Sunday, 13 August 2017

Saturday 12 August - Ribe

Where's Bertie? He's exactly where he was yesterday, in the motorhome parking at Ribe. Having not arrived until approaching 9 last night, and with a maximum stay of 48 hours, we are staying another night.

I can see why some people would think sleeping in car parks to be an odd lifestyle choice, especially when you're crammed in like this. Being so close to one's neighbours is not the norm.

After 4 delightfully rainless days, it was a lazy start today whilst we waited for the rain to stop. We waited, that is, until we realised that if we wanted bread for lunch, then we needed to venture out to a shop. Three kilometres of walking in the rain later, we returned and filled Bertie's bathroom with dripping rain gear.

True to the forecast, it dried and brightened up after lunch, so redonning our wet stuff (on the basis that wearing it is the best way to get it dry), off we went for a more comprehensive look around.

The town of Ribe is, apparently, one of Scandinavia's oldest towns, dating back to 869. With cobbled streets and wonky timbered buildings, and being very clean and tidy, its a pleasant place for a stroll:

The cathedral is also the oldest in Denmark and, with the different building materials used over the years it is a distinctive looking place:

The square tower isn't really curved. I have caused it to look that way by using a panoramic photo setting to fit more of the building in frame.

We had paid our entrance fee before we noticed that the cathedral itself is free and the charge only applies to the tower and the museum. As it goes, at a mere £2.50 each, we would have paid it even if we had read the signage first.

The tower (or towers, really as we started off in the light coloured stone tower, passed through the roof space under the verdigrised copper roof and then ascended to the top of the square brick tower) was worth every penny.

The inside of the square tower is filled with a wooden structure and it was up the old, sometimes steep, narrow wooden staircases that we made our way, stopping on the many floor areas/landings to read the information signs. Amongst the highlights were the workings behind the four clock faces and accompanying chimes:

Dating from 1696, their last major overhaul was in 1930-31. We timed our descent to witness the striking of the quarter hour

The bells have not been swung since 1800, for fear of their movement destabilising the tower (an earlier incarnation of the tower collapsed on Christmas morning in 1594; there was no indication that the movement of a bell was involved). The clanger is now moved against the bell using a mechanical lever.

The view from the top, once we got there (270 steps, incidentally) was good, and highlighted what a flat country this is:

A look around the museum and the cathedral itself completed our visit, then we sat outside for a few minutes pondering what to do next. With twenty something pounds worth of Danish Krone left in cash, needing to be spent before we leave the country, we had the option of using it for something mundane like groceries or diesel. Or we could go to the cake shop/café we had noticed earlier:

When in France and Spain we tend to stop by bars or cafés at least a few times a week for coffee. With Scandinavian prices we have been so restrained that, incredibly, this was our first café stop of the trip (today is the last day of week 10).

As we don't tend to watch TV in Bertie, we usually finish off our days with a suite of puzzles (quick and cryptic crosswords, sudoku and code words), but tonight I dragged Mick out to see the Night Watch Man at the start of his tour of the town at 8pm:

It was effectively a one-hour free walking tour, telling stories about the history of the town, and it was excellent. The final words uttered by the Night Watch Man as he ended the tour were "And it didn't rain!". His words coincided with me feeling the first drops of rain, and by the time we were half way back to Bertie it had become a sharp shower. Having gone out without jackets, we ran at a fair pace the rest of the way and are now steaming nicely. As I said earlier, the best way to get clothes dry is to wear them...

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