Back in Denmark for the weekend of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, there were several local activities we wanted to attend. The solstice, also known as Midsummer, is a big holiday in Scandinavia; some say it’s second only to Christmas.
Saturday, there was a Medieval Fair taking place at Esrum Abbey. According to Wikipedia, “Esrum Abbey began as a Benedictine foundation, perhaps in about 1140, and was built near a pre-Christian religious site, later called Esrum Spring, where a small wooden stave chapel may have existed before the abbey was established.”
That’s really all I’m going to say about the Abbey. We weren’t there to visit it; we were there for the Fair, although the old Abbey buildings made a wonderful backdrop for it.
The Fair was well attended, even though it looked like rain all day.
We enjoyed watching the fire-eating jester…
…and trying on the armor.
The re-enactors were all very friendly (nearly everyone in Denmark, Norway and Sweden speaks English). These two characters told us how they spend a couple weeks every summer, going from one medieval fair to another, camping out with other re-enactors, drinking mead, and generally having a great time pretending to be living in the Middle Ages. They got a little confused, though, when I told them Dale’s maiden name was Stocks. They thought I wanted her put in one.
We spent a couple hours wandering around, exploring the tents and goings-on. Lots of people – not just the re-enactors – were dressed in period costumes.
We ended our time at the Fair in the food court in the courtyard of the old Abbey, taking care not to get stabbed by any of the kids wielding wooden swords.
On the way out, we passed two young women dressed up as nuns from the Abbey; they had just lit up cigarettes. When we feigned surprise that nuns were smoking, they claimed that they weren’t lighting cigarettes, but that it was just incense. Then, when they saw me take out my camera, they tried to hide behind their habits (pardon the pun).
Fortunately, the weather held and we stayed dry. It was a fun afternoon.
On the way back home to Hald, on a whim, we detoured into a little village named Ølsted, hoping to find a Kro there.
A Kro is an inn that serves Danish food; they’ve normally got rooms for rent, too. We ate at a Kro in Billund and it was great and we were in luck in Ølsted, too; there wasn’t much in the village, but there was a Kro. We had dinner there and it was fantastic. Plus, this Kro had the extra benefit of being owned and operated by a very friendly Dane who chatted with us throughout the meal.
If you ever get to Denmark, have dinner in a Kro.