So, yesterday I went to the middle ages market in Roßlau, about 3 km from here. Since ren faires in the US seem to run from 9-5, and the Sterling Ren Faire I went to last year was huge, I wanted to jump up and go early to spend the whole day there. Since Janine and I had talked about it before though, I wanted to go with her, so I tried to be patient all morning while we went to the store and then Micha made lunch.
By the time I finally asked if we could go yet, it was after 1, and I was kind of desperate! I didn’t know how long it would take to bike out there, and I thought it would be over before dinner, and ren faires at home are pretty rare. When we were finally all ready to go… I discovered my bike was broken more than Micha thought. The wheel hadn’t just been loose… the rear axel was broken. So on Monday we’ll probably need to take it to a bike repair shop or something. Janine was very kind to lend me her bike and gave me directions out to the castle in Roßlau.
The ride out was nice, despite the road construction and heat of the day. I got there and wandered around until I heard them announcing the tournament. Evidently one of the knights was from England, because every so often the announcer would translate things into English for him. I wandered off and found Natalie and her boyfriend Micha, but they seemed to be doing their own thing for the most part. We watched the instrument seller trying to teach some guy to play the jew’s harp. The merchant was very good at playing it, but the buyer couldn’t figure it out, to the amusement of the onlookers.
There was lots to watch, musicians and performers, which were pretty cool, even though I couldn’t understand most of their storytelling etc. At ren faires in the US, there is a lot more emphasis on selling stuff. The market was of a similar size to the little one they hold at the fairgrounds at home, but I think they had about as much to see as Sterling did.
There was a group performing traditional dances in the courtyard outside the castle, and in the castle courtyard two guys were juggling and breathing fire and generally keeping the kids entertained. There was a gypsy woman playing “mouse roulette” who roped me into participating with all the little kids. She was a very good actress and storyteller. She told us a story about Anastasia the Mouse and how she built fourteen houses so that the bad guys couldn’t find her, and then got out a live mouse and put it in the center of the table. The mouse chose a cubby from around the edge of the table and the winner got a teeny cloth mouse.
A pottery seller pulled me over and gave me a tablespoon of fruit punch and talked to me about what I thought of being an exchange student, and I ended up buying a little milk dish for tea from him. He was very enthusiastic about grabbing people and leading them over to his cart of blue and white pottery.
There were a group of people playing an assortment of instruments, dancing, and telling stories. They looked like they were having a great time, but with bagpipes, conch, and some sort of recorder, they sounded like the sort of band my dad and I would form. After the tournament was over, a couple of the circus performers held a kid’s tourney with a miniature divider and had the kids in horse costumes. They were pretty cute, and it seemed like a great idea to teach the kids about traditional challenges. The performers announced each kid like the big knights (“Knight Paul from Wolfenstein!”) and the kids got to run around with big sticks.
Around dinnertime I got tired out and bought a rostbratwurst (which was far less sketchy-looking than the one the other day) and sat with some other people to watch the dancing. When they tried to haul the old man sitting next to me up to participate, he refused and one of the knights from the dancing group came over and threatened him (“you really wouldn’t want to refuse a beautiful lady a dance, would you?”) with his dagger until he recanted.
There was a wine shop right next to where we were sitting, and, seeing they had a sign for “Gewürtzwein,” I decided to try some. My parents said that I might like the variety of wine called “Gewürtztraminer,” so I figured I would try some now—much to my surprise when it turned out to be mulled wine and have nothing to do with Gewürztraminer! It was a pretty cool accident though. ^^
Natalie and Micha had a tent and stayed in Roßlau for all three days, but I got tired after I finished my wine and went home about 7:30. After looking over my pictures from yesterday, I’m going to buy a lens hood for my camera—I’m tired of having good pictures ruined by lens flare. From looking over the castle’s website, it looks like they don’t just use the place for yearly celebrations – it seems there’s something going on every week. If only I could figure out what those things were…
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