Paradise on Earth
Due to loading times only a few of the total 202 photographs I took at the Asylum Europe 2010 are shown below. Chose from the sub galleries below to see more photographs. Clicking on any of the shown thumbs gets you to the respective subgallery.
Bad Neuenahr (Germany), May 21st - 23rd, 2010
The weather gods were at our side this time. Had it snow-rained only a couple of days before, on Thursday the sun came out right on time. The convention was held at Bad Neuenahr, which is a SPA town (due to hot thermal springs), small, representing one of those typical German towns placed in the middle of a beautiful landscape. Bad Neuenahr belongs to the Eifel region in Rhineland-Palatinate and is surrounded by wine hills, the only place for red wine in Germany. The Eifel is geologically active with everyday earthquakes so small nobody feels them. Once in a while we have bigger ones. There are also non-active volcanoes and crater lakes to be visited. Over 250 castle ruins are scattered throughout this region.
When I arrived on Friday noon I was prepared to find total mayhem after having read about Asylum 4 and its overbooking. In fact it was quite relaxed due to this being a smaller event with not so many fans attending and of which some only arrived on Saturday morning. The registration for the first badge numbers was postponed by one hour though. I called my friend to tell her she had time to no end and we met up later for a stroll into the town and to have some food.
At the end of May the asparagus and strawberry season starts and thus we took the special at a restaurant involving both, sitting outside and enjoying the warm sun opposite the Bad Neuenahr casino. It took not long and we saw Jim Beaver, Chad Lindberg with girlfriend and Samantha Ferris also strolling into town having lunch themselves at the restaurant opposite of ours; loads of laughter from that table while Jim ordered the food. Traci Dinwiddie also showed up there a bit later. I am proud of the fans that strolled by, stopped at a distance, stood for a while and moved on. Also the fans at a table near them did not bother them. The guests were completely left alone aside of the occasional wave. Good start, me thinks.
In the evening the first activity, the Meet & Greet was held for the Diamond Pass owners. We all stood at tables that were scattered in the room and the guests went from one table to the next to have a little chat with the fans.
From Jason we learned about the hilarious travel to Bad Neuenahr. They all flew into Frankfurt airport and took the train to Bonn where they had to catch the train to Bad Neuenahr, which went utterly wrong. It was hilarious when he showed us the faces of the other train passengers when all of them with tons of luggage and one guitar boarded. Of course they missed their connection train in Bonn and stood there for quite a while, while helpful fans twittered to Jim when and where the next train would go.
Misha came with a whole bottle of water and poured us the water in order to propose a toast to everyone. A girl from Norway was at our table and she drove 26 hours to get to Bad Neuenahr to which Misha remarked that Europe looks so tiny on the map that non-Europeans always think it's so small that you can drive from one end to the other within one day.
He then wanted to know how long it would take to drive through Germany from North to South. Having two fellow Ring*Connies at the table we also suggested to Misha to go to Ring*Con one day, which is not very farfetched since his agent, Julie, knows the organizers from FedCon when she brought two years ago Kevin Sorbo.
Traci was in total awe about the train ride, which is really one of the more beautiful because it goes along the river Rhine, passing by the Lorelei and castle on hills. She took tons of photos during that ride and asked me whether I brought my fabulous camera to which I replied with a yes. Hers didn't work anymore and she asked me to take loads of pictures of Bad Neuenahr. We also played a funny game running around the table to get to another spot to much laughter.
Jim impressed with his German and he had a lot of questions about Germany, how long it would take to get to Berlin for example, since he wanted to tour Germany after the con before he had to go to the Rising Con in Barcelona in June. I told him that he, as a Beethoven fan, could have easily visited Beethoven's birth house while being stuck at the Bonn train station. It's not very far from there. I tweeted it to him but with the tons of messages he receives he had overlooked that. I also said I was no Beethoven fan at all and that I prefer Tchaikovsky.
Samantha is every ounce of the Ellen she plays in Supernatural; a real woman not afraid to speak up. She was also very curious since it was her first time in Germany and she also had never met a German fan before. She compared the outside landscape to her home Canada, also very lush and very green.
Chad was the surprise at this convention, at least to me. Absolutely funny and adorable and I loved that his girlfriend interacted with the fans as well. Just like people meeting people. Chad wore dark nail polish and received a ton of compliments for that. He also wanted to know whether he was good at replying on Twitter and we confirmed that he was doing a great job.
Only Mark didn't make it to our table since he was a bit late for the Meet & Greet but we got Jim a second time and chatted with him even the more about Germany and this time driving on the Autobahn.
The evening died away with Renate and me ending up at the Hotel's bar. A couple of fans had gathered to have a good time and also Jason, Jim and Chad sat at one table, obviously having a lot of fun and alcohol. At one point Chad started dancing with his girlfriend on the dance floor surrounded by fans. Everything went so smoothly, no one bothered them. They must have felt completely save. Even Jim shook a leg and I was told that they also managed to get Jason onto the dance floor and that he obviously is no dancer, despite being a musician.
At midnight I called it quits and went to bed.
Saturday morning I skipped the hotel breakfast in order to buy two tickets for Misha's coffee lounge on Sunday for me and my friend, who stayed at another hotel. She on the other hand brought breakfast - yeahhhhh!
At the same time fans had already gathered in front of the main stage hall's doors to get a good seat. Now this is something that may work at a small convention like this but as soon as you have main stars it quickly becomes ugly because everyone wants a seat in the first rows. I think a lot of tension would be taken out if the organizers would at least assign rows according to ticket number, something which is done at FedCon and Ring*Con and which works great. No more fighting for seats, no rush into the main hall, no danger of injuries. I for one do not fight for a seat. I think it's ridiculous. The photos I took at this con were made from row 8, 10 and 12. They might not be as good as some of my others but fighting - no way in hell.
The first panel for Saturday was Misha's. Poor guy stood on stage at the beginning and nobody would ask a question, so I gathered my bravery, got up and stood in front of one of the microphones which were placed to the left and right in front of the room. Now, Misha's biting humour is something that stimulates both my intellect and my rebellious streak. You do not ask a serious question, nope. Thus, I had this big lead-in about my question being spoilery about the season???? finale. Misha fell for it. He defended my not yet asked question to a protesting audience that had not seen season ??? yet by telling them to cover their ears. Then he almost gently asked me to proceed...
I was so proud of me. I did not laugh and I managed to ask in a dead serious tone. "What does it feel like to explode?" The entire room errupted with laughter. Misha was perplexed, just for a second, mind you, but I caught him off guard. I could not resist. Misha is simply too good with answering strange questions.
Just as I had expected, his answer was hilarious. After he regained his equilibrium, he explained dramatically how challenging it were for an actor to explode and get back together. That production is an expensive undertaking and he had hold it up because he could not find his eye which he eventually found in his shoe. All the while halfway successfully trying not to laugh himself.
After that, there were two lines of fans queued up at the microphones. Mission accomplished.
Misha's payback came at the photo Ops where he greeted me with "Oh, oh here comes trouble", and remarking several times during his panel that Castiel is not real, that all of this was fiction. LOL
All of the guests were hilariously funny and loved to mingle with the crowd. Misha started doing his coffee lounges outside on the grass since the weather was so beautiful and the other guests followed suit.
I want to thank the genius that came up with the idea of putting Misha and Mark together on stage. The Misha Minion's versus Mark's Legion lead to a funny outcome. So yelled Mark at his coffee lounge on Sunday which had already started outside on the grass when Misha and his coffee lounge attendees passed by: "Look, mindless Minions following." Both also got put into a ring of salt by a fan on stage. Mark does not fall short on Misha's biting humour. I think Misha has found his master. Being at a non-English-speaking country for a convention has its absolute ups: Being lost in translation. When a fan asked a question her "to choose" was pronounced like "two shoes" on which both Misha and Mark picked up. Once more we were in stitches. Yep, Germans and the trouble with pronouncing the English language.
It was hilarious when a totally nervous girl wanted to ask Misha a question but could not get the words out without hiccupping and being breathless. It took her a great while to finally asking it with Misha not helping at all but teasing her mercilessly about her being so nervous. At the umpteenth time she started with "…my question is…" Misha: "I'm dying to know." The entire room went lying on the floor laughing. But, he made up for it. The girl was a bit overwhelmed when he told her to slap him for being so mean to her, and thus she came up to the stage and under tears proceeded to hug him. Aweee moment in the room.
What was it anyways with the hugging? Mark also hugged three people during his panel.
Sam told us the story about the gun she finally was allowed to use in the episode Good god 'yall from her point of view. The story I thought was already hilarious when Jensen and Jared told it at the Jus in Bello convention at Rome. Now we got her side of things. And she did not hold back. She was so proud to have a real gun and ran around set pumping the gun at every possible opportunity. Now, for some sort of reason something jammed and she wanted to ask for help during her scene pointing the gun accidentally at people who dived to the side madly in order to get out of the way. This of course is a precaution ever since Brandon Lee died because of an accident with fake ammunition. Those guns are real guns. After that the gun was taken away from her and she got a pistol instead. She also teared up remembering a letter she received about her death scene with Alona. This scene made me cry too and that for hours long after I had watched it.
Jim was wearing a T-Shirt with letting the fans know in German that he wants to show us his panic room in private. LOL He took every opportunity he got to speak German. His great grandfather was German.
It looks like the guests had a lot of fun as did the fans. Everything was relaxed and mellow. Sam could smoke a cigarette outside among fans without being harassed. I think Jim talked to everyone personally and Misha asked whether Germany was everywhere like this. He even called it paradise on earth. Mark left a great impression on everyone and some Minions changed sides and became part of Mark's legion. Traci jammed the hell out everyone, Jason threw T-Shirts into the crowd at his Saturday night concert and Chad liked to mingle as well.
Too bad I and a lot of fans did not know that Jason had his own photo ops. I would have taken a photo with him like many others.
I love the Richart you could buy at the dealers' room, especially made for this convention and which I let autograph by the guests. It is a lot more unique than the usual photo you get signed.
As a gift I had for the guests who also were at the Italian con a little photo book printed with memories of that con. I hope they like it.
The convention ended for me and my friend at sitting at the Hotel's restaurant, having wine and food and watching fireworks through the trees that went off at Ahrweiler.