Having ascended to the Ehrenbreitstein fortress from Koblenz (see roll 23), Carrie and I were greeted by a reenactment festival that covered everything from the 18th century French army to Huns invading the steppes, to traveling noblemen, to, most impressively, a legion of the imperial Roman army, straight from south of the Alps.
Ehrenbreitstein is a sprawling place. Not knowing what to expect, we were unclear about how much time to plan for an outing. It turned out we’d timed it about right. The funicular across the river deposited us on the plateau where the fortress stands. Upon exiting, it was immediately clear that something was going on. Camps covering widely varying time periods and geographic locations stood on the plain. The tents were festooned with banners, hides and antique looking weaponry, tables and beds adorned by, what signs outside some encampments explained, were authentic recreations of pots, ladles or knives used by this Scottish clan or that raiding Mongol. The scene was a bit jarring, on the one hand because it featured groups side by side that would never have met in either time and space – as if one had just tumbled into some anomaly in the cosmic continuum that had erupted here in Doctor-Who-like fashion – and on the other hand because people in shorts and carrying smartphones invaded every corner of this staging area.
But this was only the half of it. Thrust only briefly back into the here and now by having to scan tickets at automated entry gates, we ventured further. Inside, many things were going on at once: Prussian (or were they French?) soldiers manning cannons, stands selling ye olde style wares – from pendants to pots and pans – concerts at ale bars, and various scheduled events. The one we caught going on was a demonstration by the Roman legion. They marched, stood at attention, presented their shields in formation, and all the while endured being yelled at by their commanding officer, who didn’t shy away from calling them “dumbasses” in what I have no reason to believe was not authentic first century Latin.
There were more things to see here, and more things to see in Koblenz. Since I shot way too many rolls that weekend, I’m not sure how much of it will show up here. Anyway, for now I must excuse myself. I have an urge to graffiti “Romani ite domum” on the wall about a hundred times…