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Monday, July 25, 2005

Mittelerdefest 5

It all started last Wednesday, ~ 80 people met in Kandersteg to wander over the Gemmi, which was renamed to Caradhras for this adventure. Many came in their costumes, some even with scale armour or chain mail. Which caused oncoming hikers to wonder what we were up to. I spent most of the tour with Ranarion & Naraka. It took us almost 8 hours to reach our destination, however, there were many long breaks in between for Lunch, Drinks and to catch our breath. The scenery was amazing and the sun was out most of the time. After dinner we heard traditional folk tales in the local dialect, which at times was hard to understand, even for Swiss German speakers.

Thursday morning we took the Gondola down to Leukerbad to visit one of the spas. We arrived in Leuk shortly after two p.m. Naraka and I went directly to the first workshop, Hobbit Dances. First we learnt the basic steps and at the end of the two-hours we had rehearsed almost a complete dance. Together with Silver and Azrael I joined the guided tour of Leuk, where we visited the local chamber of bones. After dinner, an excellent swordfight show and the traditional torch procession through Leuk, Glenn of Guinnes played the first concert and we danced throughout the whole set.

On Friday I woke up with extremely sore muscles in my legs. But after half an hour in the hotel pools and a lengthy breakfast I could walk again. The first workshop was Rohan Dances, this time we spent much more time to practise the basic steps and at the end of the first part we barely had the first part of the dance together. After a two-hour break the second part took place and in hard work we managed to learn the complete dance. I returned to the main area in time to see the finalists of the costume competition. This evening there were two concerts. First the Bell Bottoms a local band playing Irish Folk and then Fiddler’s Green from Germany.

Saturday started with sore muscles, as expected, and the second part of the Hobbit Dances Workshop. We repeated and completed the first dance and then practised another one. I found Jan and Naraka playing guitar and singing songs so I joined them. Later the different dance and music workshops presented what they learned. This meant that I first danced with the Rohan group and then the two pieces with the Hobbit group. Even though I made a couple of mistakes it was great fun and I was very pleased with my achievement. Next was the big medieval banquet, one of the highlights of the festival. The last band to play was Schelmish a group specialising in medieval music. Their show was great and everyone joined in dancing and jumping around. A big fireworks display put a worthy end to these wonderful four days.

It ended way too soon. The atmosphere of the Mittelerdefest is simply unique, everyone is friendly and it is extremely easy to get to know new people. It is amazing how much effort is invested into the costumes. For four days I felt that I was part of Middle-Earth. Thanks to everyone who made it possible and especially to those that made it special.

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