Regensburg

On the town side of the Danube, opening night of the Regensburg jazz festival offers the predictable pleasures of beer, pretzels and jazz. Yet cross the river and one passes through a Bavarian looking-glass, to a place where Germans of all ages, resplendent in medieval clothes, are partying like it’s Bilbo’s eleventy-first birthday. With jousting, sword-fights, archery, fortune telling, suspicious herbal brews, medieval board games, cider, mead, beer, beer-wenches and more beer, it’s a more ridiculous thing than words can describe, and an awful lot more fun. I have no idea what all this neo-feudal chic is in aid of, but who cares? In amongst the knights, ladies, warlocks and hobbits, there was even a man dressed up as a leper! At least, I thought he was pretending….

As I sit with a cup of mead to watch a medieval drama unfold – complete with authentically antiquated musical instruments – an arrow whizzes past my head, and a lady who would have been considered pin-up material (in the 12th century), winks lustily in my direction. I asked a wizened prophetess if this happens very often (this sort of festival, I mean) and she answered “Ja, but not often enough.”

I raise my mead and heartily agree.

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