Tourist hat Ribe 29.08.16
I ought to be washing my clothes. Or thinking about finding a room in Copenhagen for my last few days. Or checking the weather forecast for tomorrow. Ok, thats important, its good. Or planning the rest of my time here in Ribe.
Its always a difficult balance, as soon as i arrive i need to do research and plan whilst checking transport for and confirming my next place and making preliminary enquiries and bookings for the place after that. Always at least two steps ahead, constant catching up.
I find myself sleeping in a bed with no headboard and against no wall, thatll be the pillow on the floor then, good job i dont fuss about pillows. I look forward to sleeping, i am just as close to the centre as i was last night and know that many churches will ring out to me and play tunes at different hours of the night. And half hours. And quarters. Its ok, its melodic. I think theres three sets of bells and they are coordinated to be seconds apart. Lullabies.
I have a loose plan for my time here but it occurs to me that exploring Esbjerg doesnt appear in it and if i am to catch early shows in the Vadensee festival i need to plan carefully. I am torn, need to do both those things but planning can wait.
I have been a dutiful tourist today. I took myself on the self guided tour of the town, spending time in the viking museum along the way. It was excellent in every respect and such a good grounding in terms of understanding my surroundings.
How can i choose a photo from dozens? Ok, my courtyard, some buildings and then something ive not really understood. I think this signpost might be related to bike routes but sadly the ending of the Hull to Denmark ferry means that cycle route one has a major hiccup these days! I hear they might be adding to it so it goes via Iceland? Maybe? This section has some awesome places and views anyways.
Ribe is expensive. Full stop. The oldest town in Scandinavia and a wealth of history, very carefully cared for it deserves to be expensive. Its kind of like an area stretching from Elm Hill to Norwich Cathedral and St Peter Mancroft, all still cobbled and with buildings beautifully preserved.
Ive taken endless photos of buildings for buildings sake and remember the way i did just the same in Bruges, with my mother, Carla and her friend Rosa (Nicola decided at 14, that family holidays were no longer cool. Coping with my mother was enough, i didnt need a truculent teenager on board as well and despite the challenges we faced together, i always trusted Nicola to make the right decisions when it mattered. Earning money was too important for her to make any seriously bad decisions so i think i left her at home, alone, aged 14. I love the way work can ground us)
Thats my random, later thought track, my immediate one had been much more selfish. Trying to work out the age of my mother, remembering her inflexibility and lack of fitness, trying to work out how old she was and how my body is comparing. I give up trying to work it out but do note that whilst she became increasingly stooped and breathless, she never complained, unlike me who constantly whinges about my body! Im actually unsure which is better, i prefer an open dialogue about my health.
Midway in my town walk, i gave myself lunch at a place i chose yesterday, thinking it sounded good and affordable at £12. I think it was mostly mayonnaise. There was some chicken, lettuce and potatoes but predominantly it was mayonnaise. Cheapskate, what did i expect for my twelve quid chicken spears with salad?
Eating out is never easy for me even at home. i would rather spend twenty pounds on beer than on a meal that often disappoints. And here, twenty is the minimum but twentyfive more realistic for a basic meal from a menu i cant interpret. That just leaves takeaways then. Having moved to a bed with a kitchen, Ive just done my food shop for the next four days and including a bottle of wine it was twenty five pounds. It needs to be, im struggling finding cheap rooms, have not managed to find a hostel once in my time away and these four nights here are around forty five each night and thats without breakfast!
If ever there were a reason for home ownership, its retirement! Rent it out my friends! I could never be here, doing this, without the rental from my house, such freedom!
I took an evening walk, returning to a local high spot, earth work remains of some ancient kings palace, hoped to see some starling action but found instead hawks hunting, a few rooks gathering and a pair of totally lost backpackers, carrying carrier bags of groceries along with heavy packs, lost, mapless after nine pm. I realise how safe and cautious i am being, always planning to arrive in a new place by mid afternoon. Give me time to ground myself.
They ask for help and i reach for my map, but, twenty eight hours after arriving i am out walking mapless and i both love and regret the fact for i would have liked to help them along their way. They head off and I choose a direction that i think will take me close to home, confident that my geographical grounding is sufficient to find my way back wherever i turn out to be.
Nearing home, from a direction not travelled before, a man hesitates as he enters his property. You were sitting he says, out walking, on the hill, yes i said i enjoyed the sky and the birds, i took photographs of you he says. I say oh, thats cool, thank you, and walk on.
A few steps further i turn around, return, ring his bell, ask him will he email me a photo. He agrees but sounds unsure, says he is a photographer. i say i travel alone, its rare to have pictures of me. he says i am only in silhouette, says he is the same, that nobody takes pictures of him. I say a picture of me in silhouette sounds beautiful, i give him my email address but i dont hold out much hope. But maybe…. theres half a friend.. he didnt have to tell me he had taken photos of me.