Every year, in Summer, for eleven consecutive days, a medieval fair takes place in Santa Maria da Feira (Portugal) and the city goes back to the Middle Ages.
For the first time, on August 6th 2011, me, JB and some friends of us, visited the “Viagem Medieval” (Medieval Journey), the greatest medieval recreation event in Portugal.
It takes place around the castle, in the city’s historical center and, for the first time of its existence, there was an entrance fee. We payed 2€ for an admission wristband that gave us free transit during the duration of the event.
Immediately after we had crossed the portico, we felt we had traveled in time.
We were immediately surprised by three dromedaries that passed next to us. Everywhere, we could see people dressed on medieval clothes and we could listen to medieval music. We were completely surrounded by a medieval atmosphere.
We started by visiting the souk (Moorish market), and then the free fair, where we could buy several kinds of items, such as handicrafts, knives, food, herbs, clothes… or even hire medieval clothes, to be properly dressed for the event.
We visited the Moorish encampment, where I didn’t resist to go inside a litter. We could have some tea or eat some sweets or kebab, there.
We climbed to the castle when it was getting dark, we had the opportunity to admire a very beautiful sunset.
Activities & Shows
There was a wide variety of activities available for all ages. We could, for example, play with a longbow or ride a horse. At the squire training ,kids could fire a catapult or tilt with lances, among other activities. It was also possible to climb the castle walls. Or simply enjoy a ride on the wagon.
We watched the “Judgement of God” in the evening. At night, we watched the “Bewitched Moorish Maidens”. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a very good place to see the show. At 23:30pm, we watched the “Honor and glory”, a story of a Templar frontier fortress that is attacked by the army of a Moorish warlord. It was a tribute to the warrior monks who gave their lives in defense of the weak. This was an amazing show.
Food & Drinks
There was a wide offer of food and drinks. We could have a quick dinner, going to a tavern and ask for a meat sandwich or we could go to a restaurant and have a more peaceful dinner, but we had to wait a long time in the queue.
Since we wanted to see as much of the fair as possible, we decided to look for a tavern that offered a wide variety of meat sandwiches. We found one named “Vagabundos do Castelo” (lit. Vagrants of the Castle) that was serving pork, wild boar, venison, ostrich and crocodile meat. I decided to try the ostrich sandwich and JB chose the crocodile sandwich. It was delicious! One of the dromedaries even tried to eat my sandwich!
For those who are greedy for sweets,don’t have to worry because there’s also a vast offer of pastries and dry fruits.
The most popular drinks were sangria, mead and beer. Sangria is a wine punch typical of Portugal and Spain, it consists of wine, chopped fruit and a sweetener. Mead is one of the most ancient alcoholic beverage, it is produced by fermenting a solution of honey and water. And beer is beer.
Later, at night, we bought a Portuguese sweet bread from Santa Maria da Feira called “Fogaça”. It tasted so good! I ate more than half of it all alone.
We spent eight incredible hours at the Medieval Fair. Everything was great, the medieval atmosphere, the shows, the food…We left with the desire of coming back next year.
For more information about the Medieval Fair at Santa Maria da Feira visit the official website.