Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Our Big European Road Trip (Part 2)

So after spending a couple of fun filled days in Amsterdam, we packed everything up and began the 8 hour drive up to Billund Denmark.  If you've never heard of Billund, don't worry we hadn't either until we decided we wanted to take the kiddos to Legoland.  Although Billund is a small town, it is the world headquarters for Lego.

We started the day off early and got to Legoland right before it opened at 10am.  One of the most frustrating parts of Denmark was definitely the currency and the taxes.  When we arrived we pulled out of an ATM what we felt was a reasonable amount of Danish Krones to get us through our time in Denmark, and we went along our merry way.  The only problem was, at the end of the first day we only had a third left of what we had originally pulled out.  One of the main reasons that things are so expensive is the VAT (Valued Added Tax).  Its basically a national sales tax and here in Denmark it is equal to 25% of the total price of any good purchased.  So essentially we had a 25% markup on everything that we were purchasing.  Yuck...

Cost of stuff aside, we had a really fun time.  The kids were absolutely wired and couldn't wait until we could get inside to see all the stuff.  They were pleasantly surprised when the parking lot had some lego people that were just their size.

We really like Ms. H's hair in this picture.  Needless to say
its windy in Denmark.

Once we got into Legoland Mr. L saw the Lego train and of course it was the very first thing that we had to do. We got on the train and took a ride around all of Legoland, it is very impressive to see all the sculptures and statues that they have created out of Legos.

Once we got off the train, the kids found park maps and took some time trying to figure out the best route to take in order to maximize their time at Legoland.  Needless to say in the end they just said that they wanted to do everything and that there was nothing that they wanted to miss.

So here are some of the pictures we took while we were doing all that we possibly could during the day.

Ms. H felt the need while driving the boat to wave at all the onlookers.
Such a diva.

The next three pictures definitely show off K in an interesting light.  Keep in mind that E is holding our nice camera trying to get some pictures of the kids on the pirate squirt boat.  K sees E and decides that the camera is not as important as showing off his manly squirt gun skills and begins to drench E while she is trying to be a good mom/wife and get some pictures.  His face in the first one cracks us up...

There were a lot of rides that we did, and Ms. A was tall enough, just barely, to do her first big kid roller coasters.  K and her made a special trip over to the roller coasters while Ms. H & Mr. L played in Duplo land with E.  Ms. A came back absolutely pumped and way excited about the fact that she was scared, but not too scared.

After a long day at LegoLand we of course had to buy the kids a set of Legos from the place where they're made, and then we headed off back to the tent.  E had the idea to make tie-dye shirts for all the kids before we left so that we could easily identify them whenever they ran off.  It worked out really well, and the kids loved the fact that they all matched.

Once we got back to our camp site, the kids were still high on life, and wanted to play with their newly bought legos.  So instead of fighting them in going to bed, we cracked open the boxes and had some fun for an hour or so, just playing and enjoying being together as a family.

After finally settling down and getting a decent night's sleep, we headed out the next day to explore the rest of Denmark.  We wanted to try and head out to find some beaches along the Baltic Sea, so we headed that direction.  Along the way we found a few fjords (we had to think way back to geology class to remember what the heck a fjord was...), and finally we found a decent beach for everyone to play on.

Ms. H was not cooperating with the fjord family foto (what alliteration!)

Overall the west-side of Denmark was very beautiful and picturesque.  After playing on the beach for awhile we decided we should find some food and we ended up in a town called Fredericia.  It was a very pretty town and had a ton of stores and restaurants.  In the middle of the streets were these little streams that the local kids were playing in, so we let our kids play in them as well.

The only problem arose when Mr. L didn't see a broken glass bottle in the middle of the stream and proceeded to cut open his big and little toe.  There was blood everywhere, if sharks lived in the stream they would have been eating Mr. L alive.  K ran and grabbed L from the water and was instantly covered in blood.  Everyone around us was just staring and then suddenly people started to throw bandaid, wet wipes, and anything that could help at us.  It was very helpful and such a nice gesture that you normally wouldn't see from the typical person in Europe.  Usually they'd be looking at you like, "Idiot why did you let your kid play in the stream that is meant for kids to play in...".  After some minor first aid, we were able to get everything band aided up and we were off again.

After exploring western Denmark for the day, we headed back to our campsite and slept in a tent for one last night.  The next morning we packed everything up AGAIN, and headed off to see Copenhagen and Sweden.

We were amazed at the number and length of the bridges in Denmark.  The two main bridges that we used, took us over 10 minutes to cross completely and were huge.  It was definitely cool to see the engineering brainpower that must have gone into creating such major expanses.

We didn't spend a lot of time in Sweden, mainly because we wanted to check out Copenhagen, but we did drive over the bridge from Copenhagen to Malmö Sweden and checked out that town for about an hour.  We also found an Ikea that is actually located in Sweden, imagine that!

Once we got into Copenhagen, we checked into our hotel, and began to explore the city.  We have to say that it was just ok.  At least the parts that we saw were mainly shopping areas, and once again EVERYTHING was extremely expensive.  We walked around and looked at a lot of things, had a good dinner, and ultimately just had a very chill evening together as a family.

The good thing is that where ever you are in the world, there is always ice cream to help end a long day, and we found just that in Copenhagen, some good old ice cream for dessert.

The kids insisted on sleeping in these teeny chairs in our hotel room. We were talking about how there is no way an adult would be able to accomplish such a contortionist feat, at least not without paying for it over the next month...

The next morning we got up, checked out of our hotel, and made a quick stop over to check out the statue The Little Mermaid.  This statue is quite the controversial statue.  Check out Wikipedia and you will see what we mean.  She is celebrating her 100 year anniversary this year, and was made by a man to memorialize the Hans Christian Andersen story, "The Little Mermaid".  There were hundreds of people all around taking pictures and climbing all over her, so we just looked, took a couple of distant photos and ran away.

Overall, the trip was a huge success.  We got to spend such a great amount of time together talking, playing around, and just being a family.  We're grateful for the opportunity that we have to be here in Europe and to be able to see such an amazing amount of things together with our kids.  Our hope is that in 10 years they can look back and read this blog and see just how much we enjoyed spending time with them.

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