Arriving in Essen
John Miklavcic is our Canadian Carcassonne Champion. After winning the Canadian qualifier at Snakes & Lattes on September 30th, John has been prepping for the Worlds in Essen, Germany. Over the next week we'll be following his adventures and cheering him on.
After 3 flights in a 17 hour journey, I have finally arrived in Essen! The time zone change and short sleep on the plane make it difficult to stay alert and responsive near the end of the journey, but the atmosphere of Spiel excitement is enough to get anyone’s adrenaline racing in anticipation of the convention.
My first impression is that the city of Essen is lovely. Even a couple weeks before the convention, I was able to find affordable and comfortable accommodation that is just a short ride away from the Spiel convention center, Messe Essen. This is pretty remarkable considering that Spiel attracts well over 100,000 visitors in its 4 days! There are numerous supermarkets and restaurants with amazing food within walking distance of any subway or tram station. The transit system is top class. The city feels safe, even when wandering around later in the evening.
My first morning here in late October is quite pleasant as the temperature reads 12 degrees at 05:30 am already! I eat breakfast quickly since I’m so curious to see what the convention is all about. I arrive at Messe Essen to find that the foyer leading into to the exhibition halls is completely packed with eager game enthusiasts 30 minutes before the doors even open to Spiel on a weekday morning. I’m continually astonished every time I look at my convention ticket and read that entrance to Spiel for the full 4 days is only 24 euro (less than $40 CAD)! Sneaking a peek through the doors to the convention halls, the exhibitors can be seen hustling to neaten and tidy gaming tables, stock games & paraphernalia.
The crowd huddles closer and closer to the exhibition hall entrance and finally, the doors open…