Week 1 - Ribe, Denmark

Monday 9th June 2014.

We had decided on our first Danish site being fairly close to Esjberg ferry terminal so that with a 1.00pm arrival we could get to our first site quickly and easily where we could wind down and relax after the last few hectic weeks rushing around.

There are only 84 ACSI and 32 Camping Cheques camping sites in the whole of Scandinavia which, as we approach the high season, becomes less and less as the summer season gets under way so our choice of sites was fairly limited. W,e chose Ribe Camping as it was (sort of) in the right direction for where we want to go, and a very good choice it turned out to be.

Tuesday 10th June 2014.

Anticipating that the time the freezer would be without electricity would be in excess of 20 hours we emptied it and threw everything out of the fridge that was likely to go bad in that time and so arrived in Denmark with no fresh food so the priority this morning was a supermarket and getting stocked up. It would also enable us to get of an idea if how right were those who said Scandinavia was very expensive. Well there is good news and bad news. Diesel is cheaper, fresh fish is expensive as is most wine, although it starts at DKK 50 (£5.40) beer seems cheaper with everything else in the supermarkets being about the same. Give it a couple of weeks and we will find out how Sweden compares.

Wednesday 11th June 2014.

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Market day today so we toddled off to town with the hope of picking up some good fruit and veg, unfortunately the market comprised one fruit and veg stall and a dozen bric a brac stalls - very disappointing. We did though find an ice-cream shop that not only sold fabulous ice-cream they made all their own cones by hand in the shop window, fascinating and delicious.

The town is startlingly clean with no litter anywhere and surprisingly very few litter bins. People are expected to, and do, take their litter home.

We had our second BBQ in two days tonight; last night we had the traditional sausages, burgers and pork fillet served with a salad and washed down with a bottle of white port that was, obviously, not as cheap as in Portugal but, at just over a fiver, cheaper than in UK, while tonight we BBQ’d half a chicken, served it with salad and a bottle’s worth of Portuguese red wine that we bought for DKK 90 (£9.22 or equivalent to £2.43 a bottle) for a 3 litre box.Perhaps we won’t be teetotal for the next four months as we expected -HURRAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!! 🍻

Thursday 12th June 2014

I went to bed at 11.30pm last night and it was as light as it was at 5.30pm and when Sue toddled to the loo at 12.30 there was still dusk light in the sky.

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Lots to do today, Sue has a long itinerary. Well that was the idea, the first item on the agenda was Gramslot Castle described in the guide as a “unique experience” well it certainly was that. The castle tours happen on Friday morning (out of season), there is a market every Thursday - but only in season. It was a very pretty area but with little public access we got back in the car and travelled to our next point - Mundø Island. Its not possible to get to Mundo by car -  there are tractor and horse drawn busses as well as guided walks over the mud flats where you can collect your own oyster lunch. All very exciting - till we got there! Although there are a number of signs etc in English the whole place was chaotic, people wandering about. We were unable to make head nor tail of what was going on so it was back in the car and on to the next exciting event. The island of Rømø is the southern most of the Danish Wadden Sea islands there is a causeway with a wide tarmac road to the islands 129 km² and 650 inhabitants. Rømø was the centre of Denmark’s lucrative whaling industry. We visited the Captains House dating from 1748 which is now a museum housing a variety of interesting artefacts (including a skeleton of a Sperm Whale). The museum is free to entrée and some information is in English although most is in Danish and German only.

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From the Old Captains House we went a few hundred metres north to se a fence built in 1772 from whale jawbones interesting - for a fence but the best sight of the day and almost next to the jawbones was a field full of large poppies and cornflowers. The contrast of red and blue was stunning.

That letter Ø by the way seems to be a letter in it’s own right and in the Danish alphabet apparently comes before Å but after Æ which in turn comes after Z. 

Had our third BBQ of the week tonight. There is very little chance of getting extra gas on this trip so we are going to conserve gas by using a BBQ at every opportunity and when we saw the “Cobb BBQ” demonstrated by Rosemary and Frank in Portugal we were very impressed indeed. The Cobb BBQ was apparently designed for use in the townships of South Africa where there was often no electricity or gas and limited wood for use in cooking. We were less than impressed when we bought one and tried it out, finishing up with quite a poor meal but remembering the tasty meals R&F cooked for us on the same type of equipment we persevered and now having completed almost a half dozen BBQ’s we are getting the hang of it.

Friday 13th June 2014

It’s a good job I didn’t realise the date until after it had been and gone or I might have worried about the possibilities for bad luck on Friday 13th, particularly as we decided to drive 50 miles south to “pop” into Germany for a couple of hours, there is a large caravan/motorhome dealer there that we thought may stock the “Europe Fill It In As You Visit Maps” I have been trying to get for several years (they are made in Germany) but unfortunately no luck although we did get a roasting grid for the Cobb BBQ. It was a pleasant drive through countryside very reminiscent of The Netherland in both architecture and almost obsessional cleanliness. What must some Europeans think when they get of the ferry at Dover and see the mess we create for ourselves.

Saturday 14th June 2014

Had a wander round Ribe today, we had gone specifically to visit the cathedral but there were weddings all day and it was closed to tourists. We did however visit a superb glass shop where the owner had made all sorts of glass items from very large bowls to lamp shades from key rings to pictures and wall plaques. One of the sad parts about this life style is that we would love to bring back some local craft work from the places we visit but simply cannot carry the weight, neither can we afford to keep replacing caravans wrecked by overloading.

Ribe boasts it’s own brewery, a micro-brewery that the owners sourced the main equipment in Warwick, England and so brew English style beers and ales. I had to try some - purely for research purposes you understand - and found them to be very good indeed.

Tried out the new roasting rack on the Cobb tonight it worked well, just a pity the sausages were tasteless still the pork steaks were fine

Sunday 15th June 2014

Back to Ribe again today to try to visit the cathedral, but being Sunday there were services all day and it was closed to tourists for the duration. While in town yesterday we got a leaflet detailing a historic walk around the town so this morning instead of climbing the new cathedral tower, one of the two old ones collapsed Christmas day 1283 killing many of the congregation, we went on the official tourist walk of the town. Very interesting but the leaflet contained so many dates, facts and figures that most of them went whoosh as they passed me by.

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Despite the suitable weather we postponed the BBQ tonight to go back into town to see the Ribe Night Watchman first employed around 1269 (not the one we saw) the watchmen’s duty was to maintain order on the streets of Ribe and to watch for fires and threatening storm floods. In 1902 the Night Watchman’s duties were withdrawn as un-necessary but in 1935 the tradition was revived as part of a tourism drive and the tradition survives to this day when at 8.00pm and 10.00pm dressed in his traditional old fashioned uniform and with his formidable mace in one hand and candle lamp in the other the Might Watchman takes you on a guided tour on the town singing the traditional songs and telling the history of the town. The tour is free and the late tour follows a different route to the earlier one.

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Last updated Sunday 14th September 2014                                                                                              © S W Ghost 2014