Since T. K. Trian has also dabbled in some medieval type of fantasy in the past, we decided to make a little excursion to Finland’s old capital, Turku, and visit a three-day Medieval Fair held in the historical center of this old trade city.
While one can do a load of research at home for their writing, in the end nothing really beats the real thing. Unfortunately the absence of time travel technology limits our choices, but Turku Medieval Fair definitely didn’t leave us cold.
We arrived to Turku on June 28th and decided to spend the evening browsing the stands at the fair, leaving the jousting show and a museum tour for the next day.
Here’s a little pictorama of the two days:
There were some amazing foods sold at the fair; roasted nuts, caramelized apples, strips of meat straight from a whole pig, lollipops, salmiak, licorice, bratwurst-cabbage wraps, rye bread made by monks. and of course, beverages such as mead and beer. You really didn’t have to go hungry while adventuring around the market area (which was huge, spanning over a historical marketsquare, a park, and two riversides. Here are some pictures of the delicacies.
We also got to see fair folk at their medieval-type tasks. Of course the blacksmiths were most interesting to us, as we have a blacksmith character in our fantasy story, Red Bricks and Black Leather. It was a great opportunity to ask about making an armor and weapons, how long it would take, and so on. Hearing all this straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, makes this type of research a lot of fun, and you get to meet new people too.
But there were also soap makers (like in the Clutch song), bakers, washers, tanners, bow makers, painters, musicians… so many talents, so little time to acquaint oneself with them all. It would have been lovely to buy a bow, but they sure were expensive. We did buy a nifty dagger though!
This was possibly the most interesting event of the fair. We both adore horses, so the jousting show was nothing short of exciting, hence we also have a lot of pictures from there. But look at these animals, aren’t they majestic? And the skill level of the riders was also impressive. This is definitely something we’d love to try out ourselves someday! We are going riding next weekend (no mounted combat though) and instead of chargers, we’ll ride Icelandic horses!
Speaking of physicians, we also learned a bunch of new things about medieval medicine (as well as what was believed useful up until the early 20th century). You rid the body of evil to cure just about any ailment. You can do it in a number of ways.
1. First these lovely guys (historically. These two were actually girls) will examine you…
2. … by pinching your nipple to discover what was ailing you…
3. … then get rid of the bad blood. Because everyone knows bloodloss is healthy.
4. Unfortunately we don’t have a picture of the syringe, but to round up the treatment, the patient was lastly purged with a hefty enema. Got a headache? Let blood and have an enema. Got fever? Let blood and have an enema. Got indigestion? Let blood and have an enema. Got the plague? Let blood and have an enema. Got beheaded? Let blood and have an enema. There was nothing this combination couldn’t cure. The wonders of science…
Well, let’s wrap up this report from the comfort of a park bench. It’s time to return to writing with the help of newfound insight and knowledge of the ways of the days of yore. Godspeed to all ye faithful!
–T. K. Trian