Everyone has a story to tell, and we heard quite a lot of them throughout the 30 years we were hostel hosts in Danhostel Ribe in Ribe, Denmark. Yet our recent guests, the world travellers Yoshihiro and Yuko Ishizawa from Japan, had a rather unusual travel story to tell.
Yoshi and Yuko started their world tour from Tokyo in August 2015 in this Mazda Scrum 660cc, and a year and a month later they arrived to Ribe and stayed a couple of nights in our hostel.
They have driven about 40.000 km and visited all these countries on their way: Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Holland and now Denmark.
From Ribe they went to Hirtshals to catch the ferry to Island, though travelling north is really out of their way, since their plan is after Iceland to go to Morocco through France and Spain and end in South Africa around May 2017.
Looking for a home abroad
Yoshi and Yuko tell they want to live abroad, so where they go, they are always looking for a house. They want to stay in a house that “has a good view, is cheap and quiet. If wild bears walk in the garden, it’s perfect!” It seems to have been very difficult for them to find a home that fulfils all these wished, since Yoshi and Yuko have been around the world since April 2005.
If you can recommend any places, please write it in the comments
In Ribe we have no bears walking around, but from the hostel we have the most amazing view of Ribe medieval town and Ribe River. The meadow, named “the Head Meadow” outside the hostel is part of the Wadden Sea National Park and has a horrifying history of beheaded pirates, whose heads were put on stake in Medieval times.
Black Sun – Starlings
Instead of bears Yoshi and Yuko enjoyed Denmark’s most famous natural phenomenon “Black Sun – Starlings” in Ribe. This photo is one of the photos, they took of this natural phenomenon. See more photos in their photo gallery of their travel blog.
Visiting Ribe because they love old towns
When Yoshi and Yuko visited Ribe, it was the first town/city they visited in Denmark. They choose to visit Ribe, because it is the oldest town in Denmark. They say “We love old towns. Ribe is beautiful, clean and quiet – very much. The hostel is clean, too, and a good place. We like Ribe and the hostel. We found the hostel using Maps.me (application).”
In their photo gallery you’ll notice that they not only love old towns but also old cars and motorcycles, since they took a lot of photos Tuesday evening on the meadow outside the hostel, when Ribe Classic had their weekly get-together. You can often see several hundred old cars these evenings. (See also: 10 things to do for free in Ribe – Denmark )
Working while travelling
Like many other round the world travellers Yoshi and Yuko are working while travelling to help fund their adventures. As a Graphic designer Yoshi gets orders from Japanese clients by Email. Yuko used be an architect in Tokyo and is now a macrame jewellery designer.
Travelling around the world since 2005
Yoshi and Yuko: “Actually, we’ve been traveling around the world since April 2005. First of all, we bought a scooter in Los Angels and drove from the Northern tip of Alaska to the South tip of Argentine. And from Vancouver to the east tip of Canada by another scooter. From Nordkapp of Norway to South Europe by another scooter. Around New Zealand by another scooter. Around Australia by a car. Around Southeast Asia counties by bus or something….”
In terms of historical sights, Ribe is a town without compare in Denmark. It is Denmark’s, and Scandinavia’s, oldest town and every corner oozes history. Ribe has the largest number of preserved buildings in Denmark outside Copenhagen, but in Ribe you can walk to them all, while in Copenhagen they are spread over a much larger area. You’ll find about 120 preserved buildings in Ribe.
Although Ribe is old, development hasn’t stalled. Urban renewal is ongoing, fitting respectfully into the old city, while differing in both design and materials.
Here are a few examples from the past year.
Ribe Cathedral Square
Where Ribe Cathedral was formerly in a hollow following centuries of accumulation of surrounding deposits (the cultural layers), you will now find the paving sloping down.
The renovation of Ribe Cathedral Square, designed by the Danish Schonherr Landscape Architects (Schønherr), rewarded the citizens with a lovely square for events all year round and for hanging out in cafes and restaurants during summertime. The town square is now a beautiful and functioning public space with the Cathedral as a natural centre.
The renovation also improved vehicular and pedestrian movement and appearance, though the outcome has proved controversial and started a debate about the proper balance between the rights of the vehicles and pedestrians.
Kannikegården – The Canon Monastery
Kannikegården is a building of visionary new architecture on the town square opposite Ribe Cathedral. It is designed by the Danish architects Lundgaard and Tranberg. It belongs to Ribe parish’s parochial church council and houses the parochial church council and the staff at Ribe Cathedral. The building is raised above Denmark’s first Christian cemetery, dating back to the Mid-800s, when the German Apostle Ansgar – known as the “Apostle of the North” – was permitted by King Horik of Denmark to built the first Danish Christian church in Ribe. Nobody knew if and where this church was built in Ribe, until the former building at this place burned down and archaeologists were allowed funds to excavate the area. Here they found the cemetery with these early Christian-Viking graves.
Outside Ribe Cathedral facing Kannikegården is placed a new and modern statue of Ansgar, the “Apostle of the North”.
A later canon’s monastery dating back to the mid-1100s was found in the same excavation and gave the building its name, Kannikegården. Some of the excavation has been preserved , so you can have a look through the building’s perimeter glass facades and see walls from the canon monastery’s dining room. In this way these ancient walls are integrated into the new building, telling a very important part of ancient Danish history to the public.
If you want to know more about Ribe Cathedral, the town square and the statue of Angar, the “Apostle of the North”: Ribe Cathedral.
If you want to know more about the Christian Viking graves: Vikings
Chilling by the river
A new wooden terrace by Ribe River only a few steps from the hostel was inaugurated a month ago. The terrace is the result of an exemplary collaboration between citizens of Ribe town and Esbjerg municipality. It is a great place for chilling out with a glass of wine or an ice cream cone while enjoying the view of Ribe River, the old town or the sunset over Ribe and the Wadden Sea National Park.
Both Ribe citizens and guests of Ribe have immediately taken the terrace into their hearts.
The hostel has been the setting for Jazz Camp Ribe for kids every spring the last 5 years. The camp is organized by Ribe’s jazz club Jazzin’Ribe, the culture school of Esbjerg (Esbjerg Kulturskole) and “Jazz Hostel” Danhostel Ribe, Ribe’s hostel.
The hostel really comes alive with jazz
When students from schools of music from all around the Southern part of Jutland come together at Danhostel Ribe to play jazz the hostel really comes alive.
Passionate and enthusiastic musicians
The age range for participants at this year’s jazz camp ranges from 9 to 19. The youngest to have ever participated was only 8 years old. All the students are passionate and enthusiastic about their music.
Professional music instruction
Students of all levels receive mentoring and professional instruction to develop their musical skills and enhance their knowledge of music.
During the weekend the kids attend classes in ensemble playing, they jam and they take part in different workshops and master classes.
Both instrumental musicians and vocalists participate in the music camp. Some of the participants train their skills both as vocalists and musicians.
Jazz camp for both boys and girls
In general the jazz genre is dominated by men, but at JazzCamp Ribe, the girls represent almost half of the participants. The girls play all kinds of different instruments as well as sing –just like the boys.
Hand-picked jazz teachers
All the teachers are handpicked by Jazzin’Ribe to ensure qualified, talented and experienced teachers and the highest level of education for the students.
Top jazz artists and teachers
Every year the students study with some of the top jazz artists and teachers in Denmark during the day, and see some of them perform at night at public concerts in Ribe.
Meeting old friends and making new friends
On top of the music, the camp is also about meeting old friends and making new ones, having fun, and playing in our sports hall, Ribehallen
Planning next year’s camp?
Maybe they are planning next year’s camp, composing new music – or maybe they are just having fun.
Delicious hostel food
Last but not least, the camp is also eating and enjoying the delicious hostel food.
Rising jazz stars
On the third day of the jazz camp all the students will show to the public how the new rising stars of jazz play at a concert at SeminarieHuset in Ribe.
Looking forward to Jazz Camp Ribe 2017
After 3 days the kids leave the camp with jazz dancing through their heads, already looking forward to seeing each other again at next year’s Jazz Camp.
The hostel host is a jazz lover
It’s no secret that Danhostel Ribe‘s host, Jens, loves Jazz. Jazz Camp Ribe was his idea from the very beginning. He is already looking forward to next year’s camp – and to the jazz camp for adults at the hostel this autumn.
A first impression of the Wadden Sea may be that it is an endless mudflat without life. The sea and the sky merge into one and the horizon goes on forever. But the area is full of life – so join us on an amazing wildlife experience in the Danish part of the Wadden Sea near Ribe, Scandinavia’s oldest town. Find inspiration for tours all year round – such as culinary adventures, family-friendly outings and incredible tours for all bird and wildlife lovers.
The Wadden Sea is a natural wonder on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites
But first – let’s tell you a little about the importance of the Wadden Sea, which is a natural wonder of unique global importance. It is inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Wadden Sea extends 500 km/310 miles along the North Sea coast of the Nederlands, Germany and Denmark, which makes it the world’s largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mud flats. It is home to more than 10,000 species of plants and animals ranging from tiny microscopic creatures to snails, crabs, oysters, birds and seals – many of which are rare or endangered. In 2014, the Wadden Sea World Heritage was extended with the Danish part.
Twice a day the seabed is revealed by the low tide, exposing a veritable buffet for birds foraging on the mudflats. Hidden in the mud, there are up to 100,000 crustaceans, worms, snails, and clams living in one cubic metre of water, mud and sand. 10 to 12 mill. migratory waterbirds stay here every spring and autumn to rest and forage before flying on to their breeding grounds in north in spring, or back to their wintering grounds in the south in autumn.
6 million migratory birds can be present in one place at the same time.
Follow the migratory birds from the Arctic to Africa and back again in this little cartoon: Flyway Bird Migration
Not all birds choose to stay in the same place
“I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on earth, then I ask myself the same question”. A travel quote by Harun Yahya.
Migratory birds are capable of flying incredible distances. An example is the small sandpiper called a red knot (Calidris canutus), which travels up to 15,000 km/9300 miles twice a year. After arriving in the Wadden Sea it weighs only 100 grams, when it leaves again its weight has increased to 230 grams.
Denmark’s most famous natural spectacle
The most famous natural spectacle in Denmark is called Black Sun (Danish: Sort Sol) and attracts thousands of tourists to the Wadden Sea National Park every spring and autumn.
Just before sunset hundreds of thousands of starlings gather from all corners of the sky to perform an impressive aerial ballet, during which they make constantly changing shapes in the sky. You can say that the starlings darken the sky, when they are circling around, that’s why we call this nature phenomenon Black Sun.
Beware of the tides. Join a guided tour
The range of the tide in the Wadden Sea near Ribe is almost 2 meters, so unless you are very familiar with the tides you shouldn’t walk out on the seabed yourself, as you might be caught too far out when the high tide starts rolling in.
We suggest that you join one of the guided tours.
At the bottom of this blogpost we have listed a number of tourguides, who arrange tours in the Wadden Sea National Park close to Ribe.
The world’s largest oyster found near Ribe
A staff member at Vadehavscentret ved Ribe (the Wadden Sea Centre Ribe) found the largest oyster in the world in the Wadden Sea about 10 km/6 miles from Ribe. The record is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. For your chance to improve the record, you can join an oyster tour during the winter months – October, November, December, January, February, March and April . All months with a “r” except September. You might even be lucky enough to find pearls in your oysters, like the very lucky oyster hunter on a tour with Mandø Event who found 30 pearls in one oyster.
Fresh oysters with a little squeeze of lemon is a delicacy – a glass of champagne is the finishing touch. You can eat as many as you want and collect all you can carry in your bag.
Sea Explorer. A family friendly activity
At first glance you won’t see many of the small animals living on the seabed, but by joining one of the most popular guided tours, the Sea Explorer family tour arranged by Vadehavscentret in Ribe (the Wadden Sea Centre), you will see them. These tours take place in the summer months and are the perfect family tour. Walkíng barefoot through the soft mud, you and your children will have a blast exploring the Wadden Sea, while trying to find beach crabs, small shrimps, mud snails and all the other creatures living here.
Seal tours in the Wadden Sea National Park
From August when the seals have finished breeding and feeding their baby seals the Wadden Sea Centre (Vadehavscentret ved Ribe) arranges seal tours to the seal banks. It’s a challenging hike and you must be able to walk at least 6 km/3,6 miles on the seabed. The tour includes an introduction of the biology of the seals at the Wadden Sea Centre and tickets to the tractor bus to Mandø. Don’t forget your binoculars.
Tour operators on the island Mandø also arrange seal tours in the Wadden Sea (read: “Explore with a professional guide” at the bottom of this blog post)
A guided mudflat hike during sunset
Another adventure you will never forget is to cross the seabed on foot to the Wadden Sea island of Mandø during sunset. As you walk the 8 km./5 miles to Mandø during low-tide, the tranquility of nature surrounds you and gives you tremendous sense of peace. The quiet beauty is only interrupted by the wind and the birds and now and then by the guide’s voice explaining about things you might see during your walk.
The tour is arranged by Vadehavscentret ved Ribe (the Wadden Sea Centre Ribe) and mostly takes place during the summer months. The Mandø tractor bus takes you back to the mainland.
Island of Mandø – only accessible by low tide
No real roads lead to Mandø (Mandoe), but the Mandø tractor buses – Mandøbussen and Mandø Traktorbus – bring tourists from Vester Vedsted (10 km./6 miles from Ribe) over the seabed/ebb road to Mandø during low tide. From the beginning of May till mid-October the tractor buses departe by low tide most days, though sometimes only once per day.
It is also possible to access the island by Låningsvejen, which is usually passable for private car, though not bicycles, during low tide if the westerly wind is not too strong. It is strongly advised that you consult tide and weather conditions before you set out. We think the best way to enjoy the island is to take one of the tractor buses.
Mandø – a paradise for nature lovers
Mandø is the smallest of the 3 inhabited Wadden Sea islands in Denmark. Around 30 people live on the island, and they are forced to adapt their daily lives to fit in with the tides and the storm surges in the Wadden Sea. As Mandø is the most difficult island to reach, it is an unspoiled paradise for bird and seal watchers and those who want to collect oysters.
Cycling – a great way to get out and about in the National Park
Why not do as these five young French travelers and rent a bike at Danhostel Ribe, and enjoy a beautiful sunset picnic while sitting on the dike at Kammerslusen ( the Ribe Lock) – where the Ribe River flows into the North Sea (6 km = 3,5 miles).
Spend a day cycling through the Ribe Marches along Ribe River to the Wadden Sea Coast at Kammerslusen, then follow the dike along the North Sea Cycle Route south to Vester Vedsted and back to Ribe. Approx. 25 km./15,5 miles (In Denmark is the North Sea Cycle route identical with the Danish National Cycle Route no. 1)
The National Park stretches all the way from the meadow outside the hostel and all the way to the coast, from where the area is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can cycle the whole distance – bring your own bike or rent one at the hostel, where you can also get a map.
Danhostel Ribe, a National Park Partner, welcomes cycling tourists and is quality labeled with both Bed+Bike and Cycling Denmark
The National Park in Ribe, Denmark
One part of Ribe town is included in the Wadden Sea National Park, called Hovedengen (Meadow of the Heads) outside the hostel, where pirates where once decaptiated as punisment. Some of the hostel is even included in The National Park. The hostel is the only eco-friendly accredited accommodation in The National Park (Green Key, Flower or Swan) and makes it an obvious choice if you are looking for sustainable accommodation.
Explore with a professional guide:
Vadehavscentret ved Ribe (The Wadden Sea Centre) in Vester Vedsted 10 km./6 miles from Ribe arranges tours including Black Sun Magic, starling migration (March, September and October), other bird watching tours, Sea Explorer (Summer), seal tours (August, September and October), oyster tours ( October, November, December, January, February, March and April, mudflat hike to Mandø (summer), tours on Mandø (summer), herb picking tours for making your own schnapps. Vadehavscentret schedules tours during periods which present the least disturbance to nature and wildlife
Tours from Mandø. 22 km/13,5 miles from Ribe (remember to be aware of the tides and weather conditions )
Mandø Event arranges tours with horse carriage in the Wadden Sea around Mandø: seal tours (May-October), oyster and champagne tours (from September until spring) as well as sunset tours
At the Fiskeri- og Søfartsmuseet i Esbjerg ( Fisheries and Maritime Museum in Esbjerg ) 34 km/ 21 miles from Ribe you can see the seals being fed in the sealarium every day at 11am and 2.30pm and go on mudflat walks in the Wadden Sea during July and August
50 km (= 31 miles) south of Ribe (towards Germany) Sort Safari arranges tours including Black Sun, Bird Watching, winter geese and swans tours, Oyster and Seal tours
Ribe Viking Market is Denmark’s most authentic Viking Market. Every spring it attracts several hundred Vikings from all over Scandinavia and Europe. Often even Arab merchants will find their way to Ribe.
In this article you will only find photos from this year’s Viking Market
The Viking Market season in Denmark starts with Ribe Viking Market and of course the Vikings are eager to sell the various kinds of goods they have produced during the cold winter
– of course they are also looking forward to meeting Viking friends
We immerse ourselves in Viking history and keep learning new things about the Vikings’ fascinating world. This year one thing we learned was that this small drill was the Black & Decker of the Viking Age
Next time we write about Vikings in Ribe on this blog www.danhostel.org we might show you some of our lovely Viking Children photos
– or tell you about one of the newest Viking Age theories: that the Viking Age started in Ribe as early as 725 AD and not with a Viking raid to England in 793 AD – or maybe tell you interesting news about the viking excavations that are going on right now (photo) as a continuation of the excavations last year when archaeologists among others found a fully equipped Viking warhorse.
To be the first ones to know, please follow Danhostel Ribe on some of our social media.
Don’t worry if you missed Ribe Viking market this year, there are many other opportunities to get close to the Vikings in Ribe – Denmark’s oldest town – during the year.
Every year around May 1st Denmark’s most authentic Viking Market takes place in Ribe VikingeCenter. More than 500 Vikings from all over Europe meet to join the market. Visitdenmark – the Danish tourist board – mentions it among the “Top events in Denmark 2015”
Do you dare to look in the eyes of a Viking
In 2015 this event will take place from May 1 to May 8.
We hope you feel inspired to put Ribe Viking Market on your travel bucket list for your next adventure when you have enjoyed (- or have been repelled) by our Viking photos of expressive Viking men’s faces.
If longer hair and beard symbolized strength among the Vikings this Arab visiting Ribe Viking market was able to compete with them. He had the longest beard we have seen at the Viking Market. He named himself after Ibn-Fadhlan, an Arab writer who more than 1000 years ago described the Vikings as “the filthiest of all Allah’s creatures“.
Sadly, we will never meet Ibn-Fadhlan again in Ribe, as he passed away last summer. He was a good friend of the hostel and his good humor and kindness will be greatly missed. All honour to his memory.
Some Vikings will scare you…
This Viking may not have long hair and beard, but we think his eyes are scary, and we certainly wouldn’t like to meet him again at the Viking Market.
If you visit Ribe Viking Market yearly, you will see boys grow up to become men. This boy – Birk – is well on his way. We meet him every year at the Viking Market, and as you can see he already manages the impressive look of an adult Viking.
What to do if you miss Ribe Viking Market
Ribe Viking Market marks the opening of Ribe VikingeCenter (Ribe Viking Centre) for the summer season ahead. So don’t worry if you miss the market, there are many other opportunities to get close to the Vikings in Ribe – Denmark’s oldest town – during the year.
Last weekend we had the amazing experience of hosting the Nordic Championship in Junior Bouldering 2015 in the gym of Danhostel Ribe.
Most of the climbers were accommodated at the hostel .
Both the gym and the hostel were seething with excitement, concentration, fun, joy and annoyance while 80 of Scandinavia’s best junior climbers were competing to win the title of Nordic Champion in Junior Bouldering 2015.
Climbers from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Denmark were competing in three different age categories: B: 14-15, A: 16-17 and Juniors: 18-19 years old.
Bouldering is rock climbing without ropes and harnesses, you get by with climbing shoes and a chalk bag. If/when you fall down you fall softly on safety mats. Your challenge in bouldering is what is called “to solve a problem”. In a contest you must be able to solve the different problems quickly. Furthermore the routes you climb on the walls are difficult and you must have a good balance, as well as a good physique, technique and strength.
Four minutes the competitors have to solve one problem and they have as many attempts as necessary within the 4 minutes.
Those who set the routes at the rock gym for a bouldering championship needs to understand how to do it. The routes must neither be too easy nor to difficult. In both these cases, it may be difficult to find a winner. During the championships the participants go from easier climbs, to harder climbs.
The skilled Joseph Wetzel and Robert Heinrich from Germany were chief route setter with help from 2 Danish assistants: Thomas Holm Blaabjerg and Thomas Acher Johansen .
The finalist climbers don’t have the opportunity to see the problems, before they are climbing. Before climbing they are isolated for 1 to 3 hours. That means that the last climbers are not given an advantage over the first climbers. All climbers get the same time to study the problem, work out how they will solve the problem and and prepare their climb.
Markus Beck Lyhne was the only climber from Ribe Klatreklub (Ribe Climbing Club). He made it to the finals and ended as number 6 in the junior group.
As you can see, the audience is almost as concentrated as the participants in the competition
Thilo Jeldrik Schröter from Norway solving the last problem. Thilo was the best junior climber and he can now call himself Nordic junior champion in bouldering 2015.
Congratulations to all the other winners:
Nordic Bouldering Championships 2015. 14-15 years old. Winners Youth B. 14 – 15 years old
Girls 14 – 15 years old
1. Julia Nilsson, Sweden
2. Nea Herforth Bæhr, Denmark
3. Marie Aagaard, Denmark
Boys 14 – 15 years old
1. Noah Seir, Danmark
2. Ymer Alber, Sweden
3. Olov Morsing, Sweden
Nordic Bouldering Championships 2015. 16-17 years old
Winners Youth A:
Girls 16-17 years old
1. Silvia Barrett, Sweden
2. Annika Korsgaard, Denmark
3. Primula Aalund, Denmark
Boys 16-17 years old
1. Leo Ketil Bøe, Norway
2. Oliver Islin Sahl-Madsen, Denmark
3. Guðmundur Freyr Arnason, Iceland
Nordic Bouldering Championships 2015. 18-19 years old
Girls 18 – 19 years old
1. Sunniva Eik Haave, Norway
2. Natacha Niviarsiaq, Denmark
3. Norea Marceau, Sweden
Boys 18 – 19 years old
1. Thilo Jeldrik Schröter, Norway
2. Hannes Puman, Sweden
3. Frederik Thulstrup, Denmark
Ribe climbing club did a great job – members as well as parents and friends from other climbing clubs.
About 40 volunteers made sure the championships ran smoothly and successfully. Volunteers carried out a range of essential tasks, from helping setting routes to creating the imaginative audience seating in the middle of the gym, to timekeeping, live streaming, food and drinking supplying, cleaning of wall holds, being judges, etc.
The Swedish national team doctor Björn Alber said about the championships: “Good accommodation with food just next to the climbing gym, boulder walls with World Cup potential, well-organized event organizers with an eye on the time schedule and results, skilled route setters – yes you have to say this was one of the most successful Nordic championships I have been to”
Some of the climbers relax in the hostel before they are leaving Ribe.
If you haven’t had enough bouldering by now you can see 6 hours 25 minutes and 43 seconds streamed live on Mar 15 from the finals in this video – from before it started in the morning till all the winners were known.
The video is streamed by Dansk Klatreforbund
A Hostel Manager for 28 years.
More than 500.000 guests were welcomed
I’ve been a hostel host in Ribe for more than 28 years now.
Most people call me a hostel manager, but I always used the word “host” myself, because I like to welcome our guests as guests – and it is vital to me that my guests feel welcome and at home.
Recently guest number 500.000 was welcomed, and we decided to celebrate this by making a donation to Johanne Dan, the beautiful ship, that is an important part of the view from the windows of the hostel. A view that both our guests and we enjoy every day.
Home is where the heart is. I lost mine to the breathtaking beautiful Ribe
Ribe is breathtaking beautiful. It is Denmark’s best preserved town and also the oldest. The hostel was built on the best spot in town and has an amazing view of the old town, Ribe River and the Wadden Sea National Park.
I am very thankful, that I was trusted a hostel such a lovely place, and have tried to take good care of it and our surroundings. Today travellers build sustainability into their journeys, but to me a green hostel has always been a must. The hostel has been eco-labeled with Green Key since 1997 and is still the only eco-labeled accommodation in all the Wadden Sea National Park. Since then we also became Official National Park Partner, was Refood labeled etc.
From dorms to rooms with private facilities
The celebration of 500.000 guests made me recall some hostel memories. When I came to Ribe as a young manager of a brand new and modern hostel, I ended in a real buzz about placing a hostel on the most attractive site in Ribe. Furthermore the hotel owners in town were very concerned that the hostel should not have better facilities than Ribe’s hotels.
But times changed and after some years our hostel was modernized and all our rooms got private baths/toilets.
From youth hostels to hostels for all ages
In Denmark are hostel rooms with private facilities more common than hostels with big dorms.
Couples as well as families and backpackers book a room with private facilities. When I started as hostel manager, guests who arrived after the hostel rooms were fully booked, were happy when they were offered a cheap mattress in a conference room shared with many others. They often stayed for many days, happy to have obtained a very cheap accommodation. Nowadays very few in our hostel will settle for a bed – certainly not for a mattress – nor shared showers.
Getting rid of old stereotypes about youth hostels
The Danish hostels started to welcome all ages many years ago, we have modern facilities and serve excellent breakfasts, many of us even have conference facilities, but it is hard to get rid of old stereotypes about youth hostels. We felt that youth hostels were not the right name any more. In Denmark hostels changed names from vandrehjem (homes for wanderers = youth hostels) to Danhostels. In Ribe we changed name from the Danish “Ribe Vandrehjem” to the international “Danhostel Ribe“.
Luxury rooms with view of National Park
Danhostel Ribe was enlarged twice. I started up with 26 rooms – now I have 40 and about 20.000 overnight stays per year.
As an icing of the cake the 6 superior rooms (A++) along the top floor were built featuring spectacular views of the old town, Ribe River and the National Park. (In 2010 the meadow outside the hostel became a part of one of Denmark’s first national parks: the Wadden Sea National Park.)
These rooms have become an attractive accommodation for many foreigners who marry in Ribe – and for couples of all ages who want a romantic holiday. What a pleasure for us to welcome these happy lovers.
Look inside our romantic hostel rooms 360º
Take a virtual 360º tour in one of these luxury hostel rooms. Click on the Google map above – You can even go for a walk around the whole hostel – 360º: Virtual tour of Danhostel Ribe. You have to “walk down the staircase” from the second floor (am.: the third floor), we have no lift. The other rooms are smaller and a little cheaper- but all have private bath/toilet.
Difference between hotels and hostels
When the hostels in Denmark are so modern what is the difference between hostels and hotels, besides the prize? One of the answers is “Do you want to be private or do you want to socialize – or maybe both?”
In hotels it is normal to be private. You don’t share your TV or minibar with others. In hostels most people want to mingle with other travellers.
In Danhostels it is possible to be both private and to socialize. You can close your door and be private when YOU want .
Futhermore most hostel rooms do still have more beds (usually bunk beds) which is a perfect fit for 3-4 friends traveling together or a family of 3 to 4 persons.
Most hostels have many common areas
If you want to socialize you have good possibilities in hostels – also in our hostel. We have many spacious common areas where guests can mingle and meet other travellers, exchange travel ideas, cook and eat, watch TV, play table football or other games, have fun and find new friends for life. We even have a sports centre for badminton and soccer and with one of Denmark’s best rock climbing walls. Children find new pals, parents and grandparents don’t have to shush them all the time, they can just enjoy some happy children.
Good mood and high spirits rub off onto us (the staff) and the other way around.
Danhostels are members of Hostelling International (HI Hostels)
We all need positive and life-giving oases in life and especially when we are travelling far away from home. Places we feel comfortable, meet new friends and broaden our horizons. This is what Hostelling International is all about : “to provide hostels or other accommodation which there shall be no distinctions of race, nationality, colour, religion, sex, class or political opinions and thereby develop a better understanding of their fellow men at home and abroad.” And “to promote the education of all young people of all nations, but especially young people of limited means, by encouraging in them a greater knowledge, love and care of the countryside and an appreciation of the cultural values of towns and cities in all parts of the world”.
Makes me very proud of being a hostel host in HiHostel.
And don’t forget if you have a HI Hostel or Danhostel membership-card, book through HI-Hostel, Danhostel or contact us, you will get 10% discount on accommodation. This discount is the same in all Danhostels in Denmark. On our homepage you’ll often find more offers
Free WiFi in hostels is a must these days
When I started at the hostel our guests booked rooms and beds by letter and included a return stamp. I had lovely postcards from all over the world and still keeps many of them.
Now most travellers are online. They check their mail, find new information and book their next hostel (- after they have checked ratings and what other guests say about this hostel). They also rate us – most of the time they even rate us in top – though we are often compared to hotels. They also help us to be better all the time, so thank you if you take the time to rate us, when you have visited us. I’ll put links to some of our ratings at the bottom of this blog.
Celebrating a 90th Birthday at the hostel
Many of our guests are frequent guests in our hostel – some have come here every year for more than 25 years. Others visited us years ago with their parents or school and are back with their own children. But it is seldom that I – like on this photo – hoist the Danish flag for a 90-year-old birthday. Kirsten Jack – who lives north of Copenhagen – celebrated her birthday at the hostel with family coming in from all over the world. As you can see she is a lively and wonderful woman who is helping me hoisting the flag.
Christmas in Denmark’s and Scandinavia’s oldest town
Denmark’s and Scandinavia’s oldest town Ribe creates the perfect setting for Christmas as in the “good old days”
The Christmas decorated town is breathtakingly beautiful and the town square with the huge Christmas tree and the enlightened Cathedral put the icing on the cake.
“Hygge” is part of the Christmas in Denmark
Danes love the feeling of “Hygge”, especially at wintertime. Hygge is difficult to translate, but means something like ‘creating a cosy atmosphere’ and can be described as an embracing feeling of warmth and well-being. We light the Christmas candles, huddle together to keep warm, enjoy hot drinks as cocoa or the traditional mulled wine with raisins and almonds and eat Danish, sweet Christmas Dumplings.
Christmas lights and decorated streets
Festoons with Christmas lights decorate streets and in the top of Ribe Cathedral you can see a Christmas star with sparkling lights every evening.
Christmas shopping in Ribe
The overwhelming beauty of Ribe makes it one of Denmark’s most delightful destinations at Christmas time to make Christmas shopping. A wide range of specialty shops – all within walking distance of the hostel – makes it easy and convenient to go shopping and perfect for buying unique souvenirs as Christmas specialties from Ribe. We can recommend Ribe Christmas Ale from the local Ribe Brewery (the brewery is open for visitors every Saturday) or Christmas cookies – Danish butter cookies in a cake tin with a snowy Christmas picture from Ribe. You can buy these in Parmo’s old grocer’s shop in the pedestrian street. You will be overwhelmed of all the wonderful Christmas smells coming towards you, when you open the shop door, and you will probably also be tempted by his famous fruits in port.
Christmas Markets in Ribe
Several Christmas markets take place in Ribe during Christmas time. One of the most popular is the Christmas Market at the old grocery store from the 1500s, Quedens Gaard. It is Christmas as in the good old days. You’ll find tastings like roasted almonds, Christmas beer and freshly baked cookies, but also old trades and crafts like candle and rope making, pottery, quilting and handmade Christmas craft is introduced to you.
Christmas hearts decorate Christmas trees
Making Christmas hearts and Froebel stars of paper for Christmas tree decorations is an old Danish tradition.
The oldest known Christmas heart was made by the famous fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen about 1860.
At Ribe Art Museum (Ribe Kunstmuseum) the beautiful Christmas tree is decorated with Sonja Brandes’ handmade paper cuts.
On the photo you see the favourite heart from the hostel host’s Christmas tree, and if you follow this link you’ll find a tutorial for the most common Danish Christmas heart: Make your own Christmas heart
Christmas street theatre and guided tours
An old beloved Danish children’s book Peters Jul (Peter’s Christmas) lend name to the Christmas time in Ribe.
In the weekends you can see the Peter’s Christmas street theatre and follow free guided tours “In Peter’s footsteps”. You can also follow Ribe’s Night Watchman for a guided tour in old Ribe.
Christmas Parade and Santa Claus
At the Christmas Parade you might see a Santa Claus on a red vintage fire engine. In his bag is sweets for the children.
This is a small town and tongues wag: “We know who is hiding behind the beard!”
Moped gang celebrating Christmas
A moped gang disguised like Father Christmases at the Christmas Parade is one of the more humorous elements in Christmas parade.
The real Father Christmas
Don’t be surprised when you see more than one Father Christmas in town, but this is the one Ribe citizen call the “real” one – he is named Johannes. You will meet him in the streets several times during Christmas time handing out Christmas caramels to the children. He did that for more than 25 years. His legs are sometimes a little tired and sometimes – like here – he hands out caramels from a horse-drawn carriage. It is also possible for you to have a sightseeing tour in the horse-drawn carriage.
Explore the historic old town
– Denmark’s best preserved
Ribe is Denmark’s and Scandinavia’s oldest town. It is also Denmark’s best preserved town or city with more than 100 preserved buildings. Only Copenhagen has more preserved buildings than Ribe, but it is a much bigger city.
Don’t forget to relax and enjoy the beauty of the town, move away from town centre and the pedestrian zone, go into the side streets and stroll along the harbour and you will feel tranquillity descends upon you from the beauty of our town.
Christmas break at Danhostel Ribe
Why not enjoy a Christmas break at the hostel, Danhostel Ribe, in November or December? From the hostel you can have this beautiful view of the Christmas decorated Ribe – Especially if you choose one of the hostel’s best rooms – the ones on the top floor.
Getting around is easy, central Ribe, shops, museums, cafes and pubs, attractions and Christmas events are just a short walk from the hostel.
This is the view from half the rooms at night time:
Christmas view from the hostel
The view from the hostel is amazing during Christmas time both at daytime and nighttime – although snow is not guaranteed.
Read more about Christmas time in Ribe and see Danhostel Ribe‘s Christmas offers: Christmas Holiday in Denmark
A sacrificed horse and lamb was the shocking sight that met one of Danhostel Ribe’s visiting groups at Ribe VikingeCenter. The völva, the wise woman of the Vikings, had slaughtered the horse, skinned it and placed the hide on a long pole, so that everybody could see her big sacrifice. The blood she sprinkled on a sacred stone filled with other gifts to the gods.
Why did the völva slaughter and sacrifice the horse, and should the hostel’s guests be afraid of being the next in line?
Listen to the völva’s own explanation in this video.
Blot – a pagan rite in the Viking Era
The völva was in the Norse Mythology supposed to have a special connection with the old gods and goddesses, the Aesir. Therefore it was also often her who carried out the pagan rites like the offerings to the gods. The “Blot” was a main rite celebrated in Heathenry. In this video the blot is a ritual sacrifice of a horse to honour the gods, followed afterwards of a feast at which the meat was eaten by the participants.
A pit with a horse sacrifice is found in the middle of a graveyard from the 700s in Ribe (next to the railroad). This indicates that this burial place was founded with a sacrifice to the Norse gods (see link number 10).
In the summer 2014 an archaeological excavation in Ribe revealed a fully equipped warhorse from around 700 . The archaeologists can’t say if this is a horse sacrifice, but it is unique to find a grave with a war horse from the Early Medieval Era in Denmark. In the article “Viking Ribe in Viking Denmark“, you can hear the archaeologists tell about the find in the video “The discovery of a dark age horse burial in Ribe, Denmark” .
The völva could also tell you your fortune
The völva was also a seer and a fortune-teller. At Ribe Viking Centre she might throw and read the runes for you, and tell you her prophecy. That was what she did for the hostel’s photographer, listen to the völva’s prophecy for the photographer in the video in this article: The Viking wise woman was the late Middle Ages witch
Viking Places in Ribe
Ribe Viking Museum (Museet Ribes Vikinger). Here you can see many of the archaeological findings from Ribe town and different special exhibitions, The Viking Museum is 0,5 km. (0,3 American miles) away from Danhostel Ribe
Ribe Viking Centre (Ribe VikingeCenter) is a ‘living village’ reconstructed according to archaeological findings in Ribe town and with lots of hands-on experiences. Ribe Viking Centre is 3,2 km (2 American miles) away from the hostel
Ribe Viking Market takes place at Ribe VikingeCenter one week around 1st of May. See photos