Hafrsfjord Viking Market 2015 15

Last night past midnight I dropped an overly full rucksack loaded with my sleeping bag and skins on the floor at home, and fell asleep in my large and comfy bed. Not that I mind sleeping on the ground for a few days, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate silk pillows either. ^^ Woke up today sort of confused to see that a thousand years had gone by, but luckily my camera was filled with memories from the weekend that had passed.

Me and my friends Silje and Lars Christian travelled to Hafrsfjord, a rich historical area by Stavanger on the southwest coast of Norway. This is where the Battle of Hafrsfjord took place about year 872-880, where Norway was unified for the first time, under King Harald the I, known as Harald Tanglehair and later Hairfair (as he is said to have refused to cut or comb his hair until he was the sole King of Norway). His saga is described by Snorri Sturluson in Heimskringla, and although its authenticity is disputed it is in many ways a beautiful love story, as his wife Gyða Eiríksdóttir had refused to marry him until he had unified and ruled all of Norway, a rejection that he took as a challenge and succeeded with ten years later.

The battle between Harald and the last petty kings is commemorated by the monument "Sverd i Stein" (Swords in Rock). They are based on Norwegian findings of swords, of which the tallest represents the victor Harald and the two smaller ones represent the petty kings, carved into the rock, never to be removed or used again.

The Viking market took place in a beautiful little park with tall trees and a lovely river running through the area. We lived in the back of the market, shielded from the busiest shopping streets, with the view of the monument right outside our tent opening.

My beautiful friend Silje!

This was our first time in Hafrsfjord, and needless to say, we really enjoyed it! The market was very well organized, with an including and welcoming management, a neat and well thought-out market area with traders, craftspeople and other tents and bonfires mixed throughout the park, creating a living and breathing Viking atmosphere. Philip and Theresia from Donderelf walked about playing their feelgood-tunes throughout the weekend, and Gustav Holberg and Kjell Braaten also entertained the crowds with enthusiastic storytelling and music, amidst fighter shows, introductions to Viking games and an archery-competition.

It must be said that several thousand tourists visited the market throughout the weekend, but I have tried to avoid them in my photos, mostly sneaking my camera about right before and after closing hours. Because when the tourists leave, the mood in the camp changes. However much we need and love having visitors and people interested in learning more about our cultural history, there is no denying that the atmosphere changes for the better as the last rubber boots and pink and blue plastic jackets pass the gates and there are only "Vikings" left.

The weather was quite enjoyable throughout the weekend and mostly sunny, although the nights were a bit cold and called for woolen clothes and fires being lit throughout the camp. As the sun was lowering in the sky we made a large fire in the middle of the camp, where people gathered to eat, drink, sing and play. The hours passed, in the way hours pass when you don't have a clock or have anything planned for the day after. I counted ten drums in action at one point, and I almost fell asleep lying there on a sheepskin with my head in Siljes lap, with the warmth of the fire flickering over my face. It reminded me of the scene with the faun and Lucy from the first Narnia-book!

And the morning after... Breakfast!

Wiesław Zawistowski and Barbara Zawistowska from Poland, with their beautiful ceramics. The ceramic jug with the wooden lid at the top right is mine now... ^^ Isn't it pretty?

Lasse from Sweden sold claws from magpies, crows and ravens.

Stig from Swedish Viking Kristall was also there with his jewelry.

Liv and Lisbeth... :'D

I bought some soaps from Marit Vaidla, and they smell wonderfully.

The day we left was sunny and wonderful, and I spent the last hours walking barefoot around the area soaking up the last market ambiance before packing up and heading home for now.

Thank you Hafrsfjord and all of the people in it, for a great weekend!

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