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Entries about adventure

Nord Kapp

Reporting from Jyväskylä

overcast 6 °C
View Midnight Sun Run on aboo10's travel map.

We made it! We reached our destination. The goal for this driving holiday was to reach the most northern point of mainland Europe, and we did it.

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Actually we reached the most northern point of Europe which is accessible by car, there is a point which is 1.2km further north, but to reach it you need to do a 7 hour hike - which didn't sound like too much fun when you consider the wind chill factor and our two short people. Nord Kapp was named North Cape by Steven Burrough, a British Explorer in 1553 who was looking for the North East Passage, and later translated into Norwegian. Explorers have been passing by North Cape since then and the Tourist Centre there shows a range of scenes from when people have visited North Cape over the centuries. Due to the harsh conditions, with wild seas, cold temperatures and often ice, it must have been quite a challenge to get there and home again safely. Nord Kapp is on the 71st line of latitude, and is still over 1000km to the North Pole, but there is no land at the north pole.
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We saw a number of hikers and cyclists riding along the wind blown highway, struggling against the wind, and with nowhere to really get out of it. The landscape is quite desolate, and there are no trees, so shelter is limited. It was a 2 hour drive from where we were staying in Olderfjord, so still quite a long haul. We were pleased with ourselves for reaching this point, so I can only imagine the sense of achievement of doing it under your own steam. Hope they had somebody picking them up! We stopped by the side of the road for a bit, and here is a picture of the kids being held up by the wind!
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We bought a ticket to go into Nord Kapp, and it was valid for 24 hours. There were many campervans parked there, and some facilities. What we didn't realise beforehand is that people will go to Nord Kapp (eg on a tour bus) to be there for the midnight sun, so as we were driving up at 930am we were passing numerous buses returning after taking their tourists up for the night visit. During summer, the whole facility is open 24 hours, restaurants, galleries, and in a way, it has the transient feel of an airport, operating all day, and people doing things at 'funny' times. To do justice to all there is to see and do there, you need 3-4 hours, but because of the midnight sun, you could arrive at 10pm...

There is a lot of information about how life goes on in the Arctic Circle throughout the year. I think I have imagined winter there to have the constant need for safety lines and tying yourself down somewhat like the descriptions of Mawson's exploration of Antarctica, but in reality life goes on, and people are not living in temporary dwellings. If the weather is extreme, precautions are taken, and if not, people still catch buses, drive cars, go to school or work, councils clear the roads and so on.

There was an amazing sculpture that looked like seven coins standing on their sides, and they were the result of seven children coming to Nord Kapp from various places around the world and thinking about peace, and then using clay, created a design on a disc, which were then enlarged and made uniform in bronze. They stand reasonably isolated, and are visible from quite a distance and make quite an impact.

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After exploring Nord Kapp, we continued to explore the area, and were taken with Honningsvag, possibly the world's most northern fishing village, and bright and colourful in summer.

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Posted by aboo10 00:40 Archived in Norway Tagged adventure camping norway family_travel midnightsunrun Comments (0)

So what's in Billund?

Reporting from Copenhagen

sunny 27 °C
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THIS:
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After we crossed the Danish Border, we were heading to Billund, and then as we approached Legoland we explained to the kids that we would be visiting Legoland the next day, and then suddenly it dawned on them, just as we were getting closer and closer, ARE WE STAYING AT THE LEGOLAND HOTEL??? Well, as a matter of fact kids, WE ARE! In a themed room. A Lego Friends themed room...

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The details were amazing... the carpet was printed, all the way along 'Friends Street' the hallway of the hotel we were staying on, there were full scale Lego hairdryers, decorations on the walls and decals that apart from being enlarged, looked like they came straight out of a Lego kit... like paw prints, butterflies and paraphernalia!

Around the hotel, and in all the restaurants, were massive pits of Lego or Duplo - it was definitely a hands on experience. Rooms screening various Lego films, big walls to make your own contribution to the art installations using Lego bricks. At dinner, there were people in fancy costumes circulating, making balloon figures for the kids. Child-centric hotel, that's for sure. Although how old is that child??

The next day we went to the Theme Park. It was great. Because it is not yet school holidays all across Europe, the queues for rides weren't too long. And because we were there from the minute it opened at 10am, until all the rides shut and we had dinner, we were in the park for nearly 12 hours! No, we didn't head back to our Lego Friends Hotel Room for a midday siesta! One of the clever ideas, was to have a Lego Pit in the centre of the way the queue would snake around, which meant that kids could play with Lego while parents queued, and then jump back into the queue when they got close to the end - no moaning children.
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The rides were varied, from rollercoasters to boat rides through a Small Lego World or Pirates Den, there was lots of splashing. The great thing, was that both kids met almost all the height restrictions. They were mostly required to be accompanied by an adult, but there were only 3 rides that Didi was too short for, even accompanied... so we skipped them!
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I loved the attention to detail in all the buildings, we roamed through Miniland - which is a huge village built out of Lego, and the buildings stood at about a metre tall, houses, airports and even an oil rig. It also had moving trains, boats and some road traffic. Very clever and super impressive. Also the model of Heartlake City, which is of course the home of the "Lego Friends".
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Jie Jie decided that she would like to try the Lego Seat Driving School. We had to book in and pay extra for this. It was promoting safe driving from an early age including respect on the road. She was booked in for a 40 minute session, which started with 15 minutes of driving theory. And then they got out in the cars. They needed to get 'petrol' (after getting a low fuel warning), interpret and make the right action at traffic lights and signs, indicate and stay on the correct side of the road (the right hand side!). Then after driving around the little town, the children aged between 7 and 13 were issued with a driving licence. I was amazed that the coordinator of the Driving School, who had a microphone, remembered which language to speak to each car. Jie Jie and Car #2 were in English, then the rest were in Danish, Swedish or German.
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There is also a water play area, and the kids loved cooling off in that at the end of a long day. We were all exhausted when we finally got back to our hotel room. It doesn't get dark here until about 10.30pm, so it's hard to say "it's time to go to bed!"

Posted by aboo10 00:38 Archived in Denmark Tagged children adventure family_travel theme_park midnightsunrun Comments (1)

Summer Holiday Adventure

Reporting from Tengen

sunny 26 °C
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With much coercion, Mike managed to fit all our stuff in the box on top and the boot of our car. We are off on a camping adventure! Our basic plan is to head south to Stuttgart, where we stayed for 2 nights, and to be closer to our first camping destination, right down on the border of Switzerland,
on the edge of the Black Forest. During the next 4-5 weeks we are planning to intersperse city breaks (such as Stuttgart) with a longer stay camping. We hope to explore the regions where we are camping, but are also looking for a relaxing holiday!!

Our drive to Stuttgart, was an estimated 4 hours, but due to traffic and roadwork took closer to 6. We stayed in a cute hotel (which included breakfast) and spent a day out and about in Stuttgart. We enjoyed wandering around the town, and loved roaming through the market square, and comparing it to Dusseldorf, much wider and more open. Other differences included specifying where you were headed on the U-Bahn. Highlight of the day was our visit to the Porsche Museum. The history of the 'peoples sports car' was interesting.
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Posted by aboo10 05:49 Archived in Germany Tagged children adventure camping Comments (2)

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