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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Idea for a television show: the campiness of the medieval encampment

I love a good renaissance festival/ medieval fair. I don't care that it's not historically correct, I don't care that it's overpriced, I don't care that it's ridiculously overcrowded and super campy. Many of those things are reasons why I in fact love a good medieval fair. The feeling that I get when I'm at one is part of the reason that I love to study the Middle Ages. 

And I think it would be a perfect setting for a t.v. show. Imagine a medieval fair, one of the ones that is open every weekend, as the setting for a television show. It is a place where so many people suspend their disbelief for so long, and indulge in fantasy, that it is a place where magic actually happens. 

The main character would be a 'business' guy who runs the fair, maybe inherited it from his father (a cliche, but sometimes cliches are cliches for a reason). His friend is this guy who hangs around the fair all the time. Most of the people who come to the fair can see that he is a troll, because they believe in that kind of thing, but to the main character he appears as a regular guy, because he doesn't believe in that kind of thing. He guards the festival and was brought to life by the magic in the place. 

The love interest is a girl who has been coming to enjoy the festival as long as she can remember. Another character is a girl who works there, but likes to mutter things about gender roles and patriarchy at work at a medieval festival. They could take on problems that range from creditors, to other problems actual renaissance festivals have to face, to issues in medievalisms, to metaphors for actual medieval issues. For instance, there could be an episode where they get taken over by pirates (a medieval festival issue) and an instance where there is an investiture controversy dividing the food vendors and splitting allegiances. People could misinterpret the role of the Vikings at the festival, and the whole fair could be taken over by an all consuming mud, a problem medieval festivals face when it rains, but a magic medieval festival even more so. They could do a really interesting episode about a woman becoming a knight, and a man becoming a kitchen hand, highlighting the fact that most people at this point won't stop a woman from being a knight, but that people would have a lot more trouble with a guy fulfilling a woman's role. 

Wouldn't that be fun? Anyone want to back me? Too ridiculous? Campy for sure, but that is one of the things that governs what  I choose to watch. 

Week 4: Swedish vacations

I maintain that Sweden is basically Canada if the Europeans had been there longer, or at least central Canada. The surrounding nature made me feel right at home.

My fourth weekend in Sweden was spent living it up in the outdoors, and save for a few details I could have been in Muskoka. But it is a must for a longer trip to Sweden, because if you don't go out, away from the cities then you will have no idea where the Swedes have actually gone all summer, as they are certainly not in Uppsala.

One of the three excursions that you can elect to go on with the UISS is to Varmland, to take part in some outdoor adventures and to sleep in cabins. When you sign up you can choose one of three activities: the first is rafting along the Klaralven, the second is hiking through the wilderness, and the third is the adventure trail, which involves rappelling and zip lines. That is the activity I chose.

It takes between 6-8 hours to get to the Vildmark i Varmland campsite (Wildlife in Varmland) from Uppsala. When we arrived on Friday, once we got settled in a few of us went down to the river to see if swimming was possible. It was possible but much too cold to be pleasant, though that didn't stop us from trying. Then those who chose rafting had to start building their raft. Seriously building their own raft. It sounded weird, but if you watch the river for awhile you see people who have clearly made this their vacation, with their boat tied to the raft. You can apparently raft down this river for about five days. The rest of us not building a raft could elect to go on a Beaver Safari, which is exactly what it sounds like. Apparently the European Beaver and the North American Beaver are so distantly related now that they don't share enough genes to mate, though they sure look and act the same. We got eaten alive by bugs when we stopped to make some food, but I guess we should be happy that everyone had a good meal.

Saturday we all went on our respective adventures and the rain held out just long enough for everyone to make it back to the campground. Next was the all too Scandinavian of adventures, the sauna. The sauna at the campground (yep) was right next to the river, just perfect for going out for the obligatory cold dip. In the evening we were served fresh moose, cooked over a grill on an open flame.

Sunday morning we woke up and cleaned our cabins (proper camping). On our way back to Uppsala we stopped at the home of Selma Lagerlof, the woman on the twenty Kronor note and one of Sweden's most famous authors. She was the first female author to win the Nobel Prize for literature. Her house at Marbacka was a museum even while she was alive.