Postcard from Germany

18 08 2008

I am in Germany right now and thought I would take a moment to post some quick photos!  I have stayed primarily in the Baden-Wurttemberg area so far, specifically in Stuttgart and Freiburg, as I am visiting my sister and brother-in-law. 

The Black Forest

My impression of Germany so far is that the countryside is incredibly scenic and the historic town centers look like they come straight out of a fairy tale.  To me, the Black Forest actually looks like it should contain damsels in distress and princes to rescue them.

Landeck, outside of Freiburg.

A quaint street in the city of Freiburg.

When I get back to the US, I hope to be writing a whole series on Germany.  I cannot wait to visit Munich, Neuschwanstein in Fussen, and Rothenburg next week!


Bristol Renaissance Faire

1 08 2008

Hail and well met! On a fair July morn at week’s end, we partook in a visit to the wondrous Bristol Renaissance Faire in the fair state of Wisconsin on the border of Illinois. Amongst fair maidens and brave knights, we strolled through the village, wondered at pretty shiny trinkets, and witnessed such exciting events as her majesty’s court and an acrobatic show. We treated ourselves to ye giant turkey leg and drank refreshing lemon water and root beer.

Woooh, that paragraph took about 20 minutes to write. Well I tried anyway!

The modern day Renaissance Faire is a uniquely American creation that is part amusement park, part historical reenactment, and part commercial enterprise. After paying the $16 entrance fee, all shows and entertainment are free but visitors pay for any food and of course anything that catches their fancy in the many shoppes around the fair. While European historical fairs have long existed, they are more focused on historical accuracy and education. The focus of the American Renaissance Fair is entertainment and fun that is not always historically accurate.

The grand entrance to the faire did not disappoint, and even included a comely peasant wench.

The streets are lined with shoppes and places to eat, interspersed with entertaining characters and shows. You can try your hand at trying to climb Jacob’s ladder (an exercise in balance), try to hit a giant mallet as hard as you can, or practice archery, among other things.

As with most fairs of this type, the Bristol Renaissance Faire is set in England during the reign of Elizabeth I. In particular, this fair recreates the Queen’s visit to the city of Bristol in 1574.

Above we witness the happenings of her majesty’s court.

Actors in full period dress roam the fair interacting with visitors. They even had authentic looking beggars. Visitors can choose to come in costume, and many do. There is no pressure to dress up though (we did not).

Some visitors go all out and come dressed up with their friends, and wear scary looking weapons. We loved this guy’s fur cape and giant mallet.

Shops were abundant throughout the entire fair and you could purchase period clothing, staffs, wands, shiny costume jewelry and even chain mail.

Above is a skilled glass blower using a blowtorch shaped like a dragon.

Here is a shoppe selling walking staffs.

Free shows happened almost every hour and there were a large variety from which to choose. Besides the main jousting events, there were acrobat shows, comedy shows, a mud pit where beggars wrestled, and the queen’s court.

We really enjoyed the acrobatic show.

The Bristol Renaissance Faire runs for 9 weekends during the summer from July through the beginning of September. Although it is a summer activity, the structures and grounds are permanent and quite large.

Despite the heat and humidity, Charles and I really enjoyed our Saturday here at the Ren faire. It was our first time and and I’m sure we will be returning next summer!

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