This week we said goodbye to Sweden as we crossed the expensive Oresund Bridge, washed laundry, went to an amazing playground and most importantly visited Legoland!
Day 23 - Monday 17th of October
Högänäs - Malmö
We had parked our car in Högänäs close to a beach so Minna and Olivia went to check it out while Jake started a new work week in peace and quiet. The weather in the morning was cloudy and pretty soon it started to rain so we had to head back to the van, but we got some sandcastles done! We also spotted some ships sailing on the horizon and birds flying South for the winter.
After lunch, it was time to continue to our last destination in Sweden, Malmö. Minna found a parking spot in the Malmö harbour that cost us 5,50€ which was really cheap compared to the other places that cost us up to 40€! So this was a gem. There was also a playground close by and as you know by now that’s a big perk. As our mobile home was parked with an ocean view and Olivia was spotting all the ships sailing by.
That evening after Jake had finished his work Olivia was eager to show dad the playground we found earlier. We had so much fun jumping in the puddles, and on our way back to the car it started raining yet again and we got soaking wet. Luckily we are prepared for any weather so our waterproof gear kept us warm and dry.
Day 24 - Tuesday 18th of October
Malmö - Koge
The morning in Malmö harbour was sunny, but windy. Us girls sorted out the laundry as we had planned our next stop to include a laundromat, while we were outside sorting out the clothes a swan family came to greet us floating by in the sea, Olivia was so excited about them! After the morning chores were completed, we took a walk to the nearby store to get some groceries. On the way there we spotted diggers on the construction site, quaked like ducks and had many giggles. Lunch time called us and after eating, it was time to head to cross the Oresund Bridge.
Our next destination was around 100km away and we had an estimated 120km left in the tank, that would be just enough to get us there then we could fill up with some cheaper Danish diesel.
We bought our ticket to cross the bridge in advance via the webshop which cost us 105€! Expensive trip over the bridge that was, but we took it as an experience. We were able to take the Express lane and the camera scanned our registered plate number. A lovely lady stopped us by the gate and gave us some Bilar candy and a leaflet where we could fill up a survey. What a great gesture that was and put a smile on our faces.
It was pretty windy when we drove on the Oresund bridge and Jake had to concentrate on driving, Minna was taking many pictures and videos, but Olivia on the other hand did not enjoy the trip as much as we did, it was way past her naptime and she refused to close her eyes. After a few tantrums, some screaming and a lot of tears from our passenger in the back we safely crossed the bridge and were now in Denmark!
Oh, but the fun wasn’t over yet.
At this point, things were feeling quite stressed and I think Mum and Dad both had a few grey hairs coming. Our destination was a pitstop in what looked like an industrial area not too far from the bridge, where we could empty our toilets, fill up with water and most importantly get some diesel. Speaking of diesel, the car was now beeping an alarm that diesel levels were critically low! 20km remaining! This added to the symphony of mayhem in the car.
As the onboard computer beeped, Olivia continued to flood the car with tears and screams and Jake tried to focus on navigating the unfamiliar road signs and busy 4-lane motorway… We missed our exit! Google maps diligently rerouted us and with a quick calculation, we were going to make it but it was going to be a close one! The screaming and tears in the back continued and the computer would not shut up with its annoying alarm sounds!
Yes, we know! Diesel is low!
The kilometres remaining hit single digits as we turned onto our exit and for some reason, Google Maps guided us to the completely wrong place, to a residency area and there were no gas stations to be seen. We pulled over, shut off the engine and instructed Google maps to navigate us to the nearest gas station. We made it to the pump with 5km remaining in the tank.
At this point, diesel was not the only thing that was low. Mum and Dad felt like they had run a marathon, we all unbuckled our seat belts, took a breather and gathered our thoughts.
The next thing to do was to fill up the water. We buckled back up and drove a ring around the gas station, there was an air pump, car wash, vacuum cleaner… There was no possibility of filling it up with water, how strange. We marked our parking spot for the night on Google maps and planned the route in such a way that we would drive past 3 or 4 gas stations, at least one of them must have water. After driving past the first 3 stations, we stopped and asked the last gas station where we could get water from. Turns out, it is not common in Denmark to get water at gas stations at all like we used to get in Sweden and Finland.
And we thought the day was almost over.
We just so happened to drive past a caravan shop, if anyone knows where to get water these people must. We pulled up and Jake jumped out and asked about water, the sale man laughed and confirmed that water isn’t readily available and the closest stop was a campsite 15 minutes down the road. Olivia still hadn’t slept her nap so we pulled out all our tricks to distract her from the fact that it was still going to be a while.
We sang, talked gibberish and played games all the way to the marina where this campsite was located. Minna had googled the campsite while we were driving and we knew it was closed for the off-season, but at this point, we didn’t have a plan B. We drove there in hopes of finding a tap or a hose pipe somewhere close to the road or parking lot that we could use.
We pulled up at the campsite/marina and took a quick walk around looking for a water outlet we could use, it was not looking good. Jake jumped in the van and took a drive around to the other side of the fenced-off area, on his way back without any luck we spotted an outlet just to the side of a layby. We reversed the van in and inconspicuously filled our tanks with the hose pipe, acting like we know what we are doing and no one even looks our way. Next time we’ll put on high-vis vests and pretend we are a maintenance team.
It was already getting dark by the time we got to our parking spot for the night, this day turned out to be quite the adventure and we haven’t even had dinner yet. At the end of the day we collapsed in bed, we were thankful that this Tuesday was over, hoping that the next day would be better.
Day 25 - Wednesday 19th of October
We had laundry gathered up from the past two weeks and we had three Ikea boxes full of them. Minna had found a laundromat in Koge town earlier which was the reason why we drove here in the first place. So we started driving to the local laundromat after breakfast to ensure that we would get washing machines. Olivia was helping to sort out the laundry and was so excited about it. Of course, the payment machine had something against Minna’s card and she couldn’t pay. Minna also forgot her phone in the car and was unable to ring Jake for help. Wow, this day was turning as bad as yesterday! Then finally the vending machine read her card and we got the first three loads running until the card got declined yet again.
Luckily by this time Jake had found a parking stop and made his way back to the laundromat, we then borrowed Jake’s card and the machine liked it, YAY! With two more loads in the washing machine and tumble dryer runner, things were starting to look better. There happened to be a bakery across the street from where Jake had parked the car so after Olivia’s nap, we went to get some pastries to reward us for all the hard laundry work. As it was a busy day, we decided not to drive anywhere else that day.
Minna must have walked 10 times back and forth between the laundromat & the van during the day, carrying clean clothes and checking when they were done. We were really hungry as dinner time came around and we couldn’t be bothered cooking. We looked for a local restaurant but all of them seemed to be really full and busy, so we decided that we are going to drive to the same parking spot where we were the previous night and eat there. But then we saw McDonald’s sign and thought that we could just go there, neither of us could recall the last time we ate Mcdonald’s. We all had burger meals and with our bellies full drove the car to the parking area and went for a stroll to the beach again in the dark.
Day 26 - Thursday 20th of October
Koge - Odensee
During breakfast, we had a look at our route towards Billund as we wanted to visit Legoland during the weekend. It so happened that there was going to be another bridge that we would need to pay for and there was no way around it. Bye-bye money, hello expensive bridge! This one cost us 90€.
That morning our toilet was full (again!?) and the WC in the parking area was closed so we had to go hunting for a place where we could empty it. There was one place just 10 minutes away from us so we drove there after we stole some water again from the harbour where we found it on Tuesday. Shame on us but you gotta do what you gotta do, right?
With an empty toilet and full water & diesel tank, we decided that we would drive to Odense before lunch. Minna was a bit nervous about how Olivia would behave as it wasn’t her naptime, considering what kind of tantrum she had on Tuesday. But she was happy as a bunny the whole journey. We sang songs, played the car game where we spot different coloured cars and lastly played a game where you fill a boat with things that come to your mind. She liked it a lot and we had so much fun.
On our way to the parking spot we found in Park4Night, we saw an office for Kompan which manufacture climbing gyms for kids, we had seen them all around parks and playgrounds in Finland hence the brand was familiar to us. An office that big that makes children’s playground equipment must have a park next to it, right? Without hesitation, we checked Google and my goodness what kind of playground it was! We drove straight there which in hindsight was a mistake as Olivia couldn’t even bear to eat lunch as she was just so excited and wanted to go there to have fun. Understandable as she had just sat still for an hour or so. She went up and then down on the slides, back up again. No fear at all while traversing the rope bridges in the sky, while Minna’s legs were shaking at the heights. We had so much fun and two hours just flew by.
We went to have afternoon snacks and coffee & rested for a little while reading books to get our energy levels back up. And it did wonders! Off we went again to the park and Jake joined us for a short period of time. Olivia wanted to show him how well she could climb even the hardest parts. We were so proud of her and so was she of herself.
We had dinner by the playground and then drove to the parking spot that we were originally destined for before getting sidetracked. Olivia was exhausted and was asleep by 7.30 pm and Jake went for a little walk to the nearby shop to get some coffee and milk for the morning. It was an active day so Minna was pretty knackered as well!
Day 27 - Friday 21st of October
Odensee - Billund
In the morning after breakfast, we walked in the fog to the Kompan playground, we were the first ones there when we arrived! But soon enough more kids and their parents followed. It seemed to be a very popular park and no wonder, it has everything that a kid can dream of. Even a gym/fitness area for the parents. Jake drove the van next to the playground just in time for some lunch.
We were running low on gas so Jake had stopped at a caravan shop on his way to the park to exchange our bottle for a new one. After chatting with the salesman he informed Jake that Denmark has yet another bottle type and we wouldn’t be able to exchange our bottle and would need to purchase a Denmark-style bottle.
This is beginning to sound a lot like Sweden all over again and this is a story for another time, we'll write a blog post dedicated to our gas bottle pains.
We anyways had our eyes set on visiting Legoland on the weekend so we drove to Billund that afternoon and Olivia took some zzz’s while we drove. We had forgotten to check out a place where we could empty the toilet and it was getting full, emotions got heated at the thought of having to drive a 30-minute round trip to empty the toilet at the nearest service station. We parked our van next to a lovely castle area and we headed outside to cool down and level our heads. Minna found a public toilet and she boldly went to empty the toilet cassette, with a now empty toilet we had a nice stroll around the castle and its surrounding forest.
Day 28 - Saturday 22nd of October
YAY, IT’S LEGOLAND DAY! The morning was foggy and after breakfast & our usual morning routines, we started driving to the local grocery store to get some lunch and snacks as we knew it would be very expensive to eat in Legoland. We drove to the Legoland parking lot and Olivia wanted to go so badly that she nearly didn’t eat any lunch. After some convincing, she emptied her bowl of pasta and we were then ready to rock ‘n’ roll. The weather was really nice, it was +16 degrees with some overcast but luckily no rain.
We had bought our tickets earlier that morning so we just scanned our tickets at the gates and walked in. Firstly, we needed to find a map so we could navigate in the park. Olivia gasped WOW when she saw the first things built only with Legos. She was mesmerized and so excited! She ran here and there pointing at all the things she could see.
The park itself was huge, so worth the money! We walked around it for over 6 hours, had some snacks and coffee on the go, went on a train ride around the park, up to the sightseeing tower, made a Finnish flag in one of the rooms where you could build with small Legos and the list goes on and on. Olivia then spotted a frog ride that was meant perfectly for toddlers and she was eager to go try it. The ride went up and down, and Olivia raised her hands in the air and shouted “This is so much fun!” Again our hearts melted seeing her having the time of her life.
It was getting close to dinner time and we had seen pretty much the whole area, at this point, Olivia was struggling to stay on her own two feet. We then went to the souvenir shops to get something that would remind us later on how much fun this day has been. We decided to get a teddy bear that has a pink shirt that says Legoland Billund (more on this in a moment) and we had promised Olivia before the visit that she could get something small as well and she chose a Duplo police officer and his motorcycle.
Note to Legoland: In a souvenir shop for a land that is made of Legos aka Legoland. Why is the only souvenir that has "Legoland" embroidered on it a teddy bear in a pink shirt!? There are rows and rows of Starwars and Ninja lego soft toys, but no default red and blue Lego figure. What gives!?
After we had finished our souvenir shopping, we headed back to the car to have something to eat before driving to the camping site we were going to go to. Minna warmed up some food at the parking lot and after eating, we all had a small moment to ourselves to chill and relax after a long day of walking. Jake then drove us to the camping site which was located just outside Billund city. It was a nice, quaint countryside field and we parked our car next to the horses after filling up our water tank. Olivia still had energy and wanted to go outside to see the horses and cats. We went to bed early that evening, and we all slept so well!
Day 29 - Sunday 23rd of October
Billund - Flensburg
We woke up energized, but still wanted to take it easy after yesterday’s busy day. We decided to stay at the campsite, go for a little stroll and play with the cats. There happened to be a little pond with ducks in it so Olivia wanted to go feed them with corn and peas. She loved it and she is happy when there are animals involved!
As we needed a refill of our gas bottle, we had set our minds to driving to Germany and since Flensburg was only an hour and a half away, we set Google Maps to take us there. Minna spotted a free motorhome parking area where we could empty the toilet and get a refill on our water tank. After having some afternoon coffee, we went to explore the streets of Flensburg and walked through a cemetery (these seem to be our thing). There happened to be KFC restaurant next to our parking area and since our gas was low, we decided to treat ourselves to some Kentucky Fried Chicken. We got stuffed, it was very delicious and the girls’ first time having it.
In the evening we went to play football in the parking lot and a nice boy from the Netherlands came to play with us. We then talked with his parents, it was nice to talk to someone else than just to each other. 😁 It was time for shower and bed, so we headed back inside the van to do our usual evening routine (routines with a toddler are important, that’s for sure!). All knackered from the weekend we drifted asleep safely surrounded by other mobile homes.
*Services include camp sites, laundry, septic tank services, water, electric, etc.