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Recent Adventures: Castlefest

August 14, 2015

Going to Castlefest – a medieval/fantasy festival in the Netherlands – has become something of a tradition for me (although I skipped it last year). It’s always so much fun to get all dressed up, listen to good music, wander around looking at “shinies!” (which can be anything from jewellery to wind chimes to pretty notebooks), or just sit on our blanket eating and talking and people-watching. There can’t be many places in the world that are better for people-watching than Castlefest…

Even the trip there was fun. Partly because this was my luggage:

sDSC05717Yes, I had a broom with me, which led to some nice conversations with fellow passengers on the train.

If you’ll allow me to use an older picture (since I didn’t take one this time), this is the costume I needed it for:

s100_0843The first time I wore it – and the reason I bought the broom – was a performance with my medieval dance group last October. We came up with a dance to Omnia’s Wytches’ Brew. It felt fitting to wear the costume to Castlefest, too, since Omnia always play there. (And since it’s not that easy to see in the picture, that’s ivy in my hair. And around my belt. And on my broom. Which I didn’t realise until later matches the name I use here.)

I shared the compartment on the night train with four ladies who were very pleasant and entertaining company, and even got some decent sleep.


Sunny morning snapshot from the train – it was sunny all weekend, not a single drop of rain, and never uncomfortably hot. Just perfect.

On the last part of the journey I even met another woman on her way to Castlefest – with her dress and my broom, it was easy to guess where we were headed.

Other costumes would be a lot more difficult to wear on a train, such as Sahi’s Wicked Tribe costume.

sDSC05723The Wicked Tribe is one of my favourite parts of Tad Williams’ Otherland. A group of hacker children who appear as flying yellow monkeys in the virtual reality the internet has turned into at the time of the story.

sDSC05726Our “camp” in the background, with the pink banner, the altar-shaped cooler and the prettiest picnic blanket of the entire festival.

Somehow I never took a close-up picture of the monkeys bouncing around the helmet, oops. They’re very cute!

sDSC05728Rising above the crowd – although Friday was a lot less crowded than the other days, which was the only reason Sahi could even wear her jumping stilts.

sDSC05729Wicked Tribe ruling tribe!

Otherland is a criminally underappreciated series, in my opinion. I need to reread it soon – both so that I can blog about it, and talk about it everywhere, and because now I really miss the Wicked Tribe. And all the other characters.


Walking around looking at “shinies”:


I kind of want to grow bottle gourds now and make these myself.



(Smarchers will understand why this hat made us think of Cyan.)



Sahi and I spend a long time at this stall, going back and forth over how we didn’t really need any expensive notebooks, but they were so beautiful, and we wanted one, but then which one, when they were all so pretty?! We planned to leave and come back later, but in the end, we just stayed and stayed, looking at all of them, and ended up buying one each before we could go. (And now that I’m looking at the picture, I see so many more I want to have!)

(Sadly, there wasn’t a name on the stall, or any cards to be found… I’m not sure why we didn’t just ask, but yeah, we didn’t… May have to google all the names on the list on the Castlefest website…)


Random chicken at one stall/re-enactors’ camp.


Listening to Abe the storyteller (and getting distracted by the pretty castle in the background, which is why Abe ended up all the way at the edge of the picture). I’m pretty surprised with how well I did with following the story in Dutch – much easier than listening to conversations.


Looking at costumes while walking around…

sDSC05766Random snapshot of the crowd.


Or just resting on our blanket, eating, talking and people-watching…



You see a lot of kilts and a lot of poi at Castlefest, but rarely on the same person.



We discussed some costume ideas for next year, which is making me want to make things again – I still haven’t had the time to start on anything, but it feels good just to want to again.

New shinies:


Beautiful notebook because I wanted one, new bag because I needed one (my old one, bought a few Castlefests ago, was falling apart.)


New watch, because I lost mine months ago, and I hate having to bring my phone everywhere, and I don’t actually like wearing wristwatches very much, and new earcuffs because I lost one of my first pair in my bicycle accident (and the thing that really bothers me about that is that even if anyone found it, they probably had no clue what it was), and new bells because they sounded nice.

The way back started in a somewhat stressful way, as I only just caught my train – I guess we’d underestimated how long it would take to get there. It was a long hike just to get to the parking lot, after all (and it took us a little longer than expected to get to our “camp”, since that part of the festival had already been closed down when we left).

But I did catch the train, and ended up with a very nice group of people in my compartment again, a young Austrian couple heading home from their holidays, and a young Dutch couple heading to Austria for their holidays. And I slept very well again. All in all, a pretty much perfect trip!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 16, 2015 03:16

    Looks like so much fun! I loved the little yellow monkeys in Otherland as well, and those journals/notebooks were beautiful. I wouldn’t have been able to leave without one either.

    • August 16, 2015 19:42

      It really is one of the best weekends of the year! It always feels like travelling to Fairyland!

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