Day 1: Groningen - Billund - Aalborg

Billund Travel Blog

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on the road

At an unearthly hour (well, 7 am) we set out on the road. First destination: Billund.

Tweety's engine was humming happily, the tarmac of the German autobahn a blur beneath its wheels, we were making good progress! Well... for the first thirty minutes at least. It was about then that I realised that I had packed my camera but had left my compact flash card in my computer. So basically I would not be able to take pictures unless I bought a new card. And even in this modern day of digital cameras compact flash cards are still more difficult to come by than old fashioned film.

Fortunately Germany is the home of my favourite electronics store chain: Mediamarkt. I figured there'd be literally one in each town, and to my joy I was proven right when we stopped for a toilet break at a gas station near Oldenburg and indeed there was a huge concrete building with the well-known red lettering right next to the gas station.

Legoland!
Unfortunately this being Germany the store would not open until 10 am, and it was only 9. Not wanting to wait I decided to push my luck and drive on.

A couple of hours later we were approaching Kiel, which would be the last big city before the Danish border, and in the past hours we had not seen a single Mediamarkt (or any other electronics store) anywhere. Near Kiel we spotted a sign 'Ikea next exit' and I decided to take my chances that there would be some sort of shopping mall near that Ikea, and took the exit. Unfortunately the 'next exit' turned out to be 30 more kilometres of Autobahn leading to Kiel.
Tim was slightly less amused but agreed we might as well continue to Kiel and buy a card there.

Well, to cut a long story short, we found the Ikea, there was a Mediamarkt next door, they did sell compact flash cards and the whole detour only took us an hour.

HC Andersen telling his tales - Lego style
.. ish...

Fortunately we didn't have to drive the whole 30km back to the highway where we'd come from, but instead we could take a different route north. And soon we crossed the border into Denmark, where the surroundings barely changed apart from the speed limit and the language of the road signs.

A couple of hours onwards we were approaching our first destination for the day: Billund. When we had decided to take the Fredrikshavn - Göteborg ferry to Sweden I immediately thought of visiting this place. Billund, after all, is the home of the original Legoland themepark. Ever since I was a kid I'd wanted to go there, and though perhaps 25 years late, I would not let this opportunity pass.

However, as we were approaching the place I was getting worried.

happy as little kids
Really, really worried. For the first time ever I was travelling without any maps, but instead using the latest gizmo to have in a car, i.e. SatNav. And when this device told us we were only a few kilometres away from Billund and we hadn't seen a single road sign with 'Legoland' I began to wonder whether Legoland actually was in Billund. The Lonely Planet wasn''t much help either, as all it told us was that we were generally in the correct direction. But what if the park was actually 20 kilometres from Billund? Or what if I had spelled Billund incorrectly in the SatNav and we were actually heading towards the wrong town?!?
I phoned up a colleague of mine and asked her to check the Legoland website for an address which we could enter in the SatNav. Turned out I need not have worried.
Billund airport (does Singapore air fly to Billund??)
As soon as she had given me the address we actually did see the sign 'Legoland 500 metres' and a few minutes later we were rolling onto the parking lot of the park.

Mobile phone... SatNav... digital camera... I must say that for someone who is used to travelling with not much more than a backpack and a general idea of direction, this morning was worryingly dominated by technology.

Anyway, Legoland (see review below). That was fun. More fun than I had anticipated actually. As a kid I used to play day and night with those plastic bricks. And I played with them for ages, really. Well... as you grow older attention shifts somewhat of course... mainly towards girls really... who didn't share my idea of building spaceships out of plastic bricks being cool.

Netherlands!
.. so the crates of Lego disappeared into the attic never to be seen again. So I felt like a kid again walking around the park.

What I hadn't expected, I loved the first section the most! This is where miniature cities/countries have been built and it is just superbly done. We have a miniature park in The Netherlands, which I never cared much for, but seeing it all built from Lego bricks certainly adds an extra dimension. And apart from the city/country expositions at the first part of the park, throughout the park the animals, statues, buildings, etc are built from the plastic bricks. Up to and including a huge skull island in the middle of 'Pirate Bay'

The rest of the park was fun, although somewhat tame (as can be expected from a park which targets mainly towards the under 12s).

Alkmaar cheese market
The wild water ride wasn't particularly wild. Nor were the roller coasters (though they were good fun). We spent a good two hours riding several rides, walking the park, eating greasy lunch and watching a 4-D film (which includes water, wind, snow and even lightning).

And after those two hours we'd seen and done pretty much all of it, which made me realise that this is in fact an incredibly expensive park considering the few attractions it contains. You'd be hard pressed keeping yourself entertained for a full day here!
Nonetheless I was glad to have finally visited the place, some 25 years after I first asked my dad if we could go some time. (he said yes, but we never went - the b@stard)

We moved on northwards, to the city of Aalborg where we would spend the first night.

Amsterdam!
Aalborg is a student town, and apparently quite bustling, as was evident from the various streets packed with bars and restaurants we encountered while strolling through the town. Unfortunately it was not as bustling on a Thursday night, as most places were half-empty.
We found a nice place for a meal though, which became a whole lot nicer when at 9 o'clock dinner menus were swapped for cocktail lists, and they announced cocktail happy hour - two for the price of one. For those who don't know yet, alcohol in Scandinavia is expensive - ridiculously expensive - so any alcohol related freebie is a must!

All in all it was a good first day.

 

Petra2111 says:
I want to go there too!!!!
Posted on: Feb 07, 2009
tatjus says:
I also played with Lego A LOT when I was a kid - and I'm a girl (well actually kids might consider me a woman - an old woman, haha ;) ) and if I'd pass Legoland, I'd go inside too!
Nice nice story!
Posted on: Nov 07, 2008
Ape says:
Awesome stuff man, love that shit!
Posted on: Oct 27, 2008
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on the road
on the road
Legoland!
Legoland!
HC Andersen telling his tales - Le…
HC Andersen telling his tales - L…
happy as little kids
happy as little kids
Billund airport (does Singapore ai…
Billund airport (does Singapore a…
Netherlands!
Netherlands!
Alkmaar cheese market
Alkmaar cheese market
Amsterdam!
Amsterdam!
Amsterdam!
Amsterdam!
Netherlands!
Netherlands!
True copy of Billund airport
True copy of Billund airport
Danish royal palace
Danish royal palace
LA
LA
Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
along the wild water log ride
along the wild water log ride
along the wild water log ride
along the wild water log ride
Lego racers
Lego racers
bank
bank
bank
bank
Mt Rushmore
Mt Rushmore
Billund Sights & Attractions review
20 years too late, but still worth it
Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to go to Legoland. As a kid I used to play with Lego a lot; I just loved the plastic bricks with which you coul… read entire review
Billund
photo by: Biedjee