Monday, 17 August 2009

Back home from Cave Gladium

We are back home from a wonderful weekend at Cave Gladium, where I was lucky from beginning to end - wonderful sunny weather (even a bit too hot sometimes), what must have been the best place for a stall on the whole market (right on the "main street" between food area/toilets and the "Hurenweibl"*), incredibly nice colleagues and neighbors all around, and gazillions of people coming by for a question, a chat or a peek into my dissertation manuscript. The latter were so many and so frequent that we put a straw mattress on the ground behind my table and declared it "reader's corner".

And of course there were the requisite food stalls offering a wide variety of things (but I've seen no potato goods), a stage for music (far enough from the stall not to disturb us), there were oriental dried fruits like figs, dates with walnut and nuts, and the"Teezelt", a kind of oriental café that you get on about every larger medieval market in Germany to buy mokka with spices, mint or black tea and sweets to go with your beverage. And I just love to go there for a mokka after closing shop at dusk (because nobody can see my fine threads anyway once it starts getting dark). And a thing seldom seen: One wandering musician walking through the whole festival area playing pipe and tabor - the classical medieval one-man-band!

Taking all together, the Cave is a wild mixture of stalls selling tourist wares, stalls showing and selling wares for Living History, visitors, LH people and costumed people, and everything with a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere. And the Cave is big, no, huge even. I'd say if the Cave organisers take a little care during the next years that the tourist ware stalls don't take over, this festival will soon be as big and as important as Freienfels and Tannenberg, both events for the LH scene but open to tourists.

* The "Hurenweibl" at Cave Gladium is a tavern for LH folks only; there's a guard at the entrance allowing only historically dressed people to pass. (Cave Gladium also sports a "no-tourists-area", a meadow reached only over a little bridge with a guard posted before it as well.)
A Hurenweibel was the officer in charge of the Tross (the camp followers) of the Landsknecht armies. A lot of the tourists are a bit nonplussed by this tavern name or start laughing because "Hure" is the German word for "whore", and "Weib" today is still another word for wife, but in many German regions, its meaning has slipped somewhat from neutral or positive in former times to slightly derogatory. So people not knowing that "Weibl" is an old form of "Webel" as in "Feldwebel" often are misled by the tavern name.

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