12 July 2009

Vienna Mittelaltermarkt - Middle Ages Market Festival

We went to a Rennaissance Fair, which is called a Middle Ages Market in German. It was held at the Aresenal military history museum in Vienna, so naturally it started with a demonstration of various artillery pieces and some musketeers.

They provided ear plugs, which was good because the cannons were VERY loud. Elora was more afraid of the ear plugs than the prospect of the cannons at first, but that quickly changed after she heard the cannons the first time.

Check out the fire coming out of the guy's musket in the middle. And the lady on the end kept having a malfunction with her weaponery. That's what they get for letting a lady join the Musketeers, says Chris ("punk!" says Karen).

After our ears decompressed, we checked out the childrens festival. Here is Elora painting a flag. She was very excited to use all the different paint colors and only got one little drop on her dress. Unfortunately, later in the day when she was playing with her flag, the paint was still wet and it attacked the back of her hair...

Next they had these neat little castles setup where kids could throw balls at them and knock down sections of it. After Elora had learned so much about castles being "sieged" and soldiers knocking down the castle walls this was exciting for her. She stood quite a bit closer than most kids...

Ollie kept picking up the balls and running away. Meanwhile all the other Austrian kids didn't let the fact that Ollie was standing in front of the castle deter them from throwing more balls. Luckily Europeans don't know how to throw balls, they can only kick them, so Ollie was safe...

Elora also enjoyed "Crossing the moat" where they had to use these two boards to build alternating, sequential bridges across the grass. We were impressed that Elora so quickly grasped the problem solving nature of the excercise.

And here she is smiling after she realized she could bypass the antiquidated rules and just pick the boards up and walk to finish line.

The best part was the mini catapult they used to launch projectiles at a knight set up in the middle of the field. Elora loves this and we're going to build several when we move back home.

The last game was a jousting game where the kids got to charge some rings holding a lance. Elora thought that was pretty cool. So did Daddy.

There were lots of stands selling medieval goods. We didn't buy much, but we'll be going to some more festivals later this summer where there will hopefully be better deals.

Every now and then there would be a sudden outburst and people would just get up and challenge each other to a sword fight. They actually used real, heavy swords too. Most of the time they didn't swing hard, except for this guy and girl must have been married because they weren't pulling any punches...

We also found Hamish from Braveheart. See the guy on the left from Braveheart? We think he retired to life as a medieval music player. Elora was entranced by the metallic string sound.

Dragoons! Notice the lady in the middle. Apparently they didn't trust her with a sword? Notice further the teeth on her horse.

Elora was excited to ride the pony. She just got to sit on it though, no pony rides unfortunately :(
We asked Oliver if he wanted to ride it and he said, "Dah!" (Ollie for yes) and dove for the horse. However, once he was sitting on it he dove for Mom instead and was content to just poke it in the nostrils.

Elora enjoyed the weapons immensely. Later in the day she said, "I love guns! Do you love guns Daddy?" Daddy just smiled and said yes. Funny because we actually don't talk about guns that much, but I guess all the castles and soldiers and stuff rub off on her.

Here's Elora waving her flag after it dried.

Ollie made a flag too and he was very happy to wave his around.

And the best part of the trip was the Fladenbrot mit Kartoffel und Speck - flat bread with potatoes and bacon chunks. It came right from a wood burning oven and it was amazing. We ordered two. Plus a huge loaf of bread to take home.

Later in the day we walked by the jousting stand and Elora ran over, grabbed a lance and started jousting all by herself.

She was so happy to see all the other kids posing inside this suit of armor that she had to try it too. She got inside and said, "Now I'm a knight!" She was sooooooo excited. It was a great day with only a few tears in between the various rounds of cannons that blasted every hour. And she's been sword fighting and talking about cannons ever since we got home...

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