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Aug. 17th, 2017 @ 01:34 pm Helsinki and Worldcon
I went to Helsinki for worldcon.

It was lovely to see osos and liv.

I always find travel a little stressful but I have got better at not worrying. It's still feels like more of a hurdle than travelling locally, even if it shouldn't, but less so.

Helsinki was nice. I didn't do a lot of exploring, but some. I love water, and enjoyed going to another city based on the sea. Helsinki itself isn't on as many islands as Stockholm, but the harbour is covered with them and several tourist attractions are on one island or another.

We went to the zoo, and I went out to the island fortress Suomelina, both nice ferry rides. Suomelina was originally fortified by Sweden when Finland was part of Sweden, and later controlled by Finland and by Russia, with modern fortifications added to the older ones. The original fortifications are incredible to see, vast stone walls dozens of feet thick with tunnels at the bottom surrounding grassy courtyards, and at the main entrance, stone steps swooping down to the sea from a giant gate that frames the sun.

When we flew back, I realised what Liv had already told me, but not previously realised the extent of, that there really are continuous islands all the way from Finland to Sweden.

Zoo pictures are slowly being uploaded on twitter :)

Food was expensive but fairly easy. Few places had good vegetarian options already on the menu, but everyone I spoke to was eager to to be flexible and make up a cheaper price for a plate full of all the side dishes, without me needing to explain or anything.

Part of the expense is being in a foreign conference centre when the pound is getting weaker, but as I understand it, Finland *is* typically more expensive. I don't know enough about it, but my impression is, partly due to needing to import more food, and partly due to higher taxes and wages. But I wish people would acknowledge that latter part when complaining.

Worldcon was fun. Registration was incredibly quick with a computerised "scan barcode and print label" system, and everything was well organised apart from being over-full on the first two days.

Most of the panels I went to were decent but none stood out to me as amazing.

I loved seeing authors I cared about, at the steven universe panel, at the wild cards panel (and winning hugos). The quantum computing panel didn't tell me a lot about the theory but was fascinating for telling us about what computers had practically been built -- and apparently IBM have one you can run programs on online!!

I had a better balance between different sorts of things, I did some panels, some meeting people. I met up with people, but didn't feel like I was constantly missing out on fun things just round the corner. I got some books I was excited by but not too many.

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Date:August 18th, 2017 06:11 pm (UTC)
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Worldcon looked enormous fun from the perspective of someone reading the social media of several people going! You sound mildly disappointed in comparison though.
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Date:August 20th, 2017 09:12 pm (UTC)
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I find it hard to judge. It was definitely fun, but I think my first worldcon was a blur of "oh my god this is awesome" and "agh, i can't find any of the people I know and I keep going to things that sound cool and then are really boring". So everything seems... average-ish by comparison.

And for whatever reason, the panels I went to seemed to have a similar balance: none were bad, but none were amazing either, they were all moderately interesting.

I think overall it was a good con, but I was just not that engaged for whatever reason. Partly I did more interactive stuff, not just panels, but I would have enjoyed doing more, more workshops, more volunteering, etc, but I ended up not being certain enough to make that happen this time.
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Date:August 23rd, 2017 08:52 pm (UTC)
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Continuous islands: yes! As seen from the ferry as well.