Konflikt was my second Eurocon, the first being Shamrokon nearly ten years (ten years!) ago in Dublin. It sort of felt like my first proper one though, being outside of the anglosphere this time – though everyone I met at the con spoke English, as did virtually everyone I interacted with in town.
My old Bay Area friends Mette and Bryan just moved to Uppsala earlier in the year, so it seemed absurd not to attend even if my finances are a bit of a shambles at the movement.
I flew Norwegian from Edinburgh and landed near midnight on the Thursday night. Based on Mette’s advice I had the local UL bus app and my 72 hour mobile ticket ready to go, and was able to catch a bus into town almost immediately. An auspicious start!
The plan for the trip was to keep things loose; as long as I got to hang with my friends, get a bit convention in, and see some of the town, the specifics were not too important. With this in mind we started off Friday with a trip to the supermarket for snacks and to the local state liquor store for booze. I’d bought gin and spiced rum at duty free, and along with a couple of beers and some shots, that more than covered my needs. Then it was off to Uppsala University Hall, a gorgeous Beaux-Arts building which worked very well for the size of the convention. The lobby had registration, fan tables, and dealers, and was where the signings took place. Programming was in lecture halls, mostly on the ground floor, with the major items in the big central auditorium, which was a sight to behold.
The first panel of the day was about dating gods and monsters, an intriguing topic but a bit rambly for my mood so I skipped out after a bit and had a mooch through the dealers. I got some stickers from Märka Designs, an anthology of translated Italian SF from GOH Francesco Verso, and was tempted but resisted the room full of cheap used paperbacks. Next I went to the fan funds panel, which was nice and lively, and finally to the main auditorium for a conversational panel about djinn.
This left plenty of time to do some pre-drinking at Shotluckan, where we had shots involving fire, cinnamon, and kung fu before heading over to the Williams Pub across from the convention center. On Friday it was the main hangout spot and we spent a few of hours there chatting and drinking beer. It was still light out when we got back to the apartment around midnight, something I very much enjoyed during my stay.
The next morning I got up early enough for some quality time with Bryan and Mette’s cats, who either remembered me from California, or had gotten used to me during the hours they spent clambering over me during the night.
Panels for the day were Verso’s talk and Johan Egerkrans (the artist GOH) interview, both of which were excellent. The panel on the nordic myths was more mixed but generally enjoyable.
We wandered out for lunch again, and where the day before we’d had kebab wraps this time we went a little more upmarket with fancy cheese toasties and cakes (my first dammsugare) at Salullhall 1909, which we ate out in the sunshine. While there, a friend of Mette’s from her university days wandered by and we had a fun chat about horror films.
Back at the con we popped into the fan funds auction, which had Bellis as the auctioneer and was chaotic in the best of ways. I didn’t get anything but Mette ended up with a pile of books and some art and Bryan got some Discworld figurines.
We joined Metter+
We joined Mette’s friend Amanda for dinner at a local fancy tapas place by the river with a largeish group including some folks who work at the Stockholm science fiction bookstore. Afterwards we went to the pub for more fannish drinking but were dismayed to find a live band playing, meaning that most of the fans had fled! As it turned out there were a bunch of people Mette knew there to see the band, but it was coming up on midnight so I decided it was wisest to leave them to it and head back to the apartment for a shower and some quality cat time.
And then just like that it was my last day! Bryan and Mette dressed up in their Fallout costumes, ready for the costumers picnic scheduled for the afternoon. We arrived onsite in time for closing ceremonies, which included the ESFS awards announcements, then grabbed some food and joined the picnic. It was small but friendly, mostly mix of what looked like historical and steampunk, and a nice way to spend the last hour of the convention before rolling my suitcase down the hill and off to the airport.