13 September 2016


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4 September 2016

Odense (as in the sound of techno music Ons Ons Ons), 10th August 2016

Viking brothers having a peaceful discussion about who is the rightful heir to the throne, Royal Jelling Exhibition Centre, Jelling.
Josh and Lew enjoyed trying to solve this Viking's death a little bit too much. Each time you touched a weapon it made a gory sound and a projection of blood (as well as some information about the injury) appeared on the body! Scientist-Teacher-Mummy thought it was pretty awesome too!

We followed the entire Danish family tree up to Princess Mary. Unfortunately she was left out of the accompanying commentary and after sitting through centuries of history it skipped back to the start. Will we ever know what really happened?

The 10th Century Jelling Runestones are now kept behind glass to protect them from the weather and tourists. The stones show the transition between the traditional Norse paganism and beginning of Christianity in Denmark, with descriptions of Norse Gods, Danish Kings and Jesus Christ.

The other attraction in Jelling are the two large burial mounds, which now come with handy steps.

It was a bit breezy up top! Oh my beautiful hair!

Odense is famous for being the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen. The town loves him, with monuments everywhere, streets and parks and shops named after him, and a museum dedicated to him. Unfortunately, HCA wasn't so keen on the town himself, and he left as soon as he could for the bright lights of Copenhagen. 

Our picturesque hotel (the First Grand Hotel) is a tourist attraction in itself and located right in the middle of town. The downside was one shared room for all. It was cosy.

Down the street we made the most of the playground before dinner. 

During a lengthy wait for dinner, Ben ran the kids ragged in the laneway.

We were about to chuck it all in (seriously how long can you make a family with small children wait before everyone else decides to leave?), but thankfully we stayed. The small French bistro was worth the wait... Oh man, we've forgotten how good non-German food can be.

Many thumbs up!

After a hearty brekky of too many runny egg soldiers we headed out of town to Egeskov castle. 

It was stunning!

The grounds of the castle were the best I have experienced for families, ever. Lots of playgrounds, picnic areas, a treetop climb, balance beams, horse-drawn carriage rides and beautiful gardens to run around. This place is definitely a must-see when in Denmark.

And a vintage automobile collection... Lifestyles of the rich and the famous on display here!

In fact, members of the Royal family still live here in the ACTUAL castle! In one of the rooms was an enormous, intricate dolls house. By the time it had been finished by the dedicated father, the child was no longer interested. That tends to happen when you take 20 years to complete a project. "Thanks Dad, I can give it to my children now!"

Returning to Odense we followed the official HCA trail around town. Being such big fans that we are we had dedicated 25 mins to the topic, most of which was spent running around and on the theatre. When we finally made it to the museum, it was closed. Oops!

One of his childhood homes. "Is anyone there? Can we go in?" "No and no, let's get dinner".

The best part about...WATERPARK!! (oh, and Legoland), 7th August 2016

Our first stop in Denmark was at Lalandia Waterpark in Billund. When we first began planning this trip, our original idea was to stay at Legoland: 3/4 Irwins love Lego and what could be better than STAYING at Legoland? But then we saw there was a waterpark nearby and thought that might even be more fun. Whenever we would ask Josh "What was your favourite..." he would immediately jump in and answer "WATERPARK!" no matter how inappropriate to the question. I think he even started saying that before we arrived. So we guess he enjoyed the entire experience!

Our home for the next few days.

The Venetian-style (Las Vegas) entrance to the waterpark. I wasn't expecting that.

Dinner at one of the many restaurants inside.

The water play area. See the golden bucket at the top? The one being filled with 500L of water? Guess who got completely drenched by that 500L due to some cheeky kid watching and waiting for an unsuspecting parent to walk past??? And guess who laughed and laughed at their distraught partner? Humph.

Lew had a ball!

Pretty sure we've found Josh's favourite place on Earth.

A break from the water at the indoor playground.

Operation Legoland
Those awesome fun-filled family days out: relaxing, simple, inexpensive, fun. Today would be none of these things ;O. To start with, our shuttle choo-choo train was out of action so we had to walk aaaaall the way to Legoland. But we did get to walk past the outside of the Waterpark and marvel at all the waterslides that Josh and Ben had been brave enough to ride on over the past few days.

Josh assuming his "my tooth is wobbly'" pose which was a permanent feature throughout the trip and pointing in some random direction - when will you GET the concept of pointing? Wait, what is Kirstie actually pointing at?!? Aha now I see where he gets it from!

We eventually made it to Legoland, and after a mandatory coffee and hot chocolate stop (steady Lew), we smashed out the Lego train and a whizzy "caterpillar" ride that was way too fast for Lew (who cried the whole way), way too small for Kirstie and Ben (we also cried) and way too dangerous for Josh who suffered "squashed lungs"! Oops!

Something a little calmer up next: the Castle Burg performance. Full of slapstick comedy and people falling in the water... Always a hit. 

Well, a hit with some people. The boys were less than thrilled. You might think this was a one-off expression, but it lasted the whole performance... Tough crowd.

To up the adrenaline Josh decided on the roller coaster. Unfortunately Ben was deemed "too tall" so Kirstie had to step up! It was soon clear the Danes were not as law-abiding as the Deutschers. 

Open your eyes, Mum! No!!!


Next up was the Viking ride where you zip around on a tube, then up an elevator and down a big hill... (This was the one I actually wanted to do and somehow missed out. But I would soon get my revenge - Kirstie).

Kirstie and Lew stood on the sidelines and had waaaaaaaay too much fun soaking people on the ride (especially Kirstie - Hey! Lew loved it too!). Most of them were less than impressed as they were not expecting it... Time to move on peeps.

Cop that! Hahahaha!

A similar ride... but this time on canoes!

During the canoe queueing, Ben and a sleeping Lew did a lap of pretty much everything else in the park. This is the replica of Nyhaven, Copenhagen. All old-school Lego bricks. Not a new-fangled "shaped" piece in sight!

Legoland train crossing sign.

Billund airport.

Danish offshore wind farm (What a great idea, hey Australia? No, not the Lego version, the REAL version).

G'day Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik!

Josh was heard to comment "I don't like Star Wars", Ben replied, "But 'I am your Father...'" Josh is also adamant he supports Melbourne, not Geelong, as that is where he was born. He has even been cheering AGAINST Geelong. First Star Wars, then AFL, it's a slippery slope...

Lew looking on longingly for much of the day, but was not quite ready to go on most of the rides. He was happy to watch.

The view from the top of the Legoland tower.

"Just one more ride" and we ended up in the Atlantis Aquarium. Where apparently Atlantis is a scientific fact, but we just don't know where it is... Hhhmmmmm...

Don't look now Dad, but there appears to be a large shark over your head.

Ok we outta here... Wait, wait, wait. We need one last photo.... Everyone smile, we made it! (Yes, it is Summer time here.

With heavy hearts (mostly Ben and Josh), it was time to leave Lalandia. But before we left, we had one last visit to the Waterpark centre (to return the keys). Kirstie couldn't quite face the rigours of the pool change room, so we agreed on one last thing... WE LOVE YOU LALANDIA!