251. Day 10: Ribe

You’ll be relieved to hear that we managed to leave Hamburg with all limbs and digits intact.  Close call though, I reckon.

Now, we’re a little baffled.  We’ve been in Ribe for a whole day and no one has yet tried to explain to us how to work the toilet.  There’s not even a manual!

Ribe is a gem: charming beyond words. I fear I may have to bombard you with photos.  Let’s start with the bike of the day: outside our digs, this evening.

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Bit of context now.  Ribe is apparently the oldest town in the whole of Scandinavia.  It was once by the sea; a major port.  The major port in the North Sea, in fact.

The sea has now receded and I guess the main source of income is tourism.  However, Ribe is not in the least tacky.  There are two wool shops and at least two shops selling loose leaf tea.  Hardly any chains that I could see – just a small supermarket on the edge of the town.

There was a big fire sometime in the 1500s when about a third of the houses were burnt.  So quite a few buildings date from just after then.

The Cathedral is absolutely extraordinary.  It was started in 1150 and completed about a hundred years later.  Initially there were two towers but one collapsed on Christmas night 1283, killing many worshippers.

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Inside, the cathedral is very light and welcoming.  There are tombstones from the C12th century, carved oak doors and a pulpit from the C16th, carved pews dating from 1904; all alongside a stunning apse from the 1980s with frescos and stained glass windows which are awe-inspiring.

There was a school party looking round the cathedral when we were there; I was very proud of myself for not once shushing them.  It was great walking away – someone else’s problem!

After the cathedral, we went down to look at the art gallery.  There were Danish paintings from their ‘golden age’ in the (16th; I knew none of the artists but liked them very much as they were mostly genre paintings – scenes of everyday life.  The gallery was pretty empty: no one guarding the paintings.  ActorLaddie also noticed that pretty much all the bikes are unlocked too, so I guess they are an honest bunch here.

The top floor of the art gallery had photographs taken around Ribe by a famous lady photographer whose name I failed to write down.  Jane someone.

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Following that, we went to one of the two Viking Centres; there’s all sorts of artifacts including beads, coins, cooking implements and the like.  It was well presented but I must confess I was a bit galleried out by that stage.

There is one more thing I want to tell you about but I’m going to make you wait until tomorrow as I want to get this posted. So I’ll leave you with a mouth watering advert we saw on our wanderings. Nom nom.

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