got to see some of the sights as well as attend Eurofurence.

Let's start with the city…

The Holocaust Museum

Having never been to a holocaust museum before, I really wanted to visit the one in Berlin. It was in a prominent part of Berlin, near the Brandenburg Gate. The museum was underground, with the are above it containing these giant concrete slabs:

The Holocaust Museum in Berlin The Holocaust Museum in Berlin The Holocaust Museum in Berlin The Holocaust Museum in Berlin

The slabs were unmarked and people were encouraged to walk among them. The path itself went below street level while the top of the slabs stayed at the some level, creating a rather eerie quiet effect.

Inside the museum itself, each visitor was given an iPad with earphones and set to the language of their choice. This also created a very quiet atmosphere inside the museum itself as people walked through it and listened to the different descriptions.

Checkpoint Charlie

After the Holocaust Museum, I was a bit bummed out and walked around town with Joel and Yellowfur until we arrived at Checkpoint Charlie:

Checkpoint Charlie Checkpoint Charlie Checkpoint Charlie

Despite being a key location during the Cold Ware, the modern day site of Checkpoint Charlie was very upbeat. It was in the middle of a busy street with traffic going through, and was absolutely mobbed by tourists. There were some people dressed up as American soldiers who would let you have your picture taken with them.

Public Transit

The public transit system in Berlin is pretty amazing. They have trains, trams, busses, and subways! One pass will get you on any of them. Unlike most public transit systems in the US, Berlin's runs on the honor system. Occasionally a fare inspector will get on the train and check everyone's ticket. If your ticket is expired or you don't have a ticket, you'll face a fine.

Other differences included the system being operational 24 hours, and some trains specifically ran in rings around the city. The display at the station would show which direction the train on that platform ran in (clockwise vs counterclockwise).

After a few days on public transit, I felt comfortable enough to be able to navigate the system by myself. That makes Berlin the first foreign city where this has been the case.

The Video Game Museum

Also known as the Computerspiele Museum, this place is like The Toonseum of video games. They had exhibits on the history of gaming as far back as the 1970sL

DSC_8813 The Video Game Museum The Video Game Museum

They also had working copies of many games across different consoles there. I ended up playing Dance Dance Revolution, as that is apparently a US-centric game. None of the Germans I watched really knew how to play it. So while I made an ass of myself getting "D" ratings on Standard difficulty, that apparently makes me a god in the German Dance Dance Revolution scene, at least judging by the number of people who were staring at me while playing it.

My Eurofurence 2014 Experience

Ah yes, the original topic of this blog post. Smiling

After being in Berlin for a few days, I made my way to the Estrel Hotel on the South East side of Berlin for Eurofurence. It was my first time to the convention in 10 years, and it has grown quite a bit from its days in a youth hostel.

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In addition to running their Facebook page, I worked in Con Ops this year. I foolishly volunteered for the 6 PM to 10 PM shifts each day, so I ended up missing out on a lot of the programming in the evenings. But on the plus side, I had plenty of time open during the day to meet up with friends whom I hadn't seen over in over a decade. This was a very relaxing and fun furry convention for me.

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Even More Pictures

My full archive of pictures from Eurofurence can be found on both Facebook and Flickr:

The next Eurofurence will be held from August 19th-23rd, 2015. I intend to be there!

As for me, my next convention will be Midwest Furest, held from December 5th-7th, 2014 in Chicago. I hope to see you there.

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