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german law has changed and there is no indoor smoking in public places anymore. Some exceptions for bars exists, but in the halls there will be no smoke. For the smokers it was always possible to go outside.

And Essen is not a boring place. It is Kulturhauptstadt Europas 2010 (2009?) and has several big museums (Folkwang, Villa Hügel), Aalto Opera, a musical Hall, a big lake and forrest area. The city centre is also well know and attracts people for shoping from everywhere. Essen is a place to go, even in the rest of the year.
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Timo
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I could recommend http://www.zeche-zollverein.de/Englische%20Version/index2.ht... if you're interested in taking photos.

The place itself offers an amount of interessting views.
I personally don't find the city center to be that different from other city centers...
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Ingo Keiner
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Oberhausen
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At mental or physical tiredness while aimlessly moving around the games, i strongly recommend a visit in the http://www.grugapark.de/im-park.html. It is just beside the fair (out of the main door and around the corner. ~150m).
Refresh yourself and charge your battery!

...ah wait, here are some impressions: http://www.grugapark.de/herbst.html
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SAKURA in KYOTO 2018 Back to Kansai
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I have only gone the first few metres into the park before. Is it free to enter. Is there a best way to go round it?
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Ingo Keiner
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Unfortunately, it cost
3€ for adults,
1,5€ with a reduction (students,..),
1€ for children (6-14years)
But, its worth the money, because the park is very well looked after.
You can get a detailed map (.pdf) here: http://www.grugapark.de/data/grugaplan.pdf
The main entrance, i am talking about, is in the upper right corner ("Messe Ost/Gruga"). The light green shaded area, directly after entering the park, is free of charge, so one can reach the cafe.
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Primoz Jakelj
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I was thinking to come to Essen with caravan (Wohnwagen). In this case we don`t need a room. I just want to know, where we can park our car? How much must we pay? Can we have any problems for ˝living˝ (just sleeping) in our caravan?
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piki wrote:
I was thinking to come to Essen with caravan (Wohnwagen). In this case we don`t need a room. I just want to know, where we can park our car? How much must we pay? Can we have any problems for ˝living˝ (just sleeping) in our caravan?


I don't know. My guess is that you cannot use the car parks as a living space. You'll have to find an actual camp site out of town and commute in. You might be better leaving the caravan attached to the car at the site for example.

Can somebody suggest a good camp site?
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Ingo Keiner
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I found something on the fair-website.
They offer caravans a special place: on parking lot "P2", there are some supply- and disposal-possibilities.
And another campsite is mentioned: "Stadtcamping Essen-Werden"

Edith said, next time i should verify every link i´m posting... the link to the campsite is outdated. New one is: www.dcc-stadtcamping-essen-werden.de
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Ingo Keiner
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The train-station in Essen is currently being renovated. Because of this building site, there are some mobility challenges anyway.
You could get this brochure. Inside, there is a plan, how to get off the platforms and out of the station. It is also signposted. Taxi´s are on both sides (north ´n south).

If you want to go further with the underground (U11 to "Essen Messe Ost/Gruga Halle") to the fair, you should use the west-tunnel (as on map). This way is shorter, since you are going down the stairs that are next to the U11-platform. But, this tunnel is not reachable from every platform (as seen on map). If you are coming from platform 1/2/21/22, you have to use the east-tunnel and walk a few many meters more. But, it´s safe to say, that it will be incredible overpopulated anyway...
The ticket costs 1,30 € ("Kurzstrecke" = shorttrack)(Today morning, on my way to work, i pretended ninja to be one of the suits that went to the actual fair. The ticket machine says 1,30 € to Messe)

Again: U11 Direction Messe/Gruga on Platform 2
Driving time is only 5 minutes


Edith added the ticket prize and another photo from this morning.
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Tony Barrett
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Hi all, a question about evening beverages.

I am a bit strange as beer does not agree with me, I assume Cider is out do the question, not heard of rhineland scrumpy.

Is it true that Germany does really make good wine, but keeps it all for herself and then sends all the rubbish to the UK? Blue Nun anyone?

No honestly should I try the local stuff or play it safe and order the new world wine.

Thanks
 
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Tony,

I only drink the Pils in Essen, it's much nicer than lager. I don't drink beer at home. You might want to try the actual German beer since it is brewed to much more stringent laws than in the UK. That is, it is just hops and water and yeast. They are not allowed to put any crap in it the way UK brewers do.

Failing that, you will find wines on all menus, but I cannot vouch for the quality or prices.

I hereby nominate you the Essen wine researcher. Return with your report to this thread in 5 weeks.

Cheers,
Jon.
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John Kennard
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It's not as true as it used to be, although good German wine is still a lot harder to find than the "main stream" countries' produce (Shameless plug: My local, The Halifax Wine Company only ever stocks the good stuff!).

That said, just as in the UK, you'll find that to get a decent wine in a restaurant in Essen, you'll need to pay a decent price. Unlike France, the bog-standard Tafelwein is (IME) barely palatable gulp

But then I can't stand sweet wines anyway, and German wines are, by dint of the prevailing climate, generally on the sweet-side.


Jon's right about the beer, though
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Anthony Simons
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RacingHippo wrote:
Jon's right about the beer, though


I acquired a taste for alt beer a while ago:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altbier

Won't stop me drinking pilsner though.
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Mark Hamzy
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Round Rock
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Here are some PDFs of the subway/light rail that I found useful. Well, at least after the fact. When I was out there, I took lots of pictures of the posters in the train stations.

d10-1

Goto Evag's website.
On the left side, select "Fahrplan, Linien u. Karten".
On the left side, select "Linien".
On the right side, under downloads, you should see "Linienplan Essen TagNetz bis 23.30 Uhr als PDF-Datei (ca. 1,4 MB)" which is Essen's subway routes during daytime.

d10-2

Goto Evag's website.
On the left side, select "Fahrplan, Linien u. Karten".
On the left side, select "Linien".
On the left side, select "U-Bahn".
The first choice in the middle is "U11 Messeplan" which is the timetables and stops for the U11 line.

d10-3

Goto Vrr's website.
On the left side, select "Fahrplanauskunft".
On the left side, select "Fahr- und Linienpläne".
On the left side, select "Linienplan Schnellverkehr".
The first choice in the middle is "Linienplan Schnellverkehr 2008 (PDF, 812 kB)" which is the light rail we used from Essen to Dusseldorf's Airport.
NOTE: We took S1 and got off at D-Flughafen and took a airport monorail instead of getting off at D-Flughafen Terminal.
NOTE: We traveled on Sunday and apparently there are little icons that tell you that certain trains on the schedule do not operate on Sundays. We only found this out after the fact thanks to helpful people.
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Andreas Krüger
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Krefeld
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Fantastic FAQ!

Some more advice: While there is normal autumn weather outside, most years rather comfortable with a light jacket, the inside can be quite warm. Inside, I feel most comfortable with Jeans and T-shirt. I might stuff my jacket into a backpack and take it with me if I don't want to buy games that day.

Most people take food and drinks in their backpacks with them, because it is too expensive to buy at the fair.

Parking at the Messe is expensive and when everybody else is leaving, it can take quite some time to get your car out. Public transportation is better. Buses, trams, U-Bahn and trains can be used with the same tickets and have the same prices, depending on the distance (number of zones you pass). Find out if the place where you arrive or stay belongs to the VRR, the local public transportation association. If so, you can buy a ticket "from door to door" for a reasonable price. If not, you must buy one ticket for the train (Deutsche Bahn) and then one ticket from VRR for the U-Bahn to the Messe.

Edit: On the weekend, it is easier to carry a handbag instead of a backpack because it is so crowded.
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Surya is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
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Thamos von Nostria wrote:
Most people take food and drinks in their backpacks with them, because it is too expensive to buy at the fair.

The main reason to take some with you is that there's not enough choice if you're a vegetarian like me.
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John Mitchell
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Enfield
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Thamos von Nostria wrote:
On the weekend, it is easier to carry a handbag instead of a backpack because it is so crowded.


I just met somebody whose bag was stolen from under their chair at Spiel last year. Apparently she was not the only one who suffered that day. So whatever you bring, make sure it stays attached to you.
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WoW Widow
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Is there a key place or places that BGGs meet up at night time after the spiel closes? For example, is there a local pub where people tend to congregate at night for some food, beer and maybe even a quick game or two?
 
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There are a number of hotels close to the halls, and especially around the Martinstrasse U-bahn station, that gamers favour. The Hotel Jung is block-booked for example by scurvy Brits. The station is on the junction with Ruttenscheiderstrasse, which has a lot of good restaurants, and one of these popular with gamers is the Ystra. I also recommend the Chinese restaurant over the road.

The restaurants do not encourage playing games, but most of the hotels will open up their breakfast room in the evening for gamers to play. And you are welcome to wander into hotels other than your own in the hope of some er action.

I'll put your question on the FAQ and give a better answer.

Cheers,
Jon.
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Mike Grigg
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I may be a bit stupid... but have the ticket prices been released yet?

what was the average prices last year and what types because im looking to treat my dad for his 50th birthday and wish to know. Thankyou for your time
 
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taurous wrote:
I may be a bit stupid... but have the ticket prices been released yet?

what was the average prices last year and what types because im looking to treat my dad for his 50th birthday and wish to know. Thankyou for your time


Not stupid. The prices haven't been released but it's not horrendous. I'll have to dig my old tickets out.

http://www.internationalespieltage.de/e011.php4

You can buy tickets in advance and online, but you pay extra.
 
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I would like to give a little advice on the topic of restaurants and how foreign visitors (especially from the US) should behave:

As mentioned in the original post, it is common practice that you have to ask for the bill, after having your meal. Not like in the US were you get the bill with your meal (as far as I've heard).
If you find it hard to make eye contact with the waiter or the waitress, it is ok for you to raise your hand (maybe extend your index finger) and shout a quick "excuse me" or "the bill please". Of course, the level of your "shout" should be chosen wisely; yelling the whole restaurant into the ground isn't so good, but if the waitress doesn't notice you you will have to wait a bit longer for the bill.

And another quick tipp regarding the U-Bahn on Sunday evening:
As you are most likely not the only visitor of the fair, you might want to leave the halls before they close, as will all other visitors.
As a U-Bahn station is just in front of the main entrance, nearly 40% of all visitors will try to get trains towards the city, from this station, of course they have all their luggage and bought games with them, as might you.
Therefore, the situation in the U-Bahn is comparable to the japanese tube system, and you might need some broad shoulders or hard elbows to even get into the trains. If you have th possibility try either to already get on the train at the Station "Messe West - Süd/Gruga". As it is the last station of the U-Bahn, you can't go in the wrong direction.
The alternative would be to take your stuff and go into a small bistro, or small restaurant and pass some time regenerating your energy so you might miss the rush hour after the fair.
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Astartus wrote:
As mentioned in the original post, it is common practice that you have to ask for the bill, after having your meal. Not like in the US were you get the bill with your meal (as far as I've heard).

DRAGO, which is situated next to the main entrance of the fair (OST) right next to the Gruga Halle is used to serve large groups of visitors from the fair.

Here each guest will receive his own number, which you give to the cashier when you leave. That way, you don't have to wait for the bill - or from the rest of your party. Very convenient when you are in a hurry to get back home playing games. They are used to serve hundreds of people at the same time, and have good traditional German food.
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Astartus wrote:
As mentioned in the original post, it is common practice that you have to ask for the bill, after having your meal. Not like in the US were you get the bill with your meal (as far as I've heard).
If you find it hard to make eye contact with the waiter or the waitress, it is ok for you to raise your hand (maybe extend your index finger) and shout a quick "excuse me" or "the bill please". Of course, the level of your "shout" should be chosen wisely; yelling the whole restaurant into the ground isn't so good, but if the waitress doesn't notice you you will have to wait a bit longer for the bill.


What's the German phrase for 'Waiter/ress'?
 
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