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… Attend the Medieval Festival in Witten With a Preschooler?

Lyons Cub knew something was up when mommy researched medieval markets in North Rhine-Westphalia. We found one that took place on May 22nd in the city of Witten. Which little kid doesn’t love knights, armor, horses, castles, and dragons? Admittedly, the dragon that was supposed to appear at the medieval festival in Witten was the main reason my son wanted to go there — we didn’t see the dragon, because we arrived too late (well, we didn’t know we would have a 3-hour foot march, including a little boat trip on lake of Kemnade).

The first sight we saw after we had arrived on the very crowded parking lot was Haus Kemnade, which is a moated castle from the 13th century. Until 1486, it lay on the northern banks of the Ruhr river at the Stiepeler village; then, the river changed its course, so that it ended up on the southern banks, independently of the village. For a long time, it could only be reached by a ferry. In 1589, it burnt down and was rebuilt by its owners until 1704. Nowadays, it belongs to the city of Bochum and contains several museums and restaurants.

After admiring the ancient castle, we set out to explore the path that led to Kemnader See, which is a reservoir. There was an inline skater trail along the lake, so we had to be careful not to venture into their path. They zoomed past us.

We went to eat French fries and drink apple juice at a restaurant with a playground.

Having relaxed a bit, we walked on and met a mother goose with four babies:

Then, we saw a boat rental place that had pedal boats for rent (some looked like white swans), so we rented a blue one and ventured out onto the lake. It was a bit difficult to steer, and we had to evade a big tourist ship that blew its horn at us. We cleared off quickly! We didn’t notice that mommy and grandma got a little sunburn on their faces while we were out on the water. Next time, we’ll definitely slap on sunscreen! All went well until we got back to the pier. I had told my son to stay seated in the boat until I had helped grandma step out onto the pier, because she was a bit unsteady on her feet since the boat was wobbly. While I turned around quickly to lend Oma a hand, Lyons Cub jumped out of the boat, ran on the pier, took a step backwards and soaked one of his legs. There were tears. At least, he wore a life vest and was safe, but the water was cold. We changed his clothes immediately. He still had a little cold for the next four days.

Since his shoe was wet, he sat with bare feet in his stroller as we walked on to the medieval festival. It was so crowded that people almost stood belly to belly! Several people wore medieval costumes (those got a cheaper entrance fee of EUR 7.00 instead of the general admission of EUR 10.00). We admired armor, furs, weapons, instruments, and lots of other handmade articles exhibited in the tents. We bought a wooden sword, shield, and axe, which we later painted with water colors at home. Lyons Cub got a strawberry ice-cream and rode a merry-go-round made of wooden barrels.

Lyons Cub had to try out the high striker, which is called “Hau den Lukas” (“beat Luke”) in German 😉 There was a high one for the adults, and a short one for the children. He swung a big, wooden hammer several times to make the little puck strike the bell. He managed once and was allowed to pick a necklace as prize. However, with one of his last, already tired strikes, he beat on his left middle finger, which got a scratch and started bleeding a bit. Luckily, it wasn’t broken, and we saw this as a sign that it was time to leave the medieval market and make our long way home. He fell asleep in the stroller on the way to the parking lot.

This goes to show that there are always things happening with little children. Overall, we had a great excursion. And if you haven’t been to a medieval market with your kiddos yet, maybe that might be an exciting thing to plan.

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