HANDCRAFTED HISTORY


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Medieval camping adventures

Come with us on a trip through Sweden and see how we live in a historical tent for one week! (And get my best tip for making your camping adventure a success!)

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One of the things I really like with our hobby is the historical camping on different events and markets. During Double Wars we packed the car and a trailer with all our camping gear, a friend and his stuff, some extras, a picnic bag… and then began the drive down to southern Sweden.

Geographically we live in the middle of Sweden, but that doesn’t mean it is close to all events, this drive took us about 15 hours, and we chose to split it up on two days, with some sightseeing in the breaks. Because we traveled with lots of gear we chose to stay at a hotel along the road, where we could lock the car and trailer in a secure place.

  • planning breaks or overnight stays along the way makes the trip much more smooth, and you wont get dangerously tired while driving. Remember that you may want to leave your packing in a secure space during the night.

Finally at site, we could drive in to our designated place and dump everything out from the car and trailer. It is common that you may drive in and out from sites before and after the main event, but during the week/weekend when most people have come, you may not be able or permitted to drive all the way in to camp. This is both because the cars may not have space enough to drive in, but also because it makes the historical encampment much more boring if cars will roll by every day…

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  • check with the schedule when you will arrive/leave and if you may drive in your car close to the camp then. It is no small task to carry everything in by hand…

Once everything was out in the grass we could set up our pavilion and get everything in place. The new pavilion was way more expensive than our previous, home-made tent, but we are really satisfied with it, both the quality and how much room we have inside. Our friend E got a section of his own, and we hade a sleeping area with draperies and a double bed.

  • to make the building of camp run nicely; bring good shoes, gloves, a snack, something to drink and extra ropes, pegs and the like. A sledge/hammer, shovel and knife are good tools to have close by. Also bring a cover for your things; if it rains everything will get wet!

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Our new home is done! Except the tent we also had a small outdoor kitchen area with a sunroof, table, benches, a fire pit and cooking gear. We didn’t bring everything by ourself, we shared the camp with friends.

  • The question is always; what to bring and what will I need? Of course, packing space and the amount of things you own is an important matter, but always try to plan your trip for “worst case scenario”. What kind of clothing will you need if the nights are cold? For keeping dry? What kind of bedding to keep warm and comfortable during the night? Maybe some medicines if you get a cold or a stomach flu? To be wet, cold, sick or sleep bad during an event never makes it fun. Makes these things your priority when packing, and then fill up with pretty clothing, extra kitchen wares, nice flags and more.

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This is what the tent looked like inside while we were moving in. We like carpets on the ground to have something dry to put down items and feet on. Under the bed we also had a plastic floor (a tarpaulin) to protect camping gear and the bed from wetness. It is very practical to have a part of your tent that will always be dry no matter the weather outside! In the wooden bed we use two modern mattresses that is easy to pack, and makes us sleep very good during long stays. Over them we have our sheep skins and then sheets, covers, blankets and feather pillows.

  • Sleeping good is very important. I discovered that feather pillows and duvets covered in woolen blankets makes for the perfect warm and cozy bed. I make sure to cover the bed during the day with a woolen blanket to keep air moisture or rain out, and always bring a sleeping hat/cap, extra woolen socks, and ear plugs to have a good night sleep. Don’t survive outdoors, instead enjoy outdoors!

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And done! I like to be able to hang things inside the tent, to have a table to put things on, and some sort of storage for food, dishes and other items. Without storage the tent will be impossible to live in after a few days…

  • Outdoors I say? Yep; there will be bugs and small things coming inside. Avoid some of them by keeping the food stored away (we use plastic bins for that, hidden under the bed, under a cloth or inside baskets). I also hang my laundry or store it dry, keep the jugs and bottles upside down or closed and shake out my shoes before I put them on in the morning. A mosquito net over your bed can be a real saver, lets children sleep well, and take almost no space in your packing.

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Shared joy is double joy! (in Swedish a proverb; “delad glädje är dubbel glädje”.) Share the camp with friends (new or old) and bring what you have in furniture, kitchen gear, wood and the like. Maybe you want to arrange the best wild-onion-swinging-partycamp ever, the largest childrens-picnic or an elegant cocktail party theme? Be sure to tell your friends and neighbors of your ideas of beforehand and get their approval, to have all the festivities at the same time might be a bad idea…

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  • Try to make some activities with the whole camp you live in. Maybe cooking together, share a meal, have a small party or just hang out. During festivals, markets and SCA events there are lots of things to see and do, but some of the best memories from my adventures come from hanging out with people I like, without doing anything special!

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Getting to know new people. Maybe you don’t have lots of friends to share your historical adventures with yet? Well, go out and find some! Meeting new people and making new friends can be hard and tiring, but also rewarding. Here is my best actions to do so during SCA events. (The photo above is from a handcrafting picnic during Double Wars.)

  • Check out the schedule, and attend the activities that sounds interesting. Maybe you don’t have the right gear or knowledge; show up anyway really early and ask the organizer if there is anything you could borrow or some try-outs before or after. I like sewing meetings and picnics, archery and parties.
  • Join big gatherings like courts, open practices or handcrafting picnics. Ask questions, be interested, mention that you are new/would like to get to know people/love embroidery or whatever you like.
  • Don’t take a no or a turn down personally. Maybe you misunderstood and the meeting was just for kitchen staff, or that interesting handcrafter you met yesterday now has a terrible cold/migraine and don’t want to hang out. Thats ok, it is not you.
  • Help out. You don’t have to be a slave, but it is a good way to make new friends while doing things. Maybe the kitchen needs a helping hand (that is where the party is, right?), someone needs some help with carrying, or organizing a game/practice/cake eating contest or whatever. When people (especially swedes) work, they tend to be more talkative. And you have something in common!
  • Be generous. With your time, attention, knowledge, friendship and what you have. If you attend an open picnic; bring some cookies. If you are going to an open party; take something to drink or share. Maybe you don’t know shit about medieval clothing, but you know a really fast way to mend socks? Share around!

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Time to say goodbye? When the event comes to an end, it is time to pack everything together, say goodbye to all new friends you made and begin the journey home. Be gentle and kind to yourself when packing and traveling; nothing is worse than tearing down a camp with panic, being sick or tired after a party night that was a bit late. Allow yourself plenty of time, food and a good night sleep before a long traveling day.

  • Plan your travel with extra time if something goes wrong. A wet camp is slower to pack than a dry one, bad weather or heavy traffic can slow things down.
  • Consider when to pack and take down your tent. During the day the tent fabric dries out and the risk of mold is less, maybe it is possible to take down the tent during high noon? If early done, you can always attend one more picnic..?
  • Allow the driver a restive night, to travel safely. Plan snacks, and breaks or change of drivers if you travel far.
  • During some events, everyone wants to leave at the same time. This means it might get crowded, busy and hard to drive the car inside the camp. Check with the organizers what time could be good for packing and bringing out your camp.
  • Always clean after yourself. Clean your campsite, fill out fire pits, take away trash… and then lend a hand to cleaning some common space that you have used during your stay (like a toilet, kitchen area, sweeping). When everybody does this, things get really nice and efficient.

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And last but not least; when you have arrived home remind yourself about how awesome your adventure was while doing laundry, cleaning and unpacking. It might be a bit tiring with adventures…

 

 


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My guide to the Medieval Week at Visby

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
day.
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
them!


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…


Think about:
It can be really bone-chilling cold in the evenings—take along a warm cloak (or jacket or
sweater).
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.

Spara

Spara


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Min guide till Medeltidsveckan

Elin som driver Nevnarien.se gjorde en sådan himla fin guide till Medeltidsveckan i Visby, så jag blev inspirerad att skriva min egen. Elin älskar sagovärlden, schysst stämning och snygga fotomiljöer, och kanske märks det i hennes guide? Vad jag är insnöad på, det får ni veta här…

(this post is only in Swedish, and is a guide for the medieval week in Visby. Are you going? Use google translate to get some good tip about places to go!)

Varför ska du åka till medeltidsveckan?

För att det är en glad, kärleksfylld och inspirerande festival med medeltidstema. Passar både dig som gillar fantasy, sagor och medeltid; gammal som ung, turistig eller genuin. Du som är inbiten reenactare åker med inställningen att du kommer behöva dela allt magiskt med tusentals turister- men ju fler desto roligare?

Var ska du bo?

Om du har medeltida läger; I Styringheims SCAläger utanför murarna. Förutom att det är ett tryggt läger med vakter, mat, god logistik och nära till innerstan är det ett superbra sätt att hitta en medeltidsförening nära dig, träffa nya vänner och lära dig mer om medeltida hantverk, kämpalek, bågskytte och matlagning. SCAiter är kända för att strössla fritt med både kunskap och vänskap- bästa hänget, och bästa festerna händer här tycker jag.

Om du har ett modernt tält eller åker för att medeltidshänga avslappnat: Medeltidsveckans camping (som har två olika delar) har rykte om sig att vara en trevlig camping, och här behöver du inte gömma filpaket och icapåse vilket uppmuntras till i SCAlägret- där man gör sitt bästa för att hålla en illusion av den goda medeltiden under dygnets alla timmar.

Eller hyr privat- det kan bli lite av varje men definitivt mer personligt än ett hotellrum!

Var ska du äta?

Jag som är både vegetarian och allergisk blir sällan imponerad av krog eller restaurangutbud. Det brukar bli lite sallader, lite thai, en taccotallrik på Yoda (här snålas inte på tallriken) och häng på Munkkällaren, förutom de medeltida restaurangerna. Wisby glass säljer den bästa färska glassen, och Wisby ost (liten delikatessbutik) har bästa lyxsnacksen och superbra glutenfritt bröd.

Det finns alltså några guldkorn med bra mat inne i Visby stad, och några hak som lastar på smaskig mat sent på kvällen (gå dit ortsborna går!) men det bästa hänget får du genom att köpa med dig picknickmat från någon av mataffärerna utanför ringmuren. Bunkra upp en stor korg full av bröd, frukt, ost, korv och dryck och komplettera med pinfärska morötter och hallon från stora marknaden. Ta med allt till strandpromenaden, gräsytorna på marknadsplatsen eller en gratis spelning och få världen mysigaste picknick. Ni vet väl att picknick kan ätas minst tre gånger om dagen? Ps; extra choklad och jordgubbar lockar till sig nya vänner.

Eldshow och picknick. Passar ihop

Vilka aktiviteter är bäst?

Medeltidsveckan börjar redan på färjan över; ta med fika och något att sy på så kommer du passa in som en smäck bland alla glada medeltidsmänniskor som paniksyr in i det sista. Att sy på färjan över är liksom en tradition. På färjan hem syr du inte. Då sover du. Och förbannar alla barnföräldrar som släpper sina monster fria att härja som de vill.

Forum Vulgaris på marknadsplatsen har drivits av Proknekt under flera år, bästa stället att hänga på för att få se föreställningar. Spana också in programmet för att hitta små godbitar i form av öppna spelningar, dans och workshops som händer runt om i innerstaden.

Om man gillar det tyska 1500talsmodet så är 100 knektars marsch också ett måste- ja, för alla som gillar coola upplevelser! Trummor och musik ekar genom Visbys gator och vibrationerna från hundratals fötter känns i hela kroppen när över 100 knektar tågar genom staden. Gå med du också!

På Kapitelhusgården håller jag, och flera andra skickliga hantverkare kurser och föreläsningar under veckan; så kom förbi och lär dig helt nya hantverkstekniker! Många har hållit kurser i flera år, är riktiga proffs och framstående inom sina områden, så här finns möjlighet att gå på kurser du annars hade behövt resa runt halva Sverige för att få tillgång till.

Picknickhäng i samband med spelningar, köande till spelningar och som fest efter spelningar är mysigt.

Medeltidsloppisen är jätterolig och verkligen vad den låter som- men fler har upptäckt den så var beredd på att komma tidigt och köa!

Folksagosånger med David och Karro ska jag försöka pricka in; senast vi lyssnade på duon så var det både stämningsfullt, bra och underfundigt roligt.

Vackraste platserna:

Botaniska trädgården är ett av mina favoritställen under dagarna; vacker trädgård, fina bänkar och glada människor som strosar förbi. Kapitelhusgårdens lilla marknad + ett glas dryck under eftermiddagen innan det blir trångt här. Strandpromenaden under solnedgången, Trixs eldshow under onsdagskvällen (gå dit för stämningen lika mycket som för showen) och Visby innerstad med alla trånga gränder och vackra rosor som klättrar längs husfasaderna. Magiskt!

Utanför Visby finns vacker landsbygd på väg till rauken Jungfrun och Blå Lagunen, ett kalkstensbrott som bjuder på klart och varmt badvatten. Väl värt en dagsutflykt.

Hur lång semester?

Hela veckan, minst! Medeltid är det från lördag till nästa veckas söndag, och vill du ser mer av Gotland så kanske du behöver några dagar till. Jag kan aldrig fatta att en vecka kan gå så fort, och hinner aldrig se och göra allt jag har tänkt mig. Å andra sidan är jag ju en inbiten medeltidsnörd, och jobbar dessutom halva veckan. De senaste åren har det tagit mig några dagar att ens hinna mingla ned till marknaden…

Tänk på:

Det kan bli riktigt råkallt på kvällarna- ta med en varm mantel (eller jacka/tjocktröja).

Ett paket vätskeersättning, att blanda i dricksvattnet under varma dagar när du promenerar mycket, är bra att ta med. Ta också med en stor flaska att ha vatten i, fyller på gör du vid vattenstationerna på marknaden.

Visbys gator består till stor del av kullersten eller asfalt- ta med riktigt sköna skor att gå i så knäna inte klagar efter halva veckan.

Spara


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The SCA event “Double Wars”

This week has been going real fast, maybe too fast forward. We are packing and preparing for the big SCA event Double Wars, which takes place in southernmost Sweden. In our case, that includes a 10 hour long drive over half of Sweden. I really like roadtrips, sweatheart isn’t that thrilled, but I promised we could buy a bag of candy to come along in the car…(yes, that worked)

The event is a really big one, and also over a week long, with outdoor medieval encampments and lots and lots of activities such as archery, handcrafting, cooking, fighting and such. And parties, of course. The event is also commonly referred to as “Knäcke” which basically means the hard, swedish crispbread. To make the war a bit more interesting, somewere in the beginning people wanted to find som real (but not political or religious) issue to battle about. The choise fell on what side of the crispbread you should put your butter on (a very noble issue indead) so now, every year in Sweden, hundreds of fighters gathers to battle over what side of the bread is the right one… Brilliant! Sometime it is the details that is the most important.

We have been building some simple furniture for our camp, sewing som new garments (mostly underwear) and preparing meals and a comfy camp. Lots of extra job, and my business have been somewhat put on the side for some days. But I’m sure looking forward to the event, were I will have workshops and a market place during the market days.

Our friend R visited us earlier this week, and got the nice task of helping with our tent… (he’s way taller than I am, perfect for reaching to the top of the tent). As you can see, there isn’t much grass and greens yet- the spring has been rather late and cold so I’m packing som warm woolen dresses, a hood and some woolen socks for sleeping in (wool really is the best for keeping warm).

Yesterday I realised that there was going to be a mask bal at the event. I’m last on the cake, I know, but I suddenly wanted to make some masks… Now, of to do some more laundry, packing, cooking and other shores…

I wont be posting here during the week, but you can follow our adventure on Instagram at #handcraftedhistory. And if you’re going to the event- you can find me at Lady Branna’s camp and I would love it if you came by and talked to me!

Spara