Last week we traveled back to the Middle Ages. It is a bit embarrassing to say this was our first medieval festival because of the amount of these festivals that happen, but alas we made it to one.
About an hour away in the Eifel region of Germany we found Manderscheid. It could not have been any easier to get to. Just a few kilometers off the autobahn we parked in a field and took a bus right to the entrance of the lower castle ruin, Niederburg. I think I can easily say these ruins were the best we have seen.
We meandered through the rubble stopping along the way to shop at stands with period-made items like leather belts, soaps and incense, lanterns, and of course mead. Almost to the top we ducked into a room and was surprised to a little café with live performers! Fil and I had steak (seriously like an 8 oz steak) on hard rolls, and Brock had a kebab of cheese and grapes. A hit all around!
After our lunch we stepped back outside and Brock was very excited to find the bubble man! He had quite a crowd but paid close attention to who put coins in his hat… only those kids got to play.
Just a short climb more and we were at the base of the main tower. Inside were wooden stairs that took us all the way to a rooftop deck (for lack of another word). From here we could look down at the ruined castle below and this was the impressive part. You could really see where the walls and rooms were making it much more interesting to imagine the past than the other ruins we have visited.
We could also see the tournament field across the river, and high on the other side of the valley was the ruins of Oberburg.
It was HOT that day, and Brock was very animated while quenching his thirst.
It was hot, but that made it more fun for Brock because he got to play in the river to cool off. He found a flat rock next to a small pool and kept jumping off into the water. But being a two year old he claimed that spot as his and was quite possessive.
For us, this was the best part. The jousting tournament was about to begin! We went specifically to see the jousting, but we weren’t really sure what to expect… would it be real or staged? Just a demonstration or a legit tournament? We were pleasantly surprised but couldn’t stay as long as we hoped because someone was starting to meltdown from the heat :(.
There were 6 riders, one female and 5 male, divided among two teams. First step: qualifying! We stayed for three of the qualifiers and really wanted to stay for the main event but Brock was in full on meltdown mode and it was just time to go :(.
First they threw their spear at a stationary target.
Next was 3 targets along the fence. First a head of cabbage on a stick, then an apple on the fence post, and finally an apple on someones head! The second jouster knocked the helmet right off the man and you could see he was terrified. Somehow I managed to get it on film!
The final one they all did together, collecting rings on their poles.
We had an absolute blast and definitely plan to hit up some more festivals with jousting before we leave. I can’t speak to how the rest of these are set up but this one had children’s seating along the edge of the field and every child got a flag. Plus- the kids could see great, minus- they were maybe 10 yards from where the horses ran. Brock loved running around with the other kids before it started and really loved waving his flag. I bet part of his meltdown was because we pulled him back with us, up on Fil’s shoulders so he could see.
We really had a great time… if only we could have seen more of the main event! But all in all it was a great family day right before Fil left for another week away on duty in another country.
And what do I do when Fil is away? I stay up entirely too late quilting. If you follow me on Flickr you will see that I have been posting a lot of quilt block pictures. Now that my fabric has finally arrived I have started a project that I wanted to start months ago when I ordered it. The plan is to make one 6″ block everyday from the book, 501 Rotary Cut Quilt Blocks for 360 days then spend the last 5 days of the year finishing the quilt. The blocks are fairly traditional and are sewn on my vintage Gritzner treadle machine, but with a modern mix of fabric. Here is a one of my favorite blocks so far, Whites & Blacks.
But timing is of course not my friend, so to finish the project before we PCS next year I needed to start it right now… days before I leave for a month. So I am playing catch up and getting a jump start on the blocks for the days while I am away. Hopefully by the end of October I will be caught up and can finally enjoy making just one a day.
You read right… around this time next year we are anticipating orders to our next duty station! It is a little surreal that this is our last year in Germany. I am trying to plan the right amount of trips, and try to capture as much as we can, without overdoing it. At this moment we still have to make it to the UK and Paris, somehow we have not yet made it to these two biggies.
Speaking of which, I need to start packing for our visit to the States! See you soon!