Wow, time sure runs fast during summer. Now it is only 2,5 weeks before the medieval week in Visby, on the island Gotland here in Sweden and I have lots of work to do before we travel there. Me and love will be traveling with our friend L, and as usual, I will be at Kapitelhusgården holding workshops during the week. If you want to attend one of them you can prebook here.
There will also be a Secret Shop opening on a Secret Location in the market place during the week. If you know what I’m talking about- watch out for the sign!
Anyway, I haven’t had the time to write new posts for you, even if I have heaps of good photos and adventures to tell you about. They will have to wait until autumn, and instead I wanted to give you some reading tips (in Swedish and English) if you are preparing for Visby (or any other medieval/viking event) and want some inspiration.
Hope you will enjoy these links, and if you are going to visit Visby- I would be so happy if you came by and said hi to me =) Some of my most dear memories includes meeting readers and making new friends during the medieval week!
This Medieval week in Visby was rather different from my previous ones; I traveled without love (who was working) and lived indoors in a rented apartment with two friends. I also had workshops scheduled for every day I was there, and just had a free afternoon the day we arrived. So, with that said, I don’t have much photos since I was working a lot, but I wanted to share some moments with you- both by camera and words.
Me and my two friends really had the best living and it was easy to share with them, but we did have different hours so often I was on my own to and from work. It actually was really nice, I had some of my best moments because I was out on my own, strolling or talking with people and new friends I otherwise wouldn’t have time to see. I really recommend having some time on your own during the Medieval Week- it’s the perfect way of meeting new friends!
And adventuring on my own also means climbing things; even if wearing a full silk dress and veils…
One afternoon I met up with Minna to take some photos in the botanical garden, one of them is now the header for my social media! Here in the late afternoon light, trying to tie up my headwear without a mirror and enough pins (it ended up hanging from one side as you may have seen…)
Minna in her awesome hood; made from a manuscript from South Europe.
Work, I say? Yes, since I run Handcrafted History as my full-time commitment, most of my medieval and viking adventures and event is about work for me. I either have my market stall, selling clothes and handcrafting materials, or holding workshops and lectures. During Medieval Week, I mostly work at Kapitelhusgården, which is a lovely place and medieval restaurant in the middle of Visby. During the day, they offer workshops and lectures, and in the evening the garden transforms to a restaurant and pub, with a picnic-feeling. I love the place!
I am holding my workshops there during the week, and this year one of my attending handcrafters took some pictures with my camera- so I actually have some during-work-photos. (This usually never happen because I get so busy with the workshop and explaining things…) So this is what it could look like when I’m holding workshops! I usually wear medieval or viking clothing when I work, but on modern locations such as universities I wear my everyday clothing (if nothing else is requested).
Linnea whom I traveled and lived with
And J, from my local group, meeting in the park for a chat and some photos
Wow- look at this! Now my guide is out in English to; thanks to Riia who translated it because I didn’t have the time.
Why should you go to Medieval Week in Visby?
Because it is a delightful, lovely, and inspiring medieval festival, perfectly suited for those
who love fantasy, tales, and the Middle Ages, both for young and old, tourists and the genuine
thing. You dedicated re-enactors travel with the understanding at it is ever so much more fun
to share in the magic with thousands of tourists.
Where will you stay?
If you have medieval camp equipment: in Stryingheim’s SCA tent camp, just outside of the
city walls. In addition to being a secure camp with guards, food, good logistics, and near to
the old city, it is also a wonderful way to find a Medieval organization near you, meet new
friends and learn more about medieval crafts, fighting, archery, and cooking. SCAdians are
known to share freely both their knowledge and friendship—I think that it is the best place to
hang out, and the location of the best parties.
If you have a modern tent or travel for the relaxed medieval experience: Medieval week’s
damping (which has two separate parts) has a reputation for being a nice campground, and
one needn’t hide one’s milk cartons and grocery bags as one must in the SCA camp, where
one does one’s best to maintain the illusion of the best parts of the Middle Ages 24 hours a
Or rent a room—it can be a little spendy, but absolutely more personal than a hotel room!
Free time at Kapitelhusgården, I like it best there during the afternoon
Where will you eat?
I, as both a vegetarian and allergic, am rarely impressed by pub or restaurant offerings. I can
usually find a little salad, some Thai, a taco plate at Yoda (here they are not stingy with the
plates), and can relax at the “Munkkällaren”, in addition to the Medieval Resturant. The Visby
Ice Cream shop (Wisby glass), sells the best fresh ice cream and the cheese shop (Wisby ost)
sells the best luxury snacks and a really good gluten-free bread.
There are also some gems with good food in the Visby city center, and some that carry tasty
food late in evening (go where the locals go!), but the best option is to buy some picnic foods
from a grocery store outside the city walls. Fill a large basket of bread, fruit, cheese, sausage,
and something to drink, complete with a fresh carrots and raspberries from the large market.
Take it all to the beach, grassy lawns by the market place, or to a free concert and enjoy the
world’s cosiest picnic. You do know that picnics can be eaten at least three times a day? PS
extra chocolate and strawberries will attract new friends.
The Fire show and picnic go very well together.
Which activities are the best?
Medieval week begins already during the voyage over; take along a snack and something to
sew on, and you will fit in perfectly with all of the other happy medieval people who are
panic-sewing the last bits of their costumes. To sew on the ferry over is a well-established
tradition. On the return trip one doesn’t sew; one sleeps, and curses all of the parents who let
their children run wild.
The best place to relax and see entertainment is the Forum Vulgaris, at the market place,
which has been run by Proknekt for several years. Check out also the Medieval Week events
program to find such treats as open performances, dance and other workshops which occur
here and there within the city walls.
If you like the German fashions from the 1500’s then the “100 knectars” march is a must-see
cool experience. Drums and music echoes through the streets of Visby and the vibrations from
hundreds of feed can be felt through your entire body when they march through the town. Join
Kapitelhusgården is the location where I, and several other talented craftspeople teach courses
and give lectures over the week, so come by and learn a new craft technique! Many have held
their courses for several years and are real professionals who are outstanding in their field,
and here you have the chance to go to classes you would otherwise need to travel across half
of Sweden to attend.
Picnics in conjunction with the concerts, or in line for performances, and as a celebration after
performances, are cosy.
The Medieval garage sale is really fun, and is truly what it sounds like, but others have
discovered it, so be prepared to come early, and stand in line.
The Folksagosånger performance with David and Karro I will try to get to- when last I
listened to the duo they were good, witty, and had a wonderful atmosphere.
The prettiest places:
The botanical garden is one of my favourite places during the day: a beautiful garden with
nice benches and happy people strolling past. The little market at Kapitelhusgården and a
glass to drink in the afternoon before it becomes crowded. Beach walks during sunset, the
Trix fire show on Wednesday evening (go there for the atmosphere as much as the
performance), and the old city with in the city walls, with all of the narrow streets and
beautiful roses which climb along the house fronts. Magic!
Outside of Visby there is a pretty countryside on the road to the sea-stack Jungfru and the blue
lagoon, an old limestone quarry which provides clear and warm swimming water, well worth
the day’s excursion.
How long should I stay?
The whole week, at least! The town is Medieval from Saturday till the following week’s
Sunday, and if you want to see more of Gotland, you perhaps will need a few extra days. I can
never understand how a week can go by so quickly, and I never manage to see and do
everything I had planned. On the other hand, I am a confirmed Medieval nerd, and besides I
do work half the week. In recent years it has taken me several days before I even managed to see the whole market…
It can be really bone-chilling cold in the evenings—take along a warm cloak (or jacket or
It is good to bring along a pack of re-hydration tablets to mix with drinking water during the
heat of the day when you have walked too much. Bring also a large bottle to carry water; you
can fill it at water faucets in the market.
Visby’s streets are mostly cobblestone or asphalt, take along really comfortable shoes so that
your knees don’t complain after half a week.