Legoland, Billund: 4 September 2016

The boys really were tired, from two days on the go, full of activities, so I woke up before them and had showered by the time they got out of bed. T. treated “Boo” and “Kitty” to fried eggs for breakfast again, which they truly enjoyed. We prepared ourselves, after one look out the window, for a day full of rain and maybe also cold weather. What was really annoying this morning, was the dampness in the holiday let rooms at Bindesbølgård farm. We had noticed it already the previous day, but now it was getting upsetting. The flat was intended to house five people, but there were no hooks for towels. We had to drape them over all the chairs, and they never dried. I am not too happy to wipe myself on an already wet towel. And the bathroom was wearing our patience thin. When you showered, the water went all over the bathroom floor, but when you after the shower, tried to scrape it down the sewer, it just floated out over the floor again! We all had to take off our socks, before going in there, during our entire stay, since the socks would get wet, the floor never drying. And we had to have the bathroom carpet outside the door, so we could wipe our wet feet on it, coming out of the bathroom. For the price we paid, these things were really annoying. As was the fact that there was no fan above the stove, so that the entire flat got smokey, when frying food.

This morning, we also had another nasty experience. Since it was damp in the flat, I walked around in my underwear after showering, as did my husband, because he is always overheated. The front door have a big window in it, with a thin net covering it, but that did not prevent people from staring in. When I got out of the bathroom, naked, on my way to get underwear, the neighbour flat’s two kids stood and just stared in through the window. Not a meter from the door, but with their noses pressed to the window, in order to see everything. Honestly! I can not abide parents who do not keep an eye on their kids! We are always expected to have 100% control over all our kids, but others seem to be allowed to do whatever. And this was rude! I screamed and ran in to the bedroom and got my underwear on, but it was too hot/muggy to get fully dressed, yet. When I got out and started packing for the day, an adult woman stood and stared in to the flat, just like the kids had done. Are people insane? I just stared at her in disbelief and hope she felt ashamed of herself, but who knows. Silently I was cursing under my breath though, since the owners of the flats,  could do a lot to improve those flats. One thing would be to exchange those doors! So one can not look in through them! And of course the bathrooms really need to be sorted out. It is disgusting and unsanitary.

All that said, what about Legoland? Our feelings were somewhat muted that morning, thanks to it pouring down rain. We had to travel to Legoland already dressed in rain clothes and wellingtons. But we had decided that the rain was not going to spoil our day. This day, since it was a Sunday, they did wait till 1000 sharp, before the magical gate went up and everyone ran to the ticket machines, which let you in. “Kitty” was upset at the amount of people still there in the rain, but I told him that it was nothing to what it could have been and that the park is big, so when everyone spread out, it would not feel like a lot of people after all. As the day before, we headed for the information, to receive the handicap cards for “Gubby” and “Boo”. This time it went quicker, since we were already in the system. They got stamps on another hand than the day before, just to make sure.

How could we afford two days at Legoland, you might wonder? Well, on the bags for hamburger buns and hot dog bread, you have received adult freebie tickets for Legoland, for probably the last six months! You can only use the ticket when you pay the full price for a child, but it is still a big saving! And when you go a second day, you get to buy your tickets for a third of the regular price. Well, maybe not exactly a third, but it sure is less than half the price! So, it does not have to be as bad as you think. If you hate hamburgers and hotdogs, the toy shop BR usually offer free child tickets, if your children join their  club. And why not? It does not cost a thing, your child gets a free Birthday present each year, you get bonus stickers every time you shop and they have special membership prices, sometimes, on chosen toys. So, all in your favour!

When we got in, the boys started to discuss where to go first and almost took off when I told them, to follow me. I had made an important decision the night before. There is something called the SEAT traffic school. Your entrance ticket to Legoland, lets you ride on everything, except going to the SEAT place. That costs 80 DKK. What it is, is small cars moving on electricity. Not fast. The children with these special tickets, are supposed to drive around a course looking like a little town, with traffic lights, roundabouts, petrol station, car wash… The goal is to get a little driver’s license. But you are supposed to follow the traffic rules and not crash in to other drivers. ALL my children have begged to get to go on this. And I have always said NO. Because I had a traumatic experience from that place, from “childhood”.  Let us reminisce together:

My father died when I was 14. My sister was 9. Eight months later, our neighbour’s daughter, 16 years old, begged my mother to persuade her mother, to buy a trip to Gran Canaria. My mum did not just persuade Karin to go there with her daughter, she also booked a trip for the three of us. Feeling that our life had been so sad for years and that we needed a break. In San Augustin, my mother met another single mother, vacationing there with her two children. The boy was the same age as my sister and the girl, the same age as our neighbour’s daughter. The mother became friends with my mother and that summer, when I was 15, we went to visit them in Stockholm and then she came with her son, to visit us later on, the same summer. But our town being a very boring one, was not much to host in, so it was decided that we would go to Legoland. Back then, all of the personnel, were basically grown ups. Grumpy middle-aged people, most of them. Especially the ones running the traffic school.

I was too old to go to it of course, but Christian and my sister being ten years of age, insisted on going through that one. My sister did not know the traffic rules very well though or at all. She sat down in that car and took off without a care in the world, driving the way she pleased. The Danish men stood and screamed in their microphones, over the loud speakers, in Danish, at her that she was breaking the rules! They were furious, but her not understanding a word of Danish, was not troubled at all. She was clueless as to who they were shouting at. And I, who understood Danish, stood there ashamed. In those days, you only got a driver’s license if those men determined you had done a good job out there on the course. Let us be honest and admit that my sister did not receive one and Christian did! And my mum scolded my sister and asked her why she did not obey the men’s instructions on the loud speakers.

I never wanted to go through something like that again. I felt ashamed of my stupid sister. And in latter years, when I became a mother myself, I was not going to let my children be treated in the manner she was and stand there with empty faces, not receiving a license like all the other children. I have not wanted to subject them to that, to failure in an amusement park, which is supposed to be all about having fun. And I must also say, that I have not felt the wait, worth it. It being the most popular place in the park! But my little boys have looked at it with longing eyes and nagging with their mouths, for years. In 2013, 2014 and on the 3 September 2016. I told T. about my plan. Go there first, before the queues. And explain our situation.

So we went there, and the boys could hardly believe their eyes. That they were going to get to do it. Last opportunity for “Kitty” as it turned out, since you have to be between 7-13. Turned out, he just made it being 12 and so did little “Gubby”, just having turned 8. I held up the handicap cards and told the man at the payment desk: “All three of my boys are autistic, even though only two carry the cards today. They so much want to do this, but they do not really know the traffic rules. You can’t scream at them. You need to explain to them calmly, both one and two times, for them to understand what you mean. And the little one, is very scared of everything, he is insecure and afraid of making a mistake, so he will need extra guidance. Can this be done?”. He assured me that they would take extra care of them. So I paid, and “Gubby” started to worry, even though their ride was not until 1100. To make him calm down, we went over to some of the Duplo rides, which we never got around to the day before, out of lack of time. Soon, it was time to show up at SEAT and all eager children had gathered by the gate.

Legoland is really run by personnel aging between 17-20 now. So, a young girl and a young man stepped forward and explained, in all languages, the basics of traffic rules and signs. All children holding a flag, showing what country they were from. I had to step up and tell the young man speaking Norwegian and not Swedish, that he had lost “Gubby” from the word go, my son staring off in to space with his “Chinese face”, not hearing a word. From my place I had to quickly do a summary for “Boo” and “Kitty” while the two “teachers” took photos of the children and tried to explain simply, for “Gubby”. He stood and tugged at the young man’s shirt and said “Will you please sit in my car?” and when the young man looked at me, I nodded and whispered “please”.

imageAnd then, there was nothing T. and I could do! “Boo” drove a little bit like my sister did, back in time. He crashed in to people, he forgot to put out his arm to indicate where he was going to turn, but he had such a fun time and not a soul screamed at him. “Kitty” had a big smile on his face throughout. “Gubby” looked worried and looked at the young man for assurance the entire time. But towards the end, when the young man jumped off the car to sort out a crash, T. called out to him and said “Drive ‘Gubby’, you can do it!”. And he did! He drove in to get petrol (pretend of course) and he drove in to the car wash as well. Then he got stuck there, so the young man returned to him. But the boys came out with big smiles on their faces and little licenses in their hands, the “teachers” asking for us all to applaud, which we of course did. I know it was an expensive treat, but how often do we do something like this? And it is not fun to always scrimp and save when on vacation, like I do. Sometimes it is just nice to treat the children to that little extra, if one can.

We headed for the Ninjago area next, since we were right next to it, and went through the ride again. I insisted on “Kitty” going in our carriage, since “Gubby” and I did not know what to do and perhaps he could show us? He did before it started and we did pretty well, as a team, actually. “Kitty” deciding to play for two people, thinking that would raise our score. I am not sure it would have differed, but he was proud of himself that he played two tables! Both boys really wanted the picture and I did have it put in a plastic frame which squashes around some gel-like fluid, when you move it. They actually offer it in the place and we chose red gel. But the rain was now pouring down worse than ever. The fight started for keeping everything in the pram dry or as dry as possible. So we had to put the frame in a safe spot. I was just happy that it had only sprinkled when the boys were at the traffic school. The poor children after them, must have suffered.

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We tried to go through the laser maze now, when there was no queue at all, and sorry, but it was pathetic. No, actually “Kitty” thought it fun. He has ADHD as well as autism, and his body parts always seem to be all over the place. He might actually like parkour? We walked in like Michelin men to this activity. You get to two rooms and choose which to queue for. When it is your turn, you push a button which says easy or difficult. Now, the day before, I wore ballerina shoes, a T-shirt and comfortable Capri trousers, which let me move. This day, I was wearing jeans Capri trousers, shirt, hoodie, rain jacket, too big rain trousers since mine have disappeared, Doc Marten’s boots on my feet and a rucksack on my back. Not quite as Ninja-like as I would have wished. After pushing the button, these laser beams stretch all over the room and like a burglar at a museum, you have to pass from one door through the room, to the opposite door. Not touching the beams and being timed! I tried my best for the sake of my children, but my rucksack caught all the beams. Finally, I just stopped right in the middle of the room and took it off, but this lost me a lot of time, so I was out. “Boo” watched “Kitty” in the other room and said “He was crazy, he just flew through that room like a Ninja”, so little brother was impressed with older brother! None of the two Ninjago activities were fun enough, to try them a second time that day. T. and “Boo” tried to do the Ninja reaction booths outside the building, but “Boo” with his motor problems, did not manage to hit a single lamp, which was the goal, and T. was not much better than his son, so we left disappointed with that area of the park. Instead we headed for the Duplo things we had not done before the traffic school, then we took the Legotop, which is just a scenic tour up in the air, because I got motion sick on the Duplo airplanes! From there we headed down to all the FUN rides.

We all went on the Dragon, even though coming out of the mountain, ment being in a regular shower! Or like I have named it, Noah’s Ark rain. T. wanted to buy a fun  family picture in a kitchen magnet. But “Gubby” and I just could not get ourselves to look in the camera, when all that water splattered our faces, so we looked down and ruined every photo! We had to give up and decided to make a magnet of the previous day’s best picture! I would say, that we went on all the rides we went on the previous day, which you can read about in my previous post, with a few alterations. “Kitty” and I managed to get “Boo” to come with us on the superfast rollercoaster X-treme Racers. And T. and “Kitty” managed to get him to go on the Polar X-plorer. So his fears are finally gone! But “Gubby” totally refused, so we went and did the insane thing: We bought “Mamma Is”  (see my previous post from Legoland 3 September)! I would have liked to have bought it at the end of the day, but you always over-estimate how much time you have left then. You want to ride till the moment the rides close down, and by then, the shops have closed too. I don’t know how many times I have run across all of Legoland, to make it to this or that shop, for a child who has finally decided what souvenir they want, arriving with my heart pumping uncomfortably hard, all sweaty. I did not want a repeat of that in the rain. Especially since we had to make it to the restaurant, before they closed the ordering, and the main photo stall, to have the family kitchen magnet made. Everything it turned out, was closing earlier, since it was off-season and a Sunday. Something I had missed when planning the trip and making bookings!

So, while the others rode the Polar ride over and over again, “Gubby” and I stood and looked at each penguin’s face till we found the right one. It had to be packed in two plastic bags to prevent it from getting soaked! And be put under all our things, in order to prevent a theft. Since it was raining so bad, we realized we could not sit down and get breads and such out for lunch. We had to succumb to foolery and eat ice-cream for lunch. The boys did not mind, not at all. But we were all disappointed, since the same thing that happened to us in our village, on the last day of school, 2015, happened here. Different people make different size ice cream cones. The ones we got the day before, 3 September, were big and worth the price, the ones handed to us this day, were small and definitely not worth the price. The children whined at the tiny little over-priced cones and I was boiling on the inside, because this was deceit. But what can one do about it? Nothing!

We did go on all the water rides and the Viking ride was actually amusing in the rain, since by now, it was just sprinkling. We ended up sitting with two Dutch men of about 30-35. They were not wearing any rain clothes and looked at us all in rather an amused look. They saw me prepare for the gigantic slide, where you get really splashed, by pulling “Gubby’s” hood over his head, since he does not want wet hair, and pulling my hood over my head, trying to protect my glasses. Then we arrived by the lift that takes you up to the top of the slide. Everyone screamed in glee since that is when you know who will get splashed the worse! The one’s who will face the slide with their backs, will be drenched and this Dutch man turns to me in horror and says “Can I borrow your rain clothes?”. We laughed since we knew it was too late and he, “Gubby” and I prepared ourselves for getting drenched, us being the ones facing the slide backwards. Not a ride to go on without rain clothes!

When the day started to draw towards its end, panic struck. Which rides to go on when you have very little time left and it being the last day there? The boys had gone on the Safari ride for cute photos and  while T. and “Boo” went to the haunted house, “Kitty” and “Gubby” went on the lighthouse one, where the persons have to pull themselves up with a rope, in order to create a free fall. The girl dressed as a pirate had “Gubby” laughing out loud, teasing them with a sword, pretending to try to cut their feet off. “Kitty” was also totally up for the game, trying to stay out of her reach. I stood there contemplating how some of the youths working at Legoland really are troopers. They do their best to stay cheerful and make it a good experience for the children visiting, even if the weather is poor and depressing. We went on the mini-boats, even though this grandmother stood and accused “Kitty” of poor manners, because “he chose to go alone in a boat, when others were waiting in queue”. Stupid cow! He was with us and you are not allowed to sit three in one boat! Nor is there room for three people. But people just can’t keep their mouths shut can they, even though they know nothing of the background. I made sure to say something to him, just as we passed the cow, so she saw that he was part of a group and us being in the boat ahead of him. I am not going to take verbal abuse laying down!

When we only had a half an hour left, we split. T. and the older boys wanted to spend their last minutes on the Polar X-plorer and “Gubby” wanted to spend it on the Ice-pilots. Then we had gone one last time as a family, on the Dragon, but the photo came out bad again, since we were placed far back and not in the tree first carriages. “Gubby” and I, managed to squeeze in three times on the Ice-pilots, even though there was a long queue the last two times. He was as worried as before, demanding to know if this or that couple had programmed a fast program or a slow one. I had to calm him down and reassure him over and over again, that I had programmed for a slow program. Funny actually. The first time, it was really slow. We ended up sitting staring up in the ceiling a lot and “Gubby” asked me “What are we doing here?”. I had to laugh and say “You wanted this move!”. The two last times, I made sure we would not be on our backs staring at the ceiling, because there is nothing funny in that at all.

When we were on our way out, when the ride was closed, these ten teenagers snuck in the exit way, trying to get on one more ride. They ran us down actually and “Gubby” said “Where are they going, you said it is closed”. “Yes, it is closed and if they get in there, they still don’t have any cards with a program on it, so what they are doing is stupid!”. We met the others and decided to divide and conquer. We ran to the restaurant and I took one quick look on the menu and said that I did not want to eat another bland pizza, with only a couple of pieces of bacon. So I told T. to order Fettucine Salmone for me, an expensive dish, but I was sure it would taste better than the pizza. And then I quickly got the boys to tell me what they wanted: “Gubby” insisted that he wanted Spaghetti again. He refused to eat anything else, even though I tried to make him try something different. “Boo” wanted the same as the day before as well, the chicken on a stick and Lego chips and this day, “Kitty” would get the same thing, since he envied his brother’s food so much, the night before. T. went inside with everyone to get a table and order, while “Kitty” and I ran off to order the family photo, in a fridge magnet and then go and buy his souvenir from the Lego shop. Unfortunately, since it was off-season and Sunday, the rides closed 17:00 already, and the park 18:00. Very sad!

We had already been in the shop, the evening before. But the boys had got overwhelmed. It was hot, too many people, and they saw what other people bought. BIG boxes. And I had put a limit to what I was willing to pay for souvenirs. “Kitty”had not saved a penny, but he has such a difficult time to save for things. His ADHD demands instant gratification. I was not going to rub it in his face and ruin our holiday. So, I agreed to buying him one thing, but not anything expensive. Same thing for “Gubby”. I was very proud of “Boo” actually having saved up quite a bit, for something. All spring and summer, he had collected cans for Legoland. But at Legoland, your money do not stretch far. So, his money was not enough for the boxes which tempted him. We had to go home and discuss things Saturday evening. I told the price limit and I informed “Boo” how much I would be willing to add to what was missing, but that there was a limit to how much I would add. Now, we entered the shop and literally ran to get the box with the Corvette, which “Kitty” wanted. Then I stood there and did not know what “Boo” would want from the lower price range. After all that saving, I could not have him go home empty handed. So I took a photo with my mobile and sent “Kitty” to the

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restaurant, in order to ask his brother, if this was a box he was interested in. “Kitty’s” body parts flaxing all over, took off like a sprinter and was back in no time. Yes, that was an agreeable box, so that sorted we were almost ready to leave. We picked some pixel Lego bags, to have at home for everybody to play with, since they were on sale, a popsicle tray with a lid, to make funny popsicles in, two mugs and that was where I thought, enough is enough. No way I was going to spend what the parents around me were spending. It got expensive as it was.

Over at the restaurant, the family had actually landed a table inside, right away. Thanks to it being a regular school week, no doubt. While people eat at Legoland on Saturdays off-season, they do not do so on Sunday evenings. Everyone takes off for home. So we sat there almost all alone, which in a way was nice. But unfortunately, we had our table beside what was probably a mixed family. I did not mean to listen in, but there was not a whole lot less to do. It was pretty obvious that either this middle-aged British man had been to Asia to fetch a bride and came back with a teenage daughter on his hands. Or, they were a dysfunctional family. There sat an Asian woman doting on her daughter, a sulky teenager, about 15-16 years old. Trying to make her eat, when she clearly was not interested in the food. The way the mother fussed, I studied the girl closely to see if she was handicapped, since her mother’s behaviour indicated that. But as far as I could tell, there was nothing wrong with the girl, except that she could not stand the father and did not want to be in that place. And in my mind, I wondered what on earth inspired the parents to take a teenager of that age, to Legoland? It is one thing to go as a family, with younger siblings, but it is a little bit odd to take ONE teenager to such a place. There are amusement parks which are more amusing for that age group. But it was quite obvious after a while, that the mother wanted to please the father, who was a bully, and her treating the daughter as a child much younger than she actually was. How dare I sit and draw such conclusions? Well, he was very opinionated about our children! Small children not quite the thing for this business man! I was happy when they left the table, so we could eat in peace, not being judged.

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T. had ordered pizza a second day in a row. I was all amazement after the previous day’s fiasco, but I got my salmon meal. Not worth the money it cost, especially since it was to contain asparagus, but they had replaced them with leaks. T. said it was not leaks but I know a leak when I taste it. All boys loved their meals, so all in all, we were content. And we were the last people leaving Legoland! Unfortunately, it had started to rain pretty bad again, so I had to thwart “Kitty’s” plan to climb up on the sign, which he usually does for a goodbye picture. I was afraid of him slipping on the plastic and really hurting himself, so we just had to take some fast last pictures on the ground and then run to the car. We stopped by the local supermarket again, on the way back to the holiday let, and this time “Jane” led us up the garden path completely. We got lost out in the outskirts of Billund, in the dark and when we finally got back to Legoland, my husband who is the worse map reader in history, had me turn off to the airport. I was not at all amused by the time we arrived back to the flat and he was in a sulky mood, not speaking to me at all. Nice last evening!

The good thing or odd thing, was the dark farm we returned to. The other two families were gone, so we were the only ones left. Made it easier the next morning to clean though, not having to fight over the cleaning things, vacuum cleaner and so forth. Ask a perfectionist to clean a holiday let, and it will take a long time, but I left that place MUCH cleaner than what it was when we arrived. The boys had a fun time playing with the kittens, while I cleaned and T. tried to pack the car in a sensible way. Had I had the cash, I might have bought one of the funny cement hens that the owner makes, but while I was cleaning, I got more and more irate at things not working very well, there not being the things I am used to or that I wanted to use. So in the end, I just walked around taking photos of the funny hens and then we all, said a tender goodbye to the kittens, returned the key, and drove up the alley way to the big road. To once again be mislead by our “Jane”. We drove around like fools without the paper map, which I had left in the holiday let, since it belonged there, and finally we had to go on the internet again or we would have wasted bunches of petrol.

At Legoland, we had seen this funny wagon people drove around with, which they called Trekkvogn, when we asked them where they had bought them and what they were called. I had never seen them before, and would have loved one instead of using the old pram. You can load it with your food, rain clothes and everything else you need for a day. Very practical. One place which showed

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that they had them, on the internet, was Bilka in Odense, so I stopped there on our way home. We did not find one there! Probably better to look in the spring and not when autumn is on its way. But we bought some little knickknacks, like some pens, pencil cases, socks and a Birthday card, since I suspected E. having forgot. We discovered that this area, where Bilka was situated, was gigantic. It had an IKEA, and a big shopping mall. I really wanted to go inside and see if they had a bookshop with colouring books, but T. did not want to come with me, nor the boys. So I took off on my own, and boy was that place huge. I got lost and it took me a while to find the two bookshops, but I ended up with my own little souvenir from Denmark: Two thin colouring books for adults, not available in Sweden, and they were on sale! With these, I was content, and returned to my sleeping family and we headed home to celebrate “Gubby’s” Birthday in our  traditional manner!!!!

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