Gumeracha Medieval Fair

6 05 2012

I finally made it to the Gumeracha Medieval Fair, after having seen advertisements for many years. Set in scenic Federation Park in Gumeracha in the Adelaide Hills, the themed marquees, the central town square for entertainments and the large number of costumed participants and attendees made this an interesting variation on the town fair. Seeing a monk or a damsel in medieval costume texting on their i-phone made for an interesting look!

Federation Park features some amazingly large gum trees set around a creek. The fair covered both sides of the creek with a wooden foot-bridge to cross from one side to another. The food stalls were themed (sausage rolls became rat in a roll), a central “tavern” tent served spiced Mead and old-fashioned soft drinks, and in addition to the many stalls offering things for sale, there were also displays of wood-carving, knife-sharpening, blacksmithing and spinning. Displays of medieval warcraft including archery, catapults, and knights battling it out in sword-fights to win the hand of a “not-so-fair” maiden (turned out to be a man in drag) were complimented by displays where the exhibitors talked about how various weapons and household implements were made and used. Helmets and chain mail were available to try on – and to buy.

So all in all quite a fun day (it actually ran all weekend), although late afternoon light rain seemed to call the end of the fair slightly before the advertised time.

Want some more photographs of Australia?
St Nicholas comes to Hahndorf
Prehistoric Australia
Prehistoric Australia

Advertisements




The troglodytes of Maison Fort de Reignac

15 02 2012

Maison Fort de Reignac is a 14th century fort clinging to the side of a vertical cliff. It is a combination castle/fort which towers about five or six stories of uneven floors, winding staircases and at the top, ladders. It is a miracle of early architecture that it has managed to stay upright over the centuries.

The people who lived in this castle/fort were nobles. One of the rooms was done up as a lady’s room, complete with tapestries on the walls and the comforts a noble lady would expect. Quite how she climbed the stairs in her skirts is another matter.

At the back of the fort was a cave which was being excavated by archeologists. The items being removed showed that this particular cave had been in occupation since Neanderthal times. The fort-dwellers were simply the latest in a long line of peoples who had found the cave in the cliff-side to be an excellent vantage point to spot oncoming enemies and perhaps herds of game. A number of items from the digs were on display.

One of the upper rooms also had a display of curios brought back from all over the world – dried puffer fish and turles, shells – and a collection of shrunken heads. Another room was used as a holding cell with a special hole z-shaped hole in the wall for passing food through so that the prisoner and the guard could not see each other directly.

This unique site also featured a memorable exhibition of torture equipment, complete with quite explicit explanations of how the equipment was used. Humans can be really horrible to each other and the types of suffering inflicted by human beings using these machines on other human beings was eye-opening. And I thought I knew a lot about medieval torture. In the end I actually walked out of this display halfway through. Luckily they specify no children and no photography in this room so hopefully over time the memories will fade. This was definitely not for the squeamish and you might want to give this particular room a miss.

view of the fort from the carpark

view from the entrance of the fort - great place to spot approaching armies

base of the fort

base of the fort - upper levels are less conventional in appearance

entrance to the fort

displasy of items dug from the back of the cave behind the fort

displays of items dug out from the caves at the back of the fort

paved floor

view from one of the lookouts

looking down at the carpark

torture cage - for humans

display of curios including shrunken heads

view from the lookout at the top of the fort - a very long way up the cliff


If you liked this post you might also like some more posts from France…..
Arrival in Paris
Caves of Lascaux
Notre Dame
French menus
Standing Stones of Carnac
Les Grottos en France
The Louvre
Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)
Streets of Paris
Arc de Triomphe





the amazing gardens of Château de Villandry

11 02 2012

I find geometric designs very attractive – almost mesmerising – so one of the more memorable châteaux we visited in France was Château de Villandry in the Loire Valley (Vallee de Loire) which boasts the most amazing geometrically designed gardens.

As with all the Châteaux we visited, there were two ticket prices – Château , and Château + gardens. In this case the gardens are very much worth the visit, although their true spectacle is probably best viewed from the upper floors or rooftop of the Château. The gardens are not only ornamental, they are also symbolic (many of the designs symbolise various aspects of love) and functional – many of the plants are vegetables. One can only assume there is a team of gardeners employed year-round to keep these gardens in such amazing condition.

Enough chit-chat – these gardens speak for themselves!

we arrived at the châteaux on a murky morning luckily it cleared up quite quickly.

the gardens have a series of canals stocked with large gold and black fish


Want more photos of France? Here are a few more….

Arrival in Paris
Caves of Lascaux
Notre Dame
French menus
Standing Stones of Carnac
Les Grottos en France
The Louvre
Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)
Streets of Paris
Arc de Triomphe
The troglodytes of Maison Fort de Reignac
Fontainebleau – Versailles without the queues
Chartres
La Seine
Theme Parks, French Style
Where Da Vinci lived