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Freitag, 29. August 2014

Altena Reenactment Fair

 On the first of August the weird Franks called me if I would join them at Altena reenactment fair, so I put on my attire and hitched the bus. Funny, I git the bus ride for free because of my attire and had a nice chat with the bus driver. We met at the railway station and took the train to Altena, a very nice little medieval town in the neighbourhood. Nick was there in full battle gear which got him some puzzled looks from the local ghetto kids...*ggg*.
 It is traditional that no reenactment fair starts before the first tankard of stout, and who are we to break traditions? I mean, tradition is a good thing!
 Across the aisle there was a merchant having all kinds of lousy swords on display.
 We certainly had a ball when this electro knight dropped by, complete with laser sword and all, representing the local energy provider (not my piece of cake). The guy, however, was a funny chap, and we shared a laugh together.
 We strolled through the city, which was brim ful with action, with booths with quality goods (little to no Leonardo Carbone in sight!). We fell in love with the Oriental market, with jugglers, tumblers, story tellers, mocha and tea café booths, and eventually met with Heynrich, the bowyer. He´s a nice guy hailing from Dortmund, and it was funny to see we have some acquaintances in common, but had never met before!

 So many quality goods were on display...
 Really nice pottery...

 Quality food everywhere, not just the mandatory "Flammkuchen" and barbecued sausages you get on every market, but a big array of oriental and even veggie food to choose from.
 Gah! A dragon!;-)

 To be honest, I was less than enthused about the atmosphere of a city market, but somehow the contrast was a sight to behold. It is as if this picture asks you something. Listen closely, and you might understand;-).
 Then we went towards the castle, not without some complaining by Nick, who is a lazy bum, YES YOU ARE*ggg*! Kidding aside, those two are some of the nicest people I have ever met.
 At the castle, there were not many booths, but the atmosphere was great. I only just so escaped a riot when I saw a Knight Templar and by mere reflex had to shout "BÄÄÄÄÄÄÄH". That guy was frowning hard the whole time, carried a spear, shield, sword, Seax, several knives and a Polypropylene attire by a famous reenactment outlet store. Your humble viking just sat there, ate some quality food and had a healthy drink and watched the music play. And I did not think so much of offence when doing this, was just enjoying myself and thought he´d join the game and counter it with some good natured mockery himself as is common amongst Templars and vikings normally. Alas it could not be, he frowned even harder, and with an air of menace growled "You enjoy yourself, do you?" while loosening his sword in its plastic sheath with a cheapo leather wrap. I answered " Yap. You too?" He growled some more, which might´ve been an insult, but of which I was completely ignorant, for I had a tankard to empty and sopme sausage and fresh bread to eat. Okay, that was an insult I uttered, but I was referring to templars, not IT-scribes wearing a templar tunic...

But okay, if he reads this, I really apologize for this ugly joke. Instead I would counsil him to get a better psychotherapist.;-)
 We stthen strolled around a bit to take in the castle atmosphere.
 ...and, on personal request by Nick;-) visited the castle dungeon.

When we returned to the daylight, there was Kaspar doing his performance. He´s an accomplished juggler and tumbler and storyteller, and it was a plain joy to watch him entertain kids and adults alike.

  Then we enjoyed the performance of "Die Heidweilers".

Here´s a bootleg video of their performance of "Jelinka", a traditional Bulgarian song sung in German:

Then we went down into the city again. Behind the castle there was this beautiful woodcarving. I don´t have a clue what it stands for, but I found it great.

 As I did find these metal sculptures embedded on a house wall besides the path back down into the city.

 Or this sculpture sitting on the stairs.
 Altena has a history of the Romantiv movement as well as the German "Jugendbewegung", including the "Wandervogel" movement in the 1920s, which has a somewhat ambivalent nature, for some groups of this movement inspired the "Hitlerjugend", but also the Monte Verita "Lebensreform" movement and also influenced the hippie movement. In many ways modern Rewilding and Uncivilization movements or the "Romantic revolution" share many characteristics with these movements of old. Altena was a melting pot of the Wandervogel and Lebensreform individuals. Here the first youth hostel of Germany was founded, which also was the first in the world. The sculpture and the text refer to this event. The youth hostel of Altena can still be booked.
 After that much history and culture, we had to relax a bit, and went to the Oriental tea house to have a refreshing hot mocha and a mint tea and some Arabian sweets.
 Kathrin enjoying a fresh mint tea.
 Nick enjoying his drunken stupor...;-)

 The atmosphere at that booth was beautiful, tapestries and cushions verywhere. It´s funny, you sit outside, and stormclouds are gathering on the horizon, and all that will separate you from the tempest is a flimsy pavilion, and yet you  feel warm and cozy, sipping your tea. It felt weird, but wonderful.
 When we had finished our tea, we went on our merry way, for the first raindrops  were falling, in search of a place to remain dry...

 We went to Heynrich, the bowyer´s booth and received a warm welcome. We helped saving the tent, albeit just a tiny bit, and were rewarded with a scenic vista of the tempest - from inside.
 I found this knife Heynrich made from an old cleaver very interesting. Bit too hefty for me, but beautifully made!
 I currently have a bit of an affinity to archery, having just completed my first selfbow (watch this place!;-)), so I took in those beautiful longbows with relish. We had a chat about archery, knifemaking, smithing and this and that....
 Knives by Heynrich, often out of spring steel or old files.
 Mate, if you read this, you´re still always welcome to our smithy!

 Heynrich, the bowyer.
 Then Nick got himself a fresh beer, while I craved some caffeine, and Kathrin was in desperate need of some mint tea winning the Ms. wet tunic contest in the process.
 Dark mists were rising above those ancient hills I love so much.

 When the sun sank, the weather cleared up. There are many more stories. How we met with Olaf from Thor Klingen, a friend and knifemaker and weirdo viking. How I sat there and people mistook me for his friend, who was dressed like a druid, and who was sitting right beside me (they had looked for a druid...). How I could only just so persuade Olaf not to buy Nick to send him as a blood eagle... erm... blood broiler... erm... blood parakeet sacrifice to Thor*ggg*. How we bought some poison-green hemp mead and did nort realize how fast it was empty, and generally, how much we enjoyed ourselves and the simple life and the company of friends and quality people. How we talked to many beautiful people and simply had a wonderfully perfect day.
 The lanterns were lit and those cafés and taverns were inviting us to stay, but we had to get the last train.

 The final parade of giants through the aisles of the fair.

 The castle at night.
 Then we arrived at the railway station, which was feeling like being raped after that wonderful day. Every single thing on this station was smashed, battered, bashed and beaten, pissed at and shitten at. There was an abundance of turds in the passage. The roof was missing. And there was some junkie waiting for the train, too, begging us for cigarettes. He was one of the more friendly kind, and no harm done, but it was a bit unnerving still. But we could see the castle in the distance, and basked in the memory of a fine experience and in our respective company.

My friends, it´s good to know you!

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