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Ribe & Aalborg, Denmark

First impressions of Denmark: flat, windy, rainy, and full of bare, open spaces. It took us half an hour to even see a town. Needless to say, the drive was fairly boring.

 

Our first stop was Ribe, a tiny town that ingeniously provided a 48 hour car park which was perfect for us and several other campervans (including one as large as a luxury-sized bus. It could have slept 10 people). We soon realised we had no Danish krone and couldn't exchange any money because nothing was open on a Sunday, so there wasn't much for us to do. We quickly walked around town between rain showers, where we spotted ducks swimming in a small lake and bridges crossing over various waterways. That was all there was to see in Ribe. 

We stayed in the car watching TV for the rest of the day, with the rain, wind and lack of finances preventing us from achieving anything else. Danny made scones (as best as he could under the circumstances) which turned out a perfect, homely treat on such a miserable day. No cream to go on them but the jam and marmalade worked well. We also drank the bottle of Welshriesling that we bought in Salzburg, so all in all a great afternoon.

 

The best news of the day: Danny fixed our indicator. He didn't know how he did it, he just pulled it all apart, put it back together and now it works. After a month of driving with no way of announcing when we were going to turn, I was ecstatic that this had been resolved.

First priority on Monday: exchange our money. Luckily for us, tiny little Ribe had about five banks right next to each other, making it easy to get rid of our euro. Thinking we were rich again, we did our best to blow it all at once. On our walk we found a supermarket/shopping centre that was so enormous that it must have taken up half the town. It took us forever to find everything we needed and in the end we still couldn't locate UHT milk (they stocked rice milk, soy milk, chocolate milk, some sort of "vegetable" milk but no long-life cow's milk). They did have roughly a thousand beers on display – Danny held himself back and only bought three. I found flavoured cider among all the beer and thought I'd give it a go. 

From Ribe we drove (with a perfectly working indicator) to Aalborg in northern Denmark, famous for aquavit (a potent spirit) and pub crawls.  Although alcohol was high on our to-do list we decided to be a little touristy first. This involved a visit to a Viking burial ground just outside of town, which was basically a field with white rocks strewn around and a few information signs. Not exactly enthralling.

 

Back in town through heavy traffic, we located a car park and went in search for an information centre to obtain a map. An information centre did not seem to exist. We walked around for ages and found no signs or anything indicating there was any sort of tourist office in Aalborg. We gave up.

 

While Danny was buying a Danish hot dog (complete with three sauces, pickles and onion crisps), I asked the hot dog lady about finding a map. Incredibly, she pulled one out of nowhere and helped us to find our way around. Now that we had some sense of direction we headed for the castle (which looked more like a farmhouse) and explored the underground tunnels. They were nothing special, but really, who wouldn't want to have secret passageways in their house? After a quick tunnel run we raced back to our car park before the one hour time limit expired and drove to a caravan park.

 

On the trip we saw an old man in an electric wheelchair travelling down the middle of the road, smoking a pipe. Too cool in Denmark.

The caravan park offered the best kitchen I had ever seen in a caravan park. Everything was modern and clean (a rarity), and it even contained microwaves and an outdoor BBQ (even more of a rarity). Unfortunately we had nothing to cook in either the microwave or the BBQ, so we stuck to our veggie pizza. Danny drank his beers, although he had to throw out the last one because the alcohol content was 10.5% and tasted more like alcohol than beer. I tried my flavoured ciders and decided that was the last time I buy flavoured ciders. 

At about 8:30 p.m. we caught a bus into town and started our pub crawl. We hit four different bars, two which were on "booze" street. None of them sold a cider or wine other than Chardonnay, which left me with limited choices. It turned out that Bacardi Apple and lemonade was not a bad combination. Danny, of course, was content with the beer. Danny taught me how to play fussball, and I managed to beat the expert convincingly (he wasn't too impressed by this). I dragged Danny out of the last pub at midnight, which was early by Aalborg's (and Danny's) standards. Amazingly, it was only just becoming dark, with patches of light still on the horizon. It made for a pleasant and sobering half hour walk back to the caravan park.