Dating from as far back as 710 AD, Ribe is one of Scandinavia's oldest towns and its well preserved mediaeval town centre is a higgledy piggledy maze of cobbled typical streets lined with crookedy half timbered houses.
Complete with its cathedral, a mish mash of styles from romanesque to gothic, which dominates both the town square and the skyline.
So much so that, according to the tourist brochure, a visiting american student apparently once asked "What are all the houses used for?" and was pleasantly surprised at the answer "we live in them!" ahh, bless.
It even still has a proper ye olde night watchman, who keeps the peace in the streets of an evening, ringing his bell to announce the sunset and telling his tales of days gone by. Although we didn't see him this time round.
It's all jolly lovely. A little bit like a single story version of Sandwich in Kent, for those of you who have been there.
We wandered the typical streets
and peered into courtyards,
then set off on a quest to find a bakers and the Kringle which Ulla had insisted was the best of the danish pastries. Well they all looked pretty good to be honest!
I'm not sure we actually got kringle, despite me writing it down, but whatever it was it was sticky and scrummy. Mmm cinnamony bun. Yum.
And sadly, that's all we have time for, on this, the mini-est of danish mini-breaks.
We'll definitely come back though. And in case any of you get to Jutland, here's Ulla's full list for you to cut out and keep. I'm sure she won't mind the rest of you benefiting from some insider knowledge!
From top to bottom:
- This part of Denmark most laid back and very friendly.
- The best art gallery in Denmark is at Skagen, right at the top. The light there is wonderful and has attracted many painters, and the paintings of the most loved ones, the danish colorists are there and not to be missed.
- Aalborg has a nice feel to it.
- The West Coast, although take care if you go swimming, the current can be ferocious, particularly at Jammerbugten.
- Silkeborg, which is the Danish Lakedistrict. With Himmelbjerget, which translates into the Heavenly Mountain.
- The old town in Aarhus is worth a visit.
- Ribe is quaint and with an old centre.
- The island of Romø where the starlings gather in their 100.000s - black sun they call it.
- MøgelTønder is quite nice.
- And Tønder itself is border country.
- The danes are good at design. Clothes, furniture, architecture, and do find some danish amber jewellery to admire.
- Summer clothes are cheap and cheerful, particularly if you are partial to purple or stripes in nice colour combinations.
- Denmark is also a great bicycling nation, and the bikes HAVE RIGHT OF WAY WHEN THEY ARE COMING UP ON YOUR INSIDE, SO IF A BIKE WANTS TO CARRY STRAIGHT ON AND YOU NEED TO TURN RIGHT STOP! OR YOU WILL HAVE AN IRRATE OR MANGLED CYCLIST ON YOUR HANDS. IT IS TRULY WORRYING, CHECK YOUR MIRROR BEFORE TURNING RIGHT ALWAYS, IT IS NOT A NATURAL THING TO DO FOR A BRIT.
- Also on a less worrying note, it may be really nice to hire bikes and find a bike trail, there are lots of them. Around the Silkeborg lakes should be nice.
- Netto is the equivalent of LIDL and best value for fruit and veg, bread, beer and wine. You may find quite cheap frozen north atlantic salmon in the freezer in the supermarkets.
- Nice bread too, but expensive at the bakers, supermarkets better.
- Rugbrod is what we eat, the sliced thin dark ryebread, sold in the supermarkets in small packets of around ten slices. Good with liverpate and cheese.
- Try also ROGET SIlD, whole smoked herring, it is lovely.
- Try also a hotdog from a hotdog stand in the street, not too deadly.
- Danish icecream is not bad either.
- And treat yourself to a piece of KRINGLE from the baker. Just say you want half a KRINGLE. Looks fairly uninteresting, but it is the best in the pastry department.
So there you go, you're all set for a little danish adventure. :)
But we have to be on our merry way. Although sadly its not so merry. The motorways of northern europe is the plan. Dull. Very dull
We still have 900km left to go before our target arrival in Zeebrugge on Tuesday night - which doesn't sound to bad but remember, we have an optimal cruising speed of 60km/h - and my little van is not happy :( It is still stalling rather than stopping at every opportunity, the starter motor is over-worked, over-tired, whiney and irascible, the fuel gauge has developed a heart stopping habit of plummeting off the scale in the manner of a nasty fuel leak, but is probably just a loose earth connection deep somewhere in the engine bay and the gas regulator is on the blink so sometimes we boil the kettle with a roar of flame and sometimes we are just gently warming its bottom with just the merest blue lick of flame.
Maybe it is time to come home.
Still, its not all bad. We are currently sat in a very fine german motorway rest area just the othe side of Hamburg, we have proper special rice with all the ingredients - a nearly forgotten treat! - a lovely danish lager to sip on and the cheesiest of cheesy 80's and 90's pop in the mix on the radio. Even 99 Red Balloons! Its positively party time!