Thursday, September 25, 2014
Wind and Sea in Denmark...That's Part Two of My Thoughts on That Country
I'm continuing my fascination with Denmark, by discussing two unique spots in that country. Now, I know that the castles and Copenhagen are great, but they are not the only places in the country to see. First off, as I have mentioned previously, Denmark is expensive. If you have a lot of money, you can stay in the city, shop til you drop and enjoy those expensive restaurants. If you have no imagination, you can still have a great time in Denmark. Don't think that you can't. There are a whole lot of things that you can do in Copenhagen. It has it's own city flavor. It's not just like visiting Krakow, Prague, Budapest, Helsinki, or Stockholm. It does have all the same kind of stuff that the others have, but only I would truly find them similar. But, wouldn't you love to see something that you can't see elsewhere?
West of Copenhagen, very much west, is the city of Ribe. Ribe is the oldest town in all of Denmark. The place sits on the edge of the Wadden Sea, and was once the home of Vikings. The town really hasn't changed all that much, save for a dyke that helps to control the floods. What you do find in Ribe is great food, laid back atmosphere, and great little places to stay. You get that small town feel, along with that traditional lifestyle that is part of what makes Denmark what it is today.
Around Ribe the locals are very proud of their Viking heritage and the Ribe Viking Center is there to help teach us all about the experience of being a Viking. It wasn't all raids and pillaging, although that was definitely part of life for the Vikings. At the center they will show you how they lived their day to day lives. They have houses, tents, food, games, and tradesmen there to show you. If you bring the kids they might be able to learn a little bit about using a bow, shield, or sword. They also might get to see how they made these items. Also in Ribe there is a Viking Museum that can show you some of the real artifacts from the Viking time.
Next to Ribe, I mean within a couple of miles, is the Wadden Sea National Park. This is one of the largest protected marsh areas in the world. I know what you're thinking. I thought that it would be lame too, but it's gorgeous. This place has extreme tides, so you can take a tour amongst the mud on one of their tractor buses, which is also largely how you get from island to island. It is not advised that you go walking about the tidal areas if you are not completely familiar with the tide schedules in this area. You also should not try to drive in the tidal areas unless you know what you're doing. They will flood the flats and you will be in trouble if you are in the way. But, as long as you do things safely, you can have a really great time. There are quaint little villages out the way of Mando Island with windmills and quiet little inns. There are the bus tours that take you out into the tidal areas and from island to island. They also go on seal watches in season. You can go on oyster trips, or go hiking. There are three islands associated with the national park, and on some of them are beaches as well. There's something for everyone that loves the outdoors. It's a beautiful place to watch the sunset too.
So, Ribe has a Viking village, Viking Museum, and churches and buildings that are over 1,000 years old. The Wadden Sea National Park has seals, amazing tides and great tours. The whole area is relaxed and easy to get around in. The accommodations and the food are good. You will have a great time in the area, and it is a great Adventure for Anyone.
So, take the time to get out of Copenhagen and see some of the wildlife. Take a walk back in history with the people who's ancestors lived it. I think that sometimes you can learn and have fun. I think that there is something to be said for seeing the sea from somewhere other than a beach full of umbrellas. It's a unique area that you don't hear much about. I love Denmark, and I will write more about this fascinating country in coming weeks. I hope that you will continue with me on my journey to see what else is in this little country that has so many happy residents.