Legoland 12 years later!

17-09-2022 11:30 pm

How can the happiest place on earth be also the saddest?

We are a family who have travelled literally all over the world. In 2013, we travelled around the world for an entire year. And yet some of my most cherished childhood memories is from the summer that we spent in Denmark. It has been more than 12 years since we last visited Legoland in Billund. The last family summer vacation that we had with our big sister Sharidyn before she was killed, was our holiday travelling through Denmark in 2010.

This time we weren’t in Denmark primarily for a holiday but to attend the Children’s General Assembly. I couldn’t help feeling sad that Sharidyn wasn’t with us. Almost everywhere we visited in Billund reminded us of Sharidyn, especially when we visited Legoland on our last day.

Our parents are the two most remarkable people in our life. They have fought fiercely and lovingly to give my sister Sydney and I the most amazing upbringing we could have ever asked for. The same childhood memories that they gave Sharidyn and I when we were little, is the same memories they have continued to create for me and my little sister Sydney.

We went on literally every single ride (that wasn't for small kids), and we were even able to convince our parents to go on some of the rides with us. It was a little too much for our dad who easily gets tired because he is sick. But our dad is stuck it out, I think mostly because he wanted Sydney to have some good memories of Billund, and especially Legoland. Sydney had heard of all our stories from when we were there last 12 years old, and I think that it hurt her a little that she couldn't remember anything because she was only a baby.

Now Sydney had her own memories with me, mum and dad! Thank you to the Lego Foundation for the tickets that we received.

Below is a few of our photos that we took from our last day in Billund and a small trip back in time to when we were in Billund 12 years ago. I know that it was difficult for me to be in a place that reminded me of Sharidyn. I can only imagine how painful it must have been at times for my parents.

The photos that I have shared here on my blog are my parents photos that they have given me permission to share. Look but please do not copy these photos!

My favourite people in the world (16-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Sydney and I posing! (16-09-2022) Photo credit: V. Svebakk

Walk down memory land for dad as well when he visited Legoland when he was little (16-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

We found Legolands most culturally diverse lego statue still standing in the same spot 12 years later (16-09-2022) Photo credit: V. Svebakk

Me and Sharidyn (2010) V. Svebakk

6 year old me (2010) Photo credit: V. Svebakk

What to do when posing with the same statue 12 years later (16-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Best little sister in the world (16-09-2022) Photo credit: V. Svebakk

Best big sister in the world who always knew how to laugh! (2010) Photo credit: V. Svebakk

Sharidyn and I not too interested in wanting to take a photo with Mr Lincoln (2010) Photo credit: V. Svebakk

12 years later Abraham Lincoln was still there, this time with Sydney (16-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Me, Sydney and Ines who was celebrating her birthday at Legoland (16-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Our family with Nadia and her daughter Ines who was also a CGA participant from Guatemala/El Salvador (16-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

With Olivia, CGA participant from Canada (16-09-2022) Photo credit: V. Svebakk

Another CGA participant at Legoland (16-09-2022) Photo credit: S.Svebakk-Bøhn

Our holiday in the south of Norway (2020)

19-07-2020 09:00 am

We are a family that likes to travel alot. We have been really fortunate to visit different countries in and around Europe, as well as in 2013, we travelled around the world following the sun for an entire year.

But nothing beats travelling around my beautiful home of Norway. Norway is a country where you will experience everything that every country has to offer in the way of weather and views - but Norway has a cultural aspect that most people don't see when they come here to visit. It is subtle and ofte packaged up in the typical tourists attractions.

So if you're visiting my beautiful country of Norway, take your time to breathe in the fresh air and experience our norwegian culture - because Norway has a lot more to offer than just the typical tourist hotspots.

Below I have shared a few photos, some travel-tips and a little about our west and south coast adventures/holiday in one of the most beautiful parts of Norway. Thank you to our parents for always giving us our wonderful experiences and precious childhood memories we will always treasure.

Our family holiday - From Drammen to Stavanger to Kristiansand (2020) Photo credit: Google maps

Eidsborg Stave Church and Stålekleivloftet

06-07-2020

One of the things that our family love about travelling is all the different cultural things that we experience. Our parents often drive us little off the normal route in search of hidden pearls that teach us about our history and culture.

Eidsborg Stave Church is one historical place in Norway that all Norwegians as well as tourists should visit. It is believed that in the Middle ages, there were approximately 1000 stave churches in Norway, today there are only 28 left - most are all well preserved. Eidsborg Stave Church is located in Høydalsmo in Tokke (Telemark) and is believed to have been built between 1250 and 1270 - while the decor inside the church is dated from around the 1600s, and the bell tower was built in 1727.

Another significant and historical building to be found at the same place as Eidsborg Stave church is Europes (and one of the worlds) oldest wooden buildings, Stålekleivloftet. The history of this building is fascinating if you like history. Stålekleivloftet is believed to have been built around the year 1200 for the richest woman that lived during that time, Åse Stålekleiv. She used this building to store her linen - weird but true according to the experts. The building was built by her three sons, and it looks like a gust of wind could easily blow it over, and yet it is an extremely solid building structure.

There are alot of other buildings that you can explore in Høydalsmo as well as the muesum. Lots to see, and definitely worth taking the a visit.

The entrance to Eidsborg Stave Church (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Us in front of Eidsborg Stave Church while mum is behind the camera (2020) Photo credit: V. Svebakk

Amazing design (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Eidsborg Stave Church in Høydalsmo, Tokke (2020) Photo credit: Visittelemark.no

Me and Sydney in front of one of the worlds oldest wooden buildings, Stålekleivloftet (2020) Photo credit: O.R Bøhn

Stålekleivloftet (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Information about Stålekleivløftet (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Stålekleivloftet up close (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Stavanger

06-07-2020

Driving to Stavanger from Drammen over the mountains and through the valleys is a really cool and scenic drive - but long. It took us almost 9 hours including all the stops we made along the way. Stavanger is Norway's 4th largest city with a population of a 142.000 people.

Stavanger is considered to be the 'oil and gas capital' of Norway. My dad who has worked in the 'oil and gas industry' for almost a couple of decades likes Stavanger, which is one of the reasons we have spent a couple of summer holidays here - plus my great-grandmother was originally from a little island off the coast of Stavanger.

The last time my family and I visited Stavanger was exactly 11 years ago - when I was 5 years old, and my older sister, Sharidyn was then 11 years old (almost 12). Visiting Stavanger again, this time with my little sister was therefore special for all of us.

There is loads to see in Stavanger, and if visiting you need at least a couple of days if not three or more. 'Preikestolen' - a must-experience of the west coast of Norway, takes about 40 minutes to drive from Stavanger. There are lots of tour-guide companies that do pick-up and drop off tours.

Stavanger city centre has also lots of offer the not-so-sporty. 'Gamlebyen' or old-town of Stavanger is one of my favourite areas of the city. The historical wooden buildings were originally built in the late 18th century and have been restored. There are 173 buildings in total if you are particularly interested in architecture and design. You will see similar buildings in other parts of Norway. In my hometown of Drammen, we also have buildings with a similar design - but not nearly as old.

City centre of Stavanger (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Me and dad in Stavanger (2020) Photo credit: V. Svebakk

We found another statue (2020) Photo credit: O.R Bøhn

Me and Sydney outside of Stavanger Cathedral (2020) Photo credit: O.R Bøhn

My little sister (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Me and Sydney found another cool statue (2020) Photo credit: O.R Bøhn

Kongeparken

08-07-2020

The last time I visited Kongeparken was exactly 11 years ago together with my big sister. Our parents surprised my little sister with a day trip to Kongeparken. Unfortunately the weather wasn't the best and corona-restrictions had put a damper om some of the activities being closed, but that didn't stop us from having loads of fun. I wanted to give my little sister the same experience our big sister gave me.

Kongeparken is about a 20 minute drive outside of Stavanger. If you plan to visit during the summer holidays, book your tickets online - plus it is slightly cheaper, which we found out when we were standing in line waiting to get in. Kongeparken have a limited amount of day tickets unless you have a season ticket. Because of corona-restrictions and limited day-tickets, very few of the attractions had long queues like they usually do - which is a bonus.

Lots to see and do at Kongeparken (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Waiting patiently outside of Kongeparken (2020) Photo credit: V. Svebakk

Entrance to 'Stupet' (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

On our way up (2020) Photo credit: V. Svebakk

'Stupet' (2020) Photo credit: V. Svebakk

That's us at the top (2020) Photo credit: V. Svebakk

Bryne

08-07-2020

Bryne is a little township on the west coast that takes about 20 minutes to drive from Kongeparken, or 40 minutes from Stavanger. My parents wanted to drive a long the coast from Stavanger. There is alot of countryside - and most of the time we were napping it out in the car while dad drove us from A to B. Since we had been at Kongeparken most of the day, Bryne was the next stop on our itinerary on the way to our final destination.

I don't normally advertise hotels that we have stayed in, mainly because I think that hotel accommodation in Norway is generally expensive, and some er severely overpriced. There are a lot of alternatives to staying in hotels in Norway if you plan in advance. But Hotel Jæren is a really nice little hotel, hence the plug. Worth a visit if you plan doing a coastal trip like us.

Little township of Bryne overlooking the river from the bridge (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Outside of our hotel - Hotel Jæren (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

One of our hotel rooms (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Kvassheim Lighthouse

09-07-2020

Kvassheim lighthouse is easy to find when driving a long the west coast from Bryne, and is definitely worth stopping to enjoy. If you haven't stopped before Kvassheim lighthouse, this stop will give you your first sniff of sea air.

For my mum, it was a little taste of her home in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand - minus all the rocks!

Me at Kvassheim Lighthouse (2020) Photo credit: O.R Bøhn

Me and my little sister Sydney - It was a little windy (2020) Photo Credit: O.R Bøhn

My family at Kvassheim Lighthouse (2020) Photo Credit: V.Svebakk

View of the ocean, West coast of Norway (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Kvassheim Lighthouse (2020) Photo credit: Jæren Friluftsråd

Sjøsanden Camping, Mandal

09-07-2020

After a few days of tripping around Stavanger, and a long west coast - we finally arrived at our main destination, Sjøsanden camping in Mandal.

Our family are no strangers to camping. My sisters and I have grown up with every version of camping life. But there are just some comforts from home that I am completely okay with admitting that my teenage-privilege 'must-have' when camping. Sleeping on the ground, is not my idea of camping fun - and I can freely admit that air-matresses are a must-have. Otherwise, we pretty much have and do - all the rest.

Our parents are mildly put, serious-campers! Grilling while camping is a typical part of all our camping holidays and they rarely spare any expense when it comes to choosing a grill. Mum is the grill expert in our family - and there is literally nothing that she can't cook on the grill - from bacon and eggs for breakfast to steaks for dinner. If you wanted toast, mum made toast on the grill. Even toasting marshmellows!

The most hilarious part is watching dad try to figure out how to get the monster-sized grill into the car with all of our other camping stuff - of course mum already had a plan (as she does). Mum met some new campers the night before we left and offered them the use of the grill. Mum of course had 'chatted' and organised with the staff at the camping grounds a few days before, to donate our monster-grill for free to the camping grounds. They were of course more than willing and really stoked. For dad - problem-solved and potensial crisis avverted!

Sjøsanden camping is a very cool place to do a 'camping holiday' - but for those that don't like sitting around a campfire or cooking on a grill, Sjøsanden is also a holiday park with apartments and motel rooms to rent. There are two different types of restaurants if you want to eat 'in' or you can walk into town for a change of scenery. Everything is pretty easy to access - as long as you have good walking shoes. It takes about 20 min, if walking along the beach to get from the camping grounds to town.

The best part of Sjøsanden for us, was by far the beach. Sjøsanden holiday park was completely packed from the day we arrived right up until the day we left - and yet you could sit on the beaches without bumping into another person. Most of the time when we were at the beach - it felt like we were the only ones there. When we started to explore the area, we found that there wasn't any shortage of beaches in and around Mandal.

Camping at Sjøsanden (2020) Photo credit: V. Svebakk

Relaxing outside our tent (2020) Photo credit: O.R Bøhn

Our breakfast - bacon and eggs from the grill (2020) Photo credit: V. Svebakk

Toast from the grill - Yum (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

White sandy beaches at Sjøsanden in Mandal (2020) Photo credit: S.Svebakk-Bøhn

Evening walk along the beach - literally a few steps outside of our tent (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

'Mandal' (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

At the beach (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Naughts and crosses in the sand with my little sister (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Our little fish (2020) S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Lindenes Lighthouse

11-07-2020

When visiting the south of Norway, I highly reccommend a trip to Lindesnes Lighthouse. Lindesnes is the southern point of Norway, and is 2518 km from Nordkapp - northern point of Norway, and is definitely worth a visit. Lindesnes Lighthouse was built in 1656, and is Norway's oldest lighthouse. Just remember to take a warm jacket, because whether the sun is shining or it is raining - it is very windy at Lindesnes.

We visited Lindesnes over two days, mainly because we took our sweet time exploring in and around the area. It takes about 30 min to drive from Mandal to Lindesnes - and there is a lot to see along the way. Be prepared for a few stops to and from - it is definitely worth taking your time - hence the reason why we went back for round two the next day, and yet we still didn't get to see everything that Lindesnes has to offer.

We stopped off for lunch at 'Fyrgryta', where we were lucky to meet one of the staff at the restaurant (and lighthouse guide), who exemplified what good service is all about in the south of Norway. She was so cool and entusiatic about the history of Lindesnes that we learnt more from talking to her, then we did from the google gods. Don't be in too much of a hurry to look around. The view from the top is breath-taking.

Fish soup is a typical norwegian dish that most Norwegians will have more than a few times a year. Fyrgryta offer their version of 'Fish soup' that every visitor should try. Their soup is made with a combination of sea water and seaweed - and it was sooo delicious, that we all wanted more. The sourdough bread that was served with the fish soup was also heavenly. Typically my chatty mum thanked the very kind lady that she had been chatting with when we first arrived, that she ran back into the kitchen and brought back some bread for us to take home with us. The bread was eaten long before we got home!

Café/restaurant 'Fyrgryta' (2020) Photo credit: Rolf Dybvik

'Fyrgryta' fish soup - Yum (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Panorama view from southern point of Norway (2020) S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Me at Lindesnes Lighthouse, Lindesnes (2020) Photo credit: O.R Bøhn

My little sister at the southern point of Norway, Lindesnes (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Lindesnes Lighthouse (2020) Photo credit: Turistkontoret for Lindesnesregionen

Our holiday in Sweden (2019)

15-07-2019 10:30 pm

We started our summer holiday on the west coast of Sweden. We have travelled to Sweden many times before as the border is about a 90 minute drive from Drammen. Important to note that Sweden is my mothers favourite Scandanavian country, she jokes.

Now that Sydney and I are are little older, my parents wanted us to revisit all the places that we have visited when Sharidyn was alive. Some of the the places we visited, are also new holiday spots for  us.

Below are some of the photos from our summmer holiday in Sweden.

Our family holiday - From Drammen to Gøteborg to Stockholm (2019) Photo credit: Google map

Gøteborg

15-07-2019 11:15 pm

We started our holiday in the beautiful city of Gøteborg or rather Gothenburg in english. Guthenburg is the second-largest city in Sweden, and yet it doesn't seem as big as I remembered it was.

The last time we were in Gøteborg was the year before Sharidyn was killed. It was slightly weird for us to be back in Gøteborg again. Weird meaning that it was strange to visit again without Sharidyn.

There is no shortage of things to see and do in Gøteborg. Since we have visited Gøteborg half a dozen times when I was little, on our first night we decided to visit Slottsskogen (Castle Forest in english) which is located in the middle of Gøteborg. 

Map of Castle Forest "Slottsskogen" (15-07-2019) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Slottsskogen (2019) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Slottsskogen (2019) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Strolling with my dad through Slottsskogen (2019) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Sydney out for a walk (2019) Photo credit:

Sydney and dad in Slottsskogen (2019) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Liseberg

16-07-2019 8:30 pm

When visiting Gøteborg, Liseberg is a must-visit regardless of age. Liseberg is an Amusement Park that opened in 1923. 

Like you would expect  from most Amusement Parks (everywhere else in the world), there is loads to do in Liseberg. My only advice is that you plan to spend a couple of days if you want to experience everything. But if you are short on time, like any tourist hot-spot it pays to plan.

At Liseberg (16-07-2019) Photo credit: V. Svebakk/S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Sydney and dad posing outside of "Lisebergbane" (16-07-2019) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Sydney and dad at Liseberg (16-07-2019) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Me and dad at "Lotta på Lisberg" (2019) Photo credit: V. Svebakk

Sydney reluctantly posing with Lisberg-bunny (2019) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Smålandsbyn in Vimmerby

17-07-2019 11:00 pm

From Gøteborg, we travelled to Vimmerby Municipality. Vimmerby has a population of 7.934 people.

World reknown, Swedish childrens author, Astrid Lindgren was one of my sister Sharidyn favourite authors. Since Sharidyns birthday (17th July) is in the middle of the Norwegian summer holiday's, my parents always try to plan at least one day of our holiday's (usually her birthday), dedicated to Sharidyn and all the wonderful memories that we treasure about her.

Mum and dad had organised for us to stay at Smålandsbyn which is located 1 km away from the centre of Vimmerby and 2 km from Astrid Lindgren's World. Staying at Smålandsbyn was one of the best parts of our holiday. The weather wasn't that great but staying in the cabins with my parents and little sister was one of my favourite holiday experiences.

Sharidyn had always wanted to visit Vimmerby, so waking up here on her birthday made her birthday even more special for all of us.

Below are a few pictures from our visit to Smålandsbyn.

Sydney and I outside of "Villa Gulekul" (2019) Photo credit: V. Svebakk

Villa Gulekul (2019) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Back of "Villa Gulekul" (2019) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Outside of our cabin (2019) Photo credit: V. Svebakk

Restaurant at Smålandsbyn (2019) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Photo of the owners of Smålandsbyn together with Astrid Lindgren (2019) Photo credit: Smålandsbyn/S: Svebakk-Bøhn

Together with our mum (2019) Photo credit: O. R Bøhn

Astrid Lindgrens World - Themepark

17-07-2019 11:00 pm

Most Norwegian children like me and my sister learn about Swedish author, Astrid Lindgren from when we are very young. Astrid Lindgren is the author of characters Pippi Longstocking, Emil in Lønneberget, Ronja - The Robber's daughter, Brothers Lionheart, and many more.

Astrid Anna Emilia Lindgren (14.11.1907 - 28.01.2002)) was born on the farm "Näs" outside of Vimmerby (county of Småland), and died in her home in Stockholm at the age of 95. Astrid Lindgren wrote 34 chapter books and 41 picture books, selling more than 165 million copies worldwide. Lindgrens books are translated in 107 languages and she is the 18th most translated author in the world.

Photo of Astrid Lindgren. Photo Credit: Unknown

Map of Astrid Lindgrens World (2019) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Pippi Longstockings House

Pippi Langstocking's House "Villa Villekulla" i Astrid Lindgren World (2019) Photo Credit: V. Svebakk

Watching the Pippi Longstocking performance (2019) Photo Credit: O.R Bøhn

Emil in Lønneberget

Outside of Emil's house (and some random tourists) Photo Credit: O.R Bøhn

Selfie of me and my family outside of Emils house (2019) Photo Credit: V. Svebakk

Inside Emils House (2019) Photo Credit: V. Svebakk