This summer I was lucky enough to be in Turku during the final day of their big medieval festival. Along with my sister, our family who live in Turku, picked us up from the train station and brought us right to the festival. It was quite the introduction to Turku!
We had a great time wandering around from stall to stall. Many of the people were dressed in medieval clothes, helping to create a festive atmosphere. There were all kinds of handicrafts, food, and goodies to be bought, all of which were set for the time period. There were also games and and medieval activities to participate in. It was great watching kids run around, trying out stilts, and even swinging around in what could be described as a medieval chair ride.
After walking through and seeing most of the stalls, we made our way over to a little side stage. As we walked up there were women singing and acting out a little story. Although they were singing in Finnish and we had no idea what they were singing, we had our family there to do a little translating for us.
Next on our festival schedule was the jousting show. Before going across the street to grab seats we decided to grab a quick bite to eat. In true medieval fashion we had sausages wrapped in cabbage, delish! It was just the thing to keep us full as we watched the jousting show.
The show was excellent. Since we were seated right under a tree, we also had the best seats in the arena since it started to rain during the show. I had never been to a medieval festival and certainly never seen a jousting show, so I was in for a real treat. The jousters were quite talented. They were able to hit targets, and scoop up items all while riding horses. The hosts and jesters were also very funny. Once again, as would be expected in Finland, everything was in Finnish, but it is amazing what you can understand through gestures and actions.
When the jousting show was over we walked back over to the main festival grounds to grab another quick bite to eat. We did things a bit backwards and had our dessert first. First up was lattyia makkie, a crepe like pancake with a savory berry jam spread across it. Let’s just say it didn’t last too long.
When the last drop of jam was gone we changed it up and got some muikkuateria, a plate of small fish and mixed veggies. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. The fish were very tasty and the veggies were cooked to perfection. Nancy was brave and tried a few fishies, but most of them were left for me.
I’m glad we had the chance to experience the medieval festival in Turku. It was so much fun and a great ice breaker for meeting family for the first time. The whole time we were walking around I also couldn’t help thinking how much longer Finland’s history is than in the US. A medieval festival in Finland makes much more sense than one in the States. What a wonderful experience!