Medieval dress up at the Festival of the Rose

Trip Start Nov 12, 2003
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Trip End Jul 14, 2004


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Flag of Czech Republic  ,
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

On the train to Kutna Hora we met a couple who were also heading to Cesky Krumlov the next day, thats when we found our about the 3 day festival of the rose. It is such an attraction that the entire town was booked out, but we thought we'd take a risk and chance it anyway (I think the exact words were "nobody's stupid enough to go without a booking"). It turns out that stupidy pays off and the first hostel we went to had a cancelled booking.

During the festival the old town is closed off and you have to buy a ticket to get in (cheap)

That night we watched the opening ceremony, a play in czech that we guessed was about some guys hallucinations. It had one scene where guys dressed as sperms are trying to shoot themselves out of a cannon, (trying to get you know where using a map) hilarious in any language. Another interesting scene involved the most bizarre use of actors as puppets in a very thunderbirds sort of way. It doesn't sound so funny written down, but we were in hysterics and didn't understand a word.

Further in to the festival we went to see the some displays of medieval combat, involving a variety of weapons in an funny little play. I got to hurl some throwing axes at a wooden board which is amusing and harder than imagined. One of the main events was a recreation of a knights tourney between 6 knights representing the towns of the rose. The tourney involved spear throwing, Mongol beheading, and of course jousting, unfortunately the weather turned foul on us and had to leave after our fingers started wrinkling up. After so much travelling you'd think we would have bought an umbrella by now, and we have definately needed one, but we keep thinking like Wellingtonians, that the wind will make the umbrella useless anyway.

Possibly a larger theme than the medieval one is drinking. The prices are cheap and the locals go mad drinking and eating sausages in bread, it felt like a barbecue that didn't stop. There was even pigs roasting on the spit and hot mead to drink while listening to old time hootenany music to add to the authentic atmosphere. The pubs near the town square didn't close the entire time.

3 day fest of 14th century fun, locals in dress, comedies/shows, games, demonstrations, drinking.

After the festival we had to actually get out of the small old town and see some more of the area. Someone recommended we go to visit a castle ruin, Divci Kamen, accessible by walking through the forest. To get there we had to take a train to a town (2 buildings) 20 minutes away and then follow the signs (all in Czech of course). The path was a dirt road that led through feilds, forest and villages to the castle. All that was left of the castle was some walls, but this added to the charm of the place. It had been left to the forest and as a result there was trees growing high up on the walls and the place felt real, not sanitised. Best of all there was hardly anyone else there.

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walking the hillside,

different town after festival, very quiet.
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