I confess to enjoying the antics of “Ren Fairs” while I was in college, dressing up in a medieval gown and wielding swords and chalices. But then I “grew up” and didn’t give it much thought for many years. But recently Dan informed me that a co-worker of his is heavily into such activities in the area and we were invited to join him at a small local event.
It was a quick tram ride to the town of Floh on the French border south of Basel and we hiked up the hill to the Landskron ruins where the festival would be held. We’d made this trip before, early in our move to Basel. Back then there was snow on the ground and it looked lifeless and cold. This time it would be green and sunny. Dan’s co-worker (Guy) had said that we could borrow some costumes for the day and we took him up on it. It was a lovely day and the location was small and intimate. Here are some of those pictures, in no particular order:
Now was the famous festival in St Ursane, a tiny village of 1,000 people about an hour south of Basel on the French border. Guy had once again invited us to join him, offering up the costumes for us to wear so that we could blend in with the fun. We got a very late start to our day, having taken it easy after our long day riding the previous day, and didn’t arrive in St Ursane until 1:30. The place was packed. Guy had told us that it was a well-attended festival, with an estimated 60,000 people visiting over three days. We had arrived on the second half of the last day.
We entered the 13th century town and started our search for Guy. This was no easy task, as the crowds were thick and the merchant stalls numerous. We toured street after street but while we found sheep, blacksmiths, jugglers, puppets and knights, there was no Guy. It was two hours into our tour of the 14th century before we found a clue to Guy’s location but by then, we were in no condition to put on the costumes and wander about for another two hours.
I’ll just toss a bunch of pictures in here, with maybe a word or two of explanation.
Not everyone dresses up in fancy clothing.
Old-school bee hives and suit!
It was fun to take a step back into history and I only wish that things had worked out with meeting up with Guy. It is always fun to participate in something like this then to just play tourist. Maybe next time!