Festing in Vorarlberg

Festing Weekend in Vorarlberg

The allure of enjoyment

Thirty biked miles and three Fests later, it’s time to train home! It was a long and fun day. This past weekend, the first weekend of June, blew into Vorarlberg with a flurry of festivities – and we had to experience several of them. (Festing Weekend in Vorarlberg

FeldkirchFesteing Weekend in Vorarlberg

Feldkirch sponsored their annual ‘Medieval’ or ‘Middle ages’ fest with colorful, flurrying banners and old thatched stands lining the cobblestoned streets. In the shadows of the thousand-year-old Schattenburg Castle, the spectacles fire the imagination of what this same village may have looked like during that age. Only the noises of modern day life intruded on the imagery, contrasting with the ‘old school’ cookery, craft making, and music.

This was a weekend for the more daring and colorful residents to get ‘medieval’ with their costumes and wares, some of which may have sprung initially from that age. The food was robust and filling as were the ciders that helped wash it down, and the meads and wines made the staged music more digestible which highlighted lots of pulled skin drums and bagged horns. The cacophony of sounds was fun and entertaining – for about 7 minutes. The crafts were ingeniously constructed from the leather shoes to wool clothing, arrows and bows, bowls, jewelry, leather bags, wicker baskets and an ancient styled fighting helmet for every kid wandering in between the booths. 

Fortunately, this fest was a 5-minute walk from our apartments, so we left it early with plans to return the next day for a full sampling of everything.



An hour bike ride along the Rhine River from Feldkirch delivers one to the modern village square of Hohenems for the Czech Cultural Fest. We arrived just in time to find an empty seat in a nearby cafe so we could enjoy a cup of coffee with the demonstration of the traditional dances and costumes. This crowd was a bit more geriatric then that of Feldkirch’s youthful Medieval Fest. There were lots of retirees sitting around the stage in cafe tables sipping wine and nibbling on Czech delicacies. A few dances and instrumentals later we had enough of this relatively sedate scene and were back on the bikes for a longer ride to Bregenz which lies astride the Bodensee.


Further up the Rhine’s paths lies the beautiful ‘Old Town of Bregenz with modern shops and restaurants intermingled amongst the 800-year-old structures. The meandering ‘Fussganger Strasse’ (pedestrian zone) abuts up against the parks, wandering paths and marinas of the Bodensee. It’s a bubbling city buzzing with tourists, shoppers and businessmen alike. After another coffee break, we headed off to one of the lake parks and chilled under the shade of a tree, cooling down with the refreshing winds off the water.

After the park rest we headed back to the town square to enjoy ‘people watching’ and ‘Festing.’ Bregenz‘s fest was a just a fest, no special reason or theme, other than that it was a beautiful day for sitting around the square in comfy low chairs drinking beer, eating wurst and listening to the DJ spin a wide variety of music.

In time, the irrepressible spring that connects each of Ursula’s joints to her spine, drew her out to the front of the DJ stage with dozens of kids to start here 3-hour long dance session. The looks she received were priceless as younger adults curiously questioned her sanity as she danced solo and carefree to the beat of the ‘Techno’ music. It wasn’t too long before a few of the more adventurous women left their men to their beers, and joined her. By Eight thirty that evening there wasn’t much room left in between the onlookers and dancers bouncing their way into exhaustion. At nine-thirty, a happy Ursula and I had to dash off to the train station to catch a very crowded ride home with other bikers and weekenders.

By ten-thirty we made it back to our apartment, exhausted but very content with our three fests in one day adventure.


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