The reason for that were some new emergency escape route regulations. Because of that, we almost got no place there. Luckily, it was possible for us to function as an "extension" to Blinas Koek by adding our camp to their's, extending it by about two meters (thanks to Skeggi and Blina for giving us that opportunity!).
Fighting horses, fighting men
Not only was Moesgård filled with warriors and their Tross, but there were also around 25 Icelandic horses around. They had a special area for themselves, next to the battlefield. Since most of them didn't know each other before, the first days and nights were marked by the trampling of hooves on the grass and their shouts and screams while they were trying to sort out their hierarchy. Finally, some people figured out whom they had to seperate from whom and it got quiet.
Well, not really. The horses were quiet, yes. The warriors weren't. They had a tight training schedule starting at 8 o'clock in the morning or so. So while some of us were still sleepy, the sound of shouts and blunted steel on steel rang out of the beech forest. It was quite a wonder how so many of them managed to be this fit in the morning, considering all the parties going on at night. Anniversary for group A this night, anniversary for group B the other night, party at the Jomsvikings' camp, party at the Icelanders' camp, the birthday party of our Polish neighbour - and, oh, the melancholy in those songs the Polish women were singing! What more do you need than a fire, shared food and drink and the Swedish and Polish singing their songs.
All in public
The official market started at the weekend - unfortunately, many people didn't feel obliged to stay as authentic as possible because of that. During the week, there were still a lot of cars standing around, people walking around in modern clothes, warriors fighting in modern sports wear. Not only does this disturb the overall atmosphere, it must also have looked quite stupid to all the visitors coming by. After all, the area is just a public place and before the official market, you can come and see it without having to pay an entrance fee (you also don't get to see any program and there is no guarantee that the market is complete, i.e. there might still be some setting up their camp).
But those visitors were only tiny droplets compared to the flood that came at the weekend. It must have been thousands of people going in and out, walking past, explaining stuff to their children and sometimes learning something themselves. Thousands of feet trodding over the ground, over and over again. And with the Danish summer going on, it was only a question of time before Moesgård became...
Short episodes of rain during the week have had their effect on the ground already. The main pathways were quickly devoid of any grass, trampled down by several hundred re-enactors. The "Frikinger", volunteers helping with the event, were quick to cover the muddier places with wood chips. This definitely helped a lot in the beginning. But during the weekend, for a short time (which seemed way too long for us), all heavens broke loose and the rain came just pouring down. After we got the most important things into the tent, Vil dug a trench from Blina's fire place and our camp's front down the road, getting some help from one of the Swedes and a second spade. Both were drenched soon, but with rain that intense they would have gotten wet anyway. Because of the path's topography, our Polish neighbours even had to dig a trench through their tent, lest they have a little swimming pool in front of their camp.
We built two small paper ships and let them sail down our self-made river. One of them actually reached Poland. I was very proud.
After the rain stopped, people were still walking around, of course. All the wood chips in the world could not help (instead of shredding the trees, they should have made planks and laid those on the ground!), and so Moesgård gradually turned into Mudgård. At least it was not cold and we could slide to the toilets with bare feet. And although it may sound this way now, most of the time it was no fun at all. Especially the leaving part with cars getting stuck and everything...
Viking ships and Burning Masks
There was to be a special ceremony for the 40th anniversary of Mudgård. Everyone was looking forward to it. Rumor had it that there would be a lot of Viking ships sailing to the beach, ranging between four and forty, lining up for an epic sea battle.
Well, there were two. And they were late. And one didn't even come slightly close to the shore, the other one beached, but almost tipped to the side because of the waves and had to be shoved back into deeper waters with a lot of manpower. There wasn't a sea battle either.
The ceremony included a short speech, music with medieval instruments and a wooden Mudgård mask that was specially built for the event. It was placed standing in the water, drenched with fuel (it would not have been able to catch fire after the rains otherwise) and then set ablaze with fire arrows. This would have been quite epic if it would not have burned down so rapidly. The sun had not even set properly when the charred remnants floated on the water. In our opinion, it should have been a huge pile on the beach burning all night long...
But even with the rain, mud and some unfulfilled expectations, Moesgård was fun. Fun enough to seriously consider coming back next year.