A wonderful trip, all in all. Yes, much of it was work... I did numerous interviews in Hamburg, more in Stockholm, still more on the Alands, yadda yadda yadda... but in between we had some fine old times.
-- touring MiniatureLand in Hamburg. Wow. Biggest toy train set in the world, but the landscapes and miniatures dwarf the trains. Very glad my hosts took me to see this.
-- the big public event in Hamburg, 3000 fans, sold out months ago.
-- hanging with Sibel Kekilli and her boyfriend, and my German publicist, Sebastian. Sibel fed me Turkish food and showed me some of Hamburg's nightlife, to reciprocate for the tour of Santa Fe I gave her on INTO THE NIGHT. Hamburg stays up later than Santa Fe, you will be surprised to learn, but chile con queso is nowhere to be found. We drank White Russians while huddled under blankets in an outdoor cafe. Took a canal boat tour as well.
-- Stockholm. What a gorgeous city. Comes of not having a major war since Napoleon. That way your gorgeous old buildings don't get bombed into rubble.
-- the Vasa Museum. Okay, the ship never made it our of the harbor, but it makes a great centerpiece for a museum,
-- the Royal Armory, where you can actually see the bloodstained clothing that Gustavus Adolphus and Charles XII were wearing when they died,
-- Marieham, on the Aland islands. Just a lovely place.
-- the Aland Vikings, who fed us pancakes and mead and hammered at each other with axe and sword and spear for our amusement. They are building a very cool Viking village, definitely worth a visit if you visit the islands.
And of course Archipelacon was great fun as well. The Finnish fans are second to none, and we had plenty of Swedes on hand as well, and a strong BWB contigent who taught them all how to party. It is events like this that remind me what fandom is all about -- a celebration of science fiction and fantasy, of friendship and family.