This past weekend I went to the Renaissance Festival with Alabama Gandalf. It was quite a good time and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
We met Friday after I got out of work at the hotel. I arrived around 6:30 due to heavy traffic, turning an hour and a half drive into over two hours, and he arrived less than 20 minutes later.
There was some nervousness. Our first adventure together three years ago went… well catastrophically terrible describes it well. I had been a right horror that trip. He had flown up the Maine in order to make the two day trek down to Georgia with me and keep my company. The plan was to spend the night at a nice hotel in Washington D.C. and enjoy the sights of the monuments and the Smithsonian.
I was a right horror. I was nervous, scared, stressed, I had a massive toothache and I was (and still am) incredibly out of shape. I freaked out in stressful situations while driving nearly to the point of tears. I whined and complained the entire time we were walking around, and as such held Gandalf back from being able to see the sights that most interested him: the historical sights of the birth of our government and it’s early presidencies.
On top of that there was some awkwardness the first night that I won’t go into detail about but certainly put a uncomfortable tint on the entire trip. Though I think now we are both able to look at that particular event and laugh, neither of us doubt how awful the trip was. It was so bad that it was cut short a day earlier than originally intended because the southern wizard couldn’t stand to be in my over-emotional psychotic presence any longer than necessary—and this fat dragon doesn’t blame him one bit.
This trip however was much better. We had talked about the disaster of the last trip, and I felt I had grown since then and could be on my best behavior. So Gandalf made the almost 3 hour drive from Alabama to Georgia for the festival.
We met at the hotel and had our first dinner at Denny’s. We ordered greasy Denny’s food, he the Grand Slamwich and me the Moons over my Hammy and a hot cocoa. We then returned to the hotel where we chatted and watched Tanked for several hours before I fell asleep.
The next day we loitered in the hotel room, had breakfast in the lobby (very nice continental hot breakfast with mini cheese omelettes, bacon one day and sausage the next, pancakes and various muffins, bagels and bread available). Then we set off for the Festival.
Once we got near the road became so clogged police were directing traffic into the parking area. We got ushered right to a spot which I was actually glad for—nothing is worse than having to circle around a parking lot looking for a space and competing against the other cars. We then took the long hike from the car to the gate.
Inside it was like an entire medieval town. Slightly disappointingly it was 90% shops. I would have liked to see more things like historical stuff and demonstrations on blacksmithing, or leather working or the tools used back then. There was a blacksmith but he seemed to only be there to dent people’s names into already made horseshoes. Naturally the shops were filled with knickknacks and things you could buy for almost half price on Amazon. But I still purchased a pewter knight for myself and Gandalf, and a bronze medallion for myself.
A good 30%-40% of the shops were clothes, from pirate attire to knights, to gypsies and wenches, they had tons of costumes and outfits. I, of course, would have loved to dress up, but being my size I didn’t even waste my time looking at the sizes of things, let alone the price. But once I’ve lost weight I fully intend to dress up and go again.
The best part was the joust. I feel a little bad that we only saw one, because it seems like all 3 tell a story and we only saw the middle. But it was impressive. It began with a few female stunt riders doing a few tricks. I managed to get some videos and pictures.
Then the joust began. The highlight for me was seeing one of the stunt riders charge out on two horses (one foot on each saddle). I wish I had gotten a video of that. I was almost disappointing when they first began with an obstacle course race. Two riders raced each other to knock blocks off of tall posts, then stab a cushion with a lance. I was worried that would be it. But they did actually joust, and the hits rang through the ring satisfactorily.
We had lunch at the fair. I got a massive hot dog I could not finish and Gandalf had a fish sandwich of some sort. It was decent. After that we wandered around some more, I got our knights, and a medallion for myself that a guy actually punched the pictures I chose into it using a massive weight that he cranked up and let fall to smash the metal templates into the bronze blank.
It began pouring while we waiting for my turn to make a medallion. It hadn’t let up once I got it, so we just headed out into the deluge. I got soaked through, and the rain washed all the sweat from my head into my eyes and they burned and stung. But we made it to the car and headed out. We stopped at Walmart so I could purchase us some swimming gear (shorts and t-shirt for me, trunks for Gandalf) and I dragged him kicking and screaming to the hotel pool. I think despite his protests he enjoyed lazing in the pool for about an hour while I actually swam and we talked about various topics.
We then went to Olive Garden for dinner where we both indulged, though I more than Gandalf as I almost entirely cleaned my plate, while he only ate a portion. We both boxed up our leftovers and went back to the hotel. I watched Doctor Who while Gandalf enjoyed reading a book I lent him on kindle. We had intended to play a little D&D, but never actually got around to it.
Sunday we lazed about the hotel, had breakfast, than left for an early showing of Guardians of the Galaxy 2. The theater was exceptionally nice. There were not as many seats as in the average theater, but each row was wider to accommodate large leather recliners. We munched on popcorn while lounging in comfortable recliners watching the movie. Normal theaters will never be the same.
We parted ways then and each arrived home safely. I was exhausted so I immediately fell asleep until my parents woke me for dinner (smoked ribs and acorn squash) and then I watched a few youtube videos, then purchased and watched Logan, before falling asleep.
It was a great weekend. But this morning I am exhausted, sore from getting 12k steps and swimming for a good hour, and sunburt on my arms, shoulders, a bit of my chest, and the top of my head (the most painful). I am also 5 pounds heavier than when I left. But I expected worse, as I completely indulged on that trip. I believe Gandalf behaved himself however and probably did not indulge as much as I and doubtfully gained anything. But that’s alright, I am back on track today.
All in all it was a good weekend, I enjoyed myself, and was glad I got to spend some time with a friend. Though I think we were both relieved to part ways and return to the comfort of our own abodes. It did affirm for me that I desire to live alone, and while I enjoyed my trip greatly it was nice to get home to my own bed.
Tonight I will boot up ESO and create a Warden and test out the new Morrowwind content. Perhaps it will serve to boost my interest and passion in playing again and I wont just lose interest after I finish the new zone.
Anyway, good, overindulgent but fun weekend.