Our latest family trip was to the oldest city in Denmark, Ribe.
We had actually stayed in Ribe last year at this time. We strolled the streets but didn’t really take in much of the history. We knew it was an old, Viking town and that the church was huge with a unique look. We decided to make a weekend trip to Ribe with the girls to really take in this historic Denmark town.
Ribe was founded by the Vikings sometime in the year 700. It wasn’t really a community yet but was a trading post of sorts. Then around the year 860, Bishop Ansgar received permission to build a church and spread Christianity to the Vikings and/or Danes. In 2010, Ribe celebrated its 1300th anniversary. That’s a lot of history!
If you come to Denmark and love history, Ribe is definitely a spot to check out.
Our day in Ribe was typical Danish weather. It was rainy, gray and breezy. We first decided to check out the Viking museum. There are actually two different museums but we decided to do the one in town.
The museum takes you on a trip from the beginning of Ribe/Viking age to just the beginning of modern history. Great for adults. Not the best for kids.
The museum did offer a scavenger hunt for kids (available in English, Danish and German). You were to look through the museum for different numbered questions. The girls would either have to complete an activity or answer questions. A point was given if you answered correctly or completed the task correctly. While this was great at keeping the girls entertained, it did not give us adults much time to read through the displays. As soon as we were done with one spot, it was a race to the next one. The only display that made Claire stop was a skeleton with glass over it. She was terrified to walk over it and tiptoed around it.
What I was able to catch was fascinating. I had never been in a museum with such a length of history. The amount of artifacts and knowledge they had from that long ago was amazing. I probably could have spent over an hour in there BUT with children, we kept it under an hour and I probably only read an 1/8th of the displays.
On the other side of the museum, was a Viking play area. Avery, my princess, was able to dress up and play “house”. Claire and I pretended to be knights and jousted. This made up for the lack of “fun” in the museum part.
After some coaxing, we made our way to the top floor of the museum. There were some puzzles and activities for the girls. Claire worked on deciphering a code using Viking runes. There was also on exhibit of the Danish flag.
The Danish flag, or the Dannebrog, has quite a story. Legend has it that the flag fell from the sky during a battle in present-day Estonia. The Danish then won the battle. Dannebrog celebrated it’s 800th anniversary this year hence the reason for the exhibit.
By then, Avery was done. We had promised ice cream and I knew of an ice cream shop with gluten free waffle cones. She wanted ice cream NOW! So we made our way through the rain and wind to Isvaflen.
Yum. Yum. YUMMY! It was packed with tourists but well worth the wait. I was able to enjoy rhubarb ice cream in a gluten free cone. Avery was happy. This girl loves ice cream.
I mean she REALLY LOVES ice cream.
All the tables in the shop were taken so we decided to enjoy it by the Ribe Å (aka stream).
Beautiful view if only the rain hadn’t been coming down sideways.
With a little sugar in us, we walked down to the massive Ribe Cathedral.
The cathedral is a focal point in Ribe. It can been seen well before you enter town and is in the direct center of town. The cathedral has a LONG history. As mentioned above, Bishop Ansgar worked to get this church built back in 860. It has changed denominations, been left to ruin, expanded and repaired and even subject to fire and flood. If the walls of this church could talk…
When we arrived to the church, a wedding had just finished up and they were allowing tourist in to it.
There was sssooo much going on in this church. The old was mixed in with the modern. I was most amazed by all the little details. The huge wooden door with such small detail, the massive organ, the beautiful pulpit. It was a wonder to walk through and everyone was quiet. Even my usually loud children were respectful.
Located right next door to the church is the location of what is believed to be one of the first Christian burial sites in Denmark. Again, so much history!
After about 20 minutes in the center of Ribe , we called it an end to our trip. We decided to take a scenic walk back to our car through a canopy of trees and by another church.
By the time we left Ribe, the sun was shinning. A great closing to a day filled with Viking history (and of course, ice cream).