Castro Marim Medieval Fair (2)

Looking down from the fortress walls in Castro Marim

Looking down from the fortress walls, in Castro Marim

In yesterday’s post I left you looking out from these walls to the border with Spain.  Beneath the castle, tickets were going on sale for the Castro Marim Medieval Fair.  8 euros bought you an earthenware cup (to fill with your tipple of choice), a cardboard crown (one size fits all- or almost!) and entry to the castle.  The streets were starting to fill up, and it seemed a good time to browse the stalls, before the entertainment began.

Click on any photo to view the gallery 

Any fair maidens aboout?

Any fair maiden needing a headdress?

A skirling of pipes and the thunder of drums had me glancing over my shoulder.  Look out- the excitement is just about to begin!

Here they come!

Here they come!

Such focus!

Such focus!

Just time to immerse myself in Arabia before the next group!  Exotic teas, cakes, sweets, nuts and magic lanterns.  A cornucopia of delights!

A little more music!

A little more music!

The stalls are full of enticements and exotica, and the hand-crafted furniture is enough to make a maiden swoon into a finely carved seat.

But for all the razzle, these are my favourites

But despite all that dazzles, the lady in blue is my favourite

At this point it becomes impossible to focus on shopping.  The parade has arrived- an amazement of  stilt walkers, tumblers, weird and wonderful costumes and masks, and the most hypnotic and enigmatic of magicians.  I am enthralled.

But this guy stole the show for me

This guy stole the show for me

There was just something about him!

His skills defied the camera!

Food stalls tempt and wonderful aromas waft, but dusk is about to descend and the time has come to mount the steps to the castle. Yet more entertainment is planned for the evening.  What else can there be?

The scene from the church steps

The scene from the church steps

I won’t discourage you by showing the number of steps and the cobbles, shiny with age.  But take it slowly, wear sensible shoes, and the excitement and momentum will carry you there.  Once through the ancient gates, a Medieval world appears before your very eyes.

There's always a Fool!

There’s always a Fool!

The scene is set

The scene is set

And the sinking sun adds to the spectacle

And the sinking sun adds to the spectacle

Up on the castle walls, I look down on the church

Up on the castle walls, I look down on the church

And then back at the setting sun

Then back at the setting splendour

The air is thick with the scent and smoke of barbecuing meat.  More and more people throng into the castle.  Small faces look up at me, aglow with the lamplight and the excitement, clutching tightly to a parents hand.  Shadows flicker on the walls.

Beyond the wall the moon gently glows over the salt pans

Beyond the wall the moon gently glows over the salt pans

There is courtly dancing, a banquet to eat (but the queue for tickets is long!) and later the promise of medieval combat and jousting, but it’s time for me to slip away, sated with the day.  Down in the streets the party is in full throttle and people continue to arrive.  I am seduced by the notion of sangria of figs.  Just one small indulgence before I go.

And the dance goes on!

And the dance goes on!

This is the second part of a post that I have linked to the Capturing History Challenge and I hope that you’ll take a look.  I couldn’t help but smile, though, when I saw that the Daily Post challenge this week is entitled Happy Place, a place to escape to and ‘recharge your groove’.  Most of you who know me are well aware that the Algarve is my happy place.  For 51 weeks of the year the village of Castro Marim is an oasis of peace and calm. Perhaps you can use your imagination and make these people disappear.

Apologies to my Six Word Saturday friends.  I won’t be taking part tomorrow.  I hope you can join me on Monday for a walk instead.


  1. We do know so well that the Algarve is your happy place, Jo, and I’m sure you’re having a marvelous time there at this moment. The fair looks like great fun. You know I’d go right for the Arabian market. And the costumes of the parade participants – nothing less than amazing! 🙂

  2. lovely and colorful festivities, Jo! i bet it was hard to focus on shopping with all those wonderful things going on. the town seems to glow with the sunset! great pictures as always! 🙂

  3. You have captured all the fun of the fair with your photos and words I would love to be there in person with you, but I think I would be flagging by 7ish. Those pipes look very much like didgeridoos to me.

    1. I’ve never come face to face with a didgeridoo, Pauline, so I wouldn’t know, but you’re the second person to mention that so I guess they are. 🙂 Didn’t we have a good time? 🙂 🙂

  4. It’s wonderful to see so many young people enjoying these kinds of events, Jo (instead of sitting at home playing video games) 😉 I certainly would have bought the fair maiden head dress – the gypsy in my soul loves that kind of thing.
    No wonder you ended up ‘slipping away’ after dark, you must have had a huge day!

    1. I got the timing wrong, Dianne. It was a 4 day event and I didn’t pay enough attention to the programme (in Portuguese of course). I had hoped to see the jousting but it closed the show that evening, at around midnight. Had I gone on the opening day it was 7.30pm. I was a bit disappointed but so tired, and Mick still had the drive home. 🙂

    1. Hi Tahira! So nice to see you around 🙂 Castro Marim is a magnificent setting for an event such as this, and we had a thoroughly good time. Thanks for joining us. 🙂

  5. I’m so glad you attended, Jo, and took photos on my behalf 😀 we have a summer medieval festival here, but I haven’t gone because the crowds and frenzy of so many odd creatures would put me into a panic. Thus I calmly could view your scenes and appreciate the extravaganza .

  6. Wonderful description of the medieval fair Jo! Love all the photos you’ve taken – I would have had a field day at all the little stalls and I love those blue tiles too (I have actually got some hand painted blue Portuguese tiles on my courtyard water feature they are so pretty!). The fair sounds like a wonderful experience and great for the small town keeping traditions going like this! 🙂

  7. una gran bella festa! arricchita da suoni, colori, bellissimi tramonti e la magnificenza delle mattonelle azur, i portoghesi a volte hanno attinenze con le nostre feste e tradizioni, buon sabato cara Jo

    1. It really was, Viv! I was still finishing this post at 9.30 last night and I have a busy day today so I’ve had to ditch 6WS this week. I’ll still be visiting as much as I can though (after Strictly 🙂 )

  8. Very cool photos…and your words glimmer! Love the description. I’m wondering what the guy with white face and crystal ball was doing. He does look cool. Are those bamboo flutes, or digeridoos?
    Question: on your Monday walk, can part of it be on a motorbike?

    1. Almost all of it can be on a motorbike if that will entice you! (I had a bus ride in the middle of a previous one 🙂 )
      Thank you very much! The magician was performing tricks and acrobatics with the crystal ball in a way it’s hard to describe (or capture on film 🙂 ) I liked him a lot! Flutes, I think, but I’m not sure I’d know the difference. What do you think? They were quite long.

  9. Well this certainly surpasses Ludlow’s Medieval Fayre that takes place every November. I love the way everyone is in costume that certainly adds to the atmosphere. But where is the hog roast? 😀

    1. Didn’t we eat that at the Polish wedding, Jude? 🙂 Actually I’m pretty sure it would have been part of the banquet, but we didn’t join the queue. You could set a trend- dress up in Ludlow? 🙂

      1. I think the volunteers and stall holders dress up, it’s been a few years since I went into the castle (and broke a tooth on the pork crackling!). I might go again this year as it will probably be my last chance. [now I have kyboshed the house purchase]

  10. Love these beautiful medieval costume, fun paradise, and the fine hand-crafted furniture! How fun to be there. Thank you for the tour, Jo! 🙂

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