Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Day at a Real Castle!

Håkon’s Hall, built by King Håkon Håkonsson as a royal residence and banqueting hall, is now 750 years old, so there was a huge celebration at the castle with lots of children's activities.

As we walked there from the bus stop, we passed a huge food festival in Bryggen (a very famous wharf and the oldest part of the city).  There was great food and tons of people.  Many of the vendors were giving out really delicious free samples (which is why, later, when Sergio threw up all over me on the bus [again], I was covered in a wide variety of fruits, sausages, and fine cheeses).

But the real excitement started when we reached Bergenhus Castle.  The kids watched knights sword fighting (in really impressive period costumes), then they got to do some sword fighting of their own (in much more humble costumes):

Jonah even got to participate in an organized battle (Sergio and Oscar weren't old enough):

First Jonah and the other young knights spent about 30 minutes improving their swordsmanship, learning to march in formation, and developing strategy.  Then a fierce battle ensued in which Jonah was lucky enough to be chosen to wield a spear, but unlucky enough to be quickly vanquished by his foes (after receiving three "battle wounds" from the opposing army, the defeated soldiers had to put their foam weapons on their heads and watch from the sidelines):

When I came over to snap this picture, Jonah told me, "Technically, Mom, I'm dead."
All three kids got a chance to use a bow and arrow.  Here's Sergio taking his turn:

We also got to explore INSIDE the castle.  First we looked around Håkon's Hall.  We learned that, in 1261, when the King's son Magnus Håkonsson Lagabøte married the Danish princess Ingeborg, 2000 guests were invited for a feast in this enormous hall.

This is the room where the King sat during banquets.
A calligrapher wrote the kids' names for them and explained that the room he was working in was used by actual Medieval scribes.  They would sit on the stone seats built into the window ledges and use the sunlight to work by.

The Calligrapher, Bas Vlam (with Scribes' Window in Background)

In the Scribes' Window

 We watched a wonderful performance and then climbed to the top of Rosenkrantz Tower.

The little specks to the left on top of the tower are Oscar, me, and Jonah.

A Closer View
This is a picture of Sergie on the other side of the little red door below us on the tower.

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