Friday, June 21, 2013

Jousting, Castles, and Still Waters. Only in Trakai!

Over the weekend I went to the Trakai Medieval Festival with my roommates, Kaitlin and Jonathan, and one of our Marines here, Sergeant Mario Stokes. We heard about this festival weeks before and it was something we were looking forward to for a while. We arrived at the bus station and ordered our tickets. Twenty minutes later we were in Trakai. We had to laugh as we paid 1LT to use the bathroom, something we have never seen in America. We stopped to look at a map to find out where to go next, but instead made the right decision to just follow the huge crowds of people walking up one particular street. We were making our way to the castle!

In America, I have been to many Medieval Festivals where the days of the renaissance are relived through costumes  food, crafts, and shows. Never have I seen a festival as authentic, however, as the one I experienced in Trakai. Once we arrived we got food and drink and got a nice place to watch the jousting show and archery competition.
As you can tell from the pictures, it was rather crowded. So we climbed up a small wall in order to see the show better. Again, this was incredibly authentic...so much so that one could tell that the jousts were not choreographed at all! They were actually fighting as if they were back at the castle, fighting for pride and land and to keep enemies back from the stronghold. Blows were passed from knight to knight, one was knocked off his feet, and I could see a few dents being made in the helms.


 As the sun went down, we started walking towards the bigger castle. It was unfortunately closed for a private party, but it was just as beautiful walking around the island on which the castle is located as it was to see the inside. We had dinner right on the lake -- with a beautiful sunset to boot.  We hope to visit beautiful Trakai again before we leave!