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Bert gets his Viking on with the TPR 2023 Scandi Tour (no Pillaging, but some Humping occured)

Day 17, now updated: Kolmården - an incredible Gondola Safari, and the insane amazement of Wildfire!

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Pinball! I love Pinball and it's getting harder and harder to find machines as "the claw" is now taking over every arcade 😡

We rode that rapids ride with a mom and her kids that were visiting Liseberg from their northern village that was north of the Arctic Circle. They spoke wonderful English so we were able to have a nice conversation and they were as fascinated with us as we were with them.

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8 hours ago, Nrthwnd said:

Ooooooh all those pinball machines. 🥰 Gotta love that.

Were they coin operated, or did you have to buy tokens, Bert?

coin!   and ~3 plays for 10 Krona coin if I recall

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Day 15: Saturday, June 17th part 1 (of 2) - Travel day to Stockholm, with stop at Skara Sommarland along the way.

We got up this beautiful Sat morning, and checked out of the fabulous Grand Curiousa, and loaded up the bus.

we were headed to Stockholm today. . .but with a stop along the way. . .

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buh-bye Liseberg. . . what a fantastic park!

 

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just some pics enjoying the Swedish Countryside as we traveled.

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it really is lovely here. . .

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and before too long, we were pulling into the parking lot of Skara SommarLand.

it was a Saturday, and so I figured it would be crowded, but Elissa had told us that it's mainly a draw for the Waterpark section.

we were getting there before opening anyways for some ERT and because the park wanted to show off their newest ride to Robb and TPR.

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a map out front, showing you approx where you are when visiting Skara

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and the group shot, before entering - courtesy of Robb.

when we got back on the bus later, we'd be short two people, but happily they caught back up with us in Stockholm the next day

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look how happy.. this is a wonderful pic, if a bit overexposed.

 

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the actual map of the Park itself. . it looks a lot bigger than it seemed, but it's pretty spread out with THREE (I think) Go Kart tracks that aren't really clear on this map, tho they are here.

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some fairly generic, but nice, theming on the main streets.  You can tell it's mostly "sold" as a waterpark

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but THIS is mainly why we made a stop here, for the park's unique (I think only one of it's kind in the world?) S&S Free-Fly coaster, Tranan

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each car has it's own unique bird "flying" it. . and I was a bit confused, and amused by the look on this one's face.

is the coaster THAT bad???

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but getting up above it for loading on each side?  you can see what's going on here. . .

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his scarf, has gotten sucked thru this jetback and is choking him to death.

hysterical.

 

(this also gives you a good look at the seats on this thing).

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they didn't have all 5 cars on the tracks - only 3 - but here's a look at the other two characters that were on the standby trains.

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in this pic, you can see how truly "exposed" one feels while riding this.

the "trains" are very low on the sides, and the only safety is the seat belt.

oh. . I'm SURE it's safe enough, and no one has ever fallen out. . . .but I really (I mean seriously) did not feel comfortable on this thing.  I felt like I could fall out any minute.
Some folks really *love* that feeling. . . not me tho.

I only rode it twice (once on each side) then was done and just took pics of it.

I'm glad I rode it, as it's SO unique. . . but not something I'd go out of my way to ride if it were in my home park.

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a look at another bird on the next car.

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yeah. . I'm smiling. .but it hadn't moved yet. . .

(guessing pic courtesy of Elissa)

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notice my death grip on the bar in front of me, and on the rail on the side.    Yeah. . wasn't loving this. 

again, glad I rode it tho.

(next pics are likely courtesy of Andy)

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my 2nd ride.. other side, this time not in the very front.

Felt a bit more "secure" with people both in front of me and behind. . . but still, once on each side was enough for me, and went to take pics.

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it really is rather cool to watch it do this maneuver.

it does it twice during the course, I believe.
 

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and it truly IS pretty photogenic. . here's the whole layout in pics. . .

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while waiting for the ERT to finish up, I wandered around the area a little bit. .

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this ride apparently used to be at Grona Lund before being relocated here.

it looks similar to the Catwoman ride SF StL added.     the logo is great, even if the name is a bit generic.

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the medium sized cart track.   the park was getting ready to open, and so they were starting to staff up the rides.

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LOL. .it worried me that the operator for his testing/set up was wearing a neck collar. . but turned out that was a safety thing for all the versions of the go karts here.

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it really is a lovely park. . tho it feels like there's a lot of unused space here still.

across the lake back in the distance is the main waterpark area

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here's what the Park folks wanted to show us. . the new ride.

I don't think I ever did get the name of this. . but it was air bumper cars.

basically ?   Air Hockey with you as the puck.

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you can tell it's really new - I think they said that it had just opened the prior week?  (or maybe it hadn't opened to the public yet, and TPR was given a preopening ride on it?)

they were still working on the theming, and there was a bunch of construction still going on in the queue.
 

but I'll admit - this was hella fun.   and I don't do Bumper Cars. . but this was more akin to Bumper Boats, but without the water.

and once you figured out how to control the things?    like I said, Hella fun.

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even if the seating in them is just a bit: "Gynecological Exam"

 

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guessing thanks to Elissa or maybe Brad or AJ for the pics with me in em?

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Whee!!!

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after this fun, we were cut loose to enjoy the park, until meeting up for lunch. 

Some went to the waterpark, and some of us shopped, or wandered.

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this is "Spinner" the park's Maurer Wild Mouse.

it wasn't open yet - I believe it was supposed to open at noon?   so we noted to come back later, and kept exploring.

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as noted. . a quite nice, and large park.

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what's this upside down house thing?    a funhouse?

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Nope. . .junior bumper cars.

why the upside-down house?   no one I asked knew.. . LOL
 

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here's the park's 3rd coaster, Gruvbanan, a Mack powered coaster, with an inside section (mainly a couple of big Helixes) that go around a campground of Trolls - if I'm remembering correctly.

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the queue line was nicely themed. . .

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as a mining camp. .

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and it was a really long train. . so it's basically a people eater. .

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Big Mike, myself, and Matthew

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also with Jonathan & Didier

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whee!. . but ya gotta sit down Big Mike!

Glad we got a couple of rides on it before moving on, as it broke down shortly after our rides, and I don't think it came back up before we left.
(I don't think it opened back up for the rest of the 2023 season either, from what I saw on RCDB. . so something really must have broken)

but it was a fun coaster for what it is - a family powered mine train, basically.
 

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this "gate" was randomly in the center of one of the walkways.

Someone, I think perhaps Erik, opined that this must be the original "rides" section of the park, when it was mostly just waterpark.   and as they grew, they started putting coasters and rides in other areas of the park.

it's probably a correct assumption, as the majority of the rides (including the mine train, the flume, the train station, and others) are over here
 

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found a coffee shop with OK coffee, but they also had these sprinkled balls.

they weren't quite cake balls, and I didn't really care for them. . but hey, I'm juvenile enough that I got them with my coffee just so I could get a picture :)

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this was something I just adored.   A fountain that had an entrance from the back, so one could stand under it to get a picture, without getting wet.

the mist was cooling, and no real wetness.

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yes.. yes. . it's a "rooster".

sometimes I don't NEED to put a double entendre caption

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Nice playground area

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looking across the lake for where we were about to meet up for Lunch.

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and a pic of said lunch.

I was impressed that a park served on real plates/bowls/glasses, and with real silverware. 

not sure if that's their standard thing, or just for us special, but this did seem to be the one sit down restaurant in the park.  (tho we sat outside on the deck)

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the lake is full of fishies who were hungry for leftover french fries. . .

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look at dem mouths!

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we headed back over to Spinner after lunch, and tho it had been open, it had gotten stuck.   Maintenance worked on it, and many from our group lined up and some (I believe including Robb & Sarah) got on. . and the car they were in got stuck - in the same place the prior one had been.

several of us looked at each other and were like. . .um. . nuh-uh.  (LOL). . but we had seen the train passing by, so instead decided to take a ride on the train around the park.
a good idea anyways to let Lunch settle.

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walking over to the train, found a photo op.    So of COURSE!

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mini-train. . but I really liked the detail on it.

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and it gives you a great look at the entire park as it travels around.

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it doesn't look too crowded, but it really was fairly busy. . I think most were just at the waterpark areas.

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and look. . started off this report with a smiling sMisty, and now have a smiling Erik !

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and a smiling Eric and Shane too

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Big Mike wasn't on the train with us..but caught him wandering around upright!

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Spinner. . still not moving.

around this time, I had gotten a call asking if I knew where Didier was - since I had been hanging out with him.    They were looking for him, because there had been an accident (what was referred to as a splinter) and needed to get into the bus.  

Didier was on the train with us. . . so told them that we'd meet them at the front gate - but as the train had just pulled out, it might be a good 20 minutes.

Daniel got the phone and asked me if I had my meds with me -  I always carry a bunch of painkillers, antacids, muscle relaxers. . all over the counter stuff. . which of course I did.
only problem was the same - we were on the train.   

BUT, someone had the brilliant idea to notice that the train tracks passed right by where the group was with the injured person, so we made a plan on the spot to drop off pain meds as we passed by.

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a look at the largest of the go kart tracks here as Skara Sommerland.

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they also have one of these "never in America" bouncy things in the playground.

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this is a bizzaro ride - it's a water ski thing. .where you grab a handle, and the wires overhead pull you around the lake here.

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it doesn't reflect in the pics, but the lake was this weird greenish/yellow color. . that looked kinda toxic - if I'm being honest. . . I certainly wouldn't want to fall into that water.

but folks could "waterski" on it.

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this was also the reason for the medical issue.

no, the person hadn't gotten hurt riding it. . .they had gotten a splinter in their foot when they took their shoes off and walked on the wooden deck/station to got to the start of the ride.

oh. . but "splinter" is underselling it.    I will NOT be sharing the picture, but this was a "splinter" in name only. . it was a big stick, that basically impaled the foot.

i'm glad I had some meds that perhaps helped with the pain, but this was a "need to go to the hospital to have it removed" type of thing.
(tho we didn't know that just yet. . we only knew a request for pain meds and I was happy to help out)

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here's Daniel waiting by the train tracks for his dealer. . .

(these pics are from Andy who had been hanging with the group doing the waterski thing to get pics)

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just a taste for free. . the next one you pay!

(Shane, who wasn't aware of what was going on, looks very confused)

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and Erik behind me was making sure all angles were covered. . . :)

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after that excitement, there was more excitement on the train when we passed a dinosaur (?).

why?  I dunno. . but a dinosaur!
 

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and going thru the tunnel, there's a huge ad for Wildfire and Kolmarden

(I understood this later, when I found out the same owners run all 4 of the next parks we'd be visiting)

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passing by Gruvbanan, which was still down.

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and ANOTHER set of Bumper Cars. . . wow. .those are really popular here at Skara.

 

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the flume was busy, even tho it was a fairly short, out and back type.   Typically what you'd see at a traveling fair. . but this one had permanent troughs. (and adorable cars)

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a mini-troika - themed to swamp buggies (not operating today. . multiple things seemed to be down today. . but not an issue, the amount of crowds on the "dry" areas had plenty to do.

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and the kiddie stuff was mostly running. . keeping the families there happy.

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what I think, perhaps, used to be the main entrance to the "dry/ride" side of the park?   it appeared there was a parking lot back over here.  Tho everyone in the park came thru the main gates, as we did.   Maybe it's only used on super busy days?

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I was interested in doing a little shopping, but nothing really was catching my eye.    Tho this sign did:  "Bad Poncho"

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it doesn't look too awful. . .

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until you get close and realize it's all blurry and looked like they printed them out on a fax machine from the early 80s

oh well. . truth in Advertising, gotta give em that!

 

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Senor Frogs?  

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I wasn't in the mood to get wet, so avoided the waterpark - tho I think some in our group did go and say it was fun.    But I wanted to get pics of the flume, mainly because of the adorable boats the park was using.

I'm not certain why the flume is called "Newton". . couldn't find any translation.

maybe the Whale's name is "Newton" ?

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OMG!!!  Adorbs!!

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hahahahaha. . . LOVE it

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and with that, it was almost time to head out to Stockholm.

while we waited for everyone, many folks got Ice Cream, and I posed with the surfboards outside the store.

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no comment.

LOL

 

 

 

and with that, we loaded back onto the bus - minus the two who had gone to Hospital to deal with the foot injury and would meet us in Stockholm  (seriously. . what a great friend that someone went with to make sure the injured party wasn't' there alone).

day to be continued. . .

 

 

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interrupting the day to share the swag I got from Skara Sommerland, since it really wasn't much:

Basically, the park gifted us with goodie bags, which included stuff that I would have purchased had I seen them. . so it saved me from having to do much shopping (really most of what was in the stores was related to the waterpark attractions anyways).

it also included those giant baby pacifier suckers - which I gave to a friend's teenager - who loved them, so I guess that IS the target market.

 

regardless, here is Skara Sommerland swag:

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several different magnets, with park logo, and ride logos.

 

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a branded fan. . .

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and a pic of me using said fan, while waiting for my coffee & balls earlier in the day (it was hot).
this pic was misfiled. .so just posting it here :)

 

and a bonus pic, that was misfiled. . and I found it when I went to check on the pics for the next update:

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Day 15: Saturday, June 17th part 2 (of 2) - Travel day to Stockholm, surprise ERT at Grona Lund!

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back on the bus for a few hours, and enjoying the sights to Sweden 😛

 

 

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we took a 45 minute rest stop to grab food, and tho most of the folks went to quicker service (and I think sMisty went to the candy store next door), Erik, myself, Didier, and I think Andrew, went across the intersection to this burger/pub chain in Sweden.

they assured us they could get the food out fast, and they did, even tho it was a sit down restaurant.

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it was quite good too.
 

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but . . um. . maybe lost something in the translation?

no, I didn't try the "soup of the day"

 

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then it was back on the bus, to finish our drive into Stockholm.

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lots of interesting architecture . . .

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really liked this sculpture in one of the Roundabouts that are all over Stockholm

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such a cool city!   very futuristic. . .

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based on the clocks (on the many buildings), we were arriving at our Stockholm hotel at just about 8pm.

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my first glimpse of Grona Lund. . . I was blown away.    the rides really are just piled one on top of each other.

our hotel was literally next door to Grona Lund. .so we knew we were close.

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and here we were. . at the BackStage Hotel.

literally across the (narrow) street from Grona Lund.

oh. . and also *attached* to the ABBA Museum - with access from the hotel lobby!

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speaking of the Hotel Lobby. . . very modern, and funky. . .

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the Cafe in the hotel.

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and the Bistro attached to the ABBA museum (I stepped out front of the hotel to get these pics)

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yes, they played ABBA music non-stop. . and yes, I LOVED it.   I mean LOVED it.

Our room was the corner there on the upper right, with the patio door open.

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Jonathan was in the room next door to us, and he was also enjoying the music.

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aww. . a kiddie cut out photo op.

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one for the adults too. . which hysterically had a sign taped to the back warning not to stick your entire head thru the hole, as it might get stuck.

LOL. . you know that has happened, if they need a sign.

 

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going back inside, even tho the museum was closed as it was just past 8pm, it's attached to the lobby.   So was able to peek in, and get a few pics.

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I'm stunned by the ABBA around me 

(yeah yeah. . a terrible pic, but the only one I had of the Kimonos!)

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Since Grona Lund was right across the street, once I had put all the luggage in the room I ventured out to check it out - from the outside.   Tho Backstage was our base hotel for a few nights, our full day at Grona Lund wasn't until two more parks (three days) from now.

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one of the main gates. . tho this one seemed to enter into the more family friendly, kid friendly ride area

but I'll bet this was once THE main gate, as the art deco design and lights were impressive

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the Grona Lund gift shop, which was open for anyone to go in and look around - so I took a quick peek, but was warned they were closing in an hour, so if I saw anything I wanted, I had to get it before then.    By a sweet little old lady - who watched me like a HAWK the moment I stepped into the store. . LOL

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we were missing the Chicks (ie: the Dixie Chicks) at the park by just a week or so. . .

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SO much art deco glass and artistic design here. . .

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one of Grona Lund's multiple Drop Towers/Tower Rides.

look closely on the right side.. yup, that's a STAND UP option for one side of the tower!    (spoiler, it scared the shit out of me, but I did the stand up option when we went to the park. and that camera on that side up there?  yup, takes a photo you can buy).

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what seems to be getting used as the "main" entrance now. . as it had the box office, the information booth, and the queues set up to handle large lines over here.

it also puts you in right be lots of games and some big rides.

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oooo.. Ice Cream.  

I hadn't had any at Skara Sommerland. . so I took this as a sign from the universe.    tho I wasn't trusting those sprinkles..they looked suspiciously like Licorice to me.

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so played it safe with a cup and caramel/strawberry syrup topping.

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I spot a coaster thru the trees.

Robb had messaged the group saying he had a surprise for us, and anyone who was interested should meet in the lobby at 9:30.

so I finished up my ice cream and headed back across to our hotel.

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taking a few more pics as I walked.

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Ian was in the lobby, so I grabbed him and dragged him over to the photo op.  I believe Jon took this pic for us.

LOL. . neither of us wanted to be the guys. . but I, mean, I HAVE to be Frida of course.

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turned out the surprise?    the owner of the park had reached out to welcome Robb & TPR to Stockholm and offered us some ERT on the park's newest coaster, a B&M Invert called "Monster". .that opened in 2021.

I think almost everyone on the trip excitedly lined up to go into Grona Lund as they were about to close for the evening, to get some rides on Monster.  the Clock on the wall shows it was about 9:55 pm. . and still so bright out.

as you can see, the rides are just stacked on top of each other. . I can imagine how difficult it was to build this coaster in this space!

(that white coaster in the background is "Insane", and the drop tower behind it - that drops face first - is "Icarus". . . will talk about them in the Grona Lund update)

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ah. .finally, the train is visible, right there in the center pic.. .

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here it comes overhead. . they were flushing the line out for us at the end of night. . . so this empty train told us that they were about ready for us.

by the way, the owner we met (who's name I unfortunately cannot remember) was SO damn nice.   just an all around nice guy.  very much enjoyed chatting with him briefly.

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crowd headed out. . we're headed in.

that's the main entrance to the ride straight ahead.

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but we weren't going in via the main queue. . . he led us down an alley towards the back of the ride. . .

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to the JetPass (the park's version of Flashpass) entrance. . which drops you right into the station.

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I rode this a bunch of times. . the view from the front is just stunning, as it weaves in and out of buildings, with a few near misses.  and the drop has just this amazing view of the lake and the ferries as people were leaving the park.

it is a bit too intense for me, and so I had to take several breaks.   I'd basically do two rides back to back, then a break. . etc.

as people started to bow out after many rides, there started to be some open seats - so Ian and I couldn't hold hands while riding :p

but it HAD been a long day. . the adrenaline kept me going tho!

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one of my "breaks" between rides, in the cool underground station.

yup, it starts and ends underground.

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Eventually we had to bid the park goodbye - for a few days - and we were led past the closed ride entrance and to the gates.

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LOVE how this ride interacts with the surroundings. . it just looms over everything over here.

 

and then we made our way back across the street to the hotel, where I took a shower, and crashed HARD.  

it had been a long day, but quite an exciting one.   I said a small prayer for the health of our injured companion - who rejoined our group the day after next with his foot bandaged up, but still able to ride stuff), and slept.

tomorrow was another day. . and we were going to be headed to Furuvik. . a park no one on the trip (not even Robb & Elissa) had been to prior. . . and it had a lot of animals too.

so I was excited.

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ending with a beautiful shot from Robb's on ride camera, of the Monster first drop, as the sun sets.

(and a view of the parking lot across the street that the park has announced will be turned into an expansion, so will have rides on it in the future).

thanks for reading along. . hope you've enjoyed!

 

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So many great pictures! On the same cruise that we were on when we went to Liseberg we were docked right across the harbor from Gronalund, but since Joel was only 9 and wouldn't have been tall enough for much AND we only had a day AND no one else wanted to spend it in a amusement park we didn't pay to go in. Walked right by it though. If anyone every gets the chance to sail into Stockhom it's really amazing. You spend about 3 hours going past a million little islands, most of which have summer cabins on them.

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Quote

started off this report with a smiling sMisty, and now have a smiling Erik !

Collect them both!

Stockholm is my favorite city--at least of those I've visited thus far.

 

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Day 16: Sunday, June 18th part 1 (of 2) - a park no one had ever been to, Furuvik - and a surprise bonus on the way back to the hotel!

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the next morning, we got up from our hotel, and filed onto the bus for a drive out of the city.

and pulled up - right off what seemed to be a major highway - to a new park for everyone on the trip (including Robb & Elissa): Furuvik

this is similar to Kolmarden in that it is mainly a zoo, but has some amusement rides and rollercoasters. . and it had been in the news fairly recently due to a horrific story regarding the Chimpanzees (that the park was known for - they were a main Chimpanzee research facility in Sweden prior to this) that escaped the enclosure and resulted in several injuries and the deaths of multiple primates.

We did not ask about the story, and figured it would not be talked about - but it actually was mentioned by some of the park folks we talked to.

 

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and there was this memorial out front of the main entrance.

(not sure if it was Furuvik sanctioned, but they were allowing it to be there - with the names of the 4 chimps that had died in Dec 2022).

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the actual main gates of the park. .and you can see front and center in the logo is a Chimp. . .

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looking back at the major roadway closeby before we went inside the park.

 

 

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it's a really large park, with some very lush areas.  This was a theater we passed by on the way in, with a family show going on here during the day featuring the park's mascots:   5 cats.

I never did get all of their names, but I WAS successful in meeting all 5 during our visit today :)

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I mentioned it's a large park?   yup. .here's the park map

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oh.. did I mention the park Mascots are cats?   yup. .they go ALL IN in places with the kitty cat theming. . 
 

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a little hard to read, but I appreciate any park that attempts topiary/flower landscaping.    Nice job by them.

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as I said, tho it's mostly a zoo, Furuvik does have an amusement park section (most over here in Scandi are identified by "Tivoli" areas).  Based on this entrance area, it does appear that at one point the Amusement rides section was a separate ticket entry?     but was all included now.
 

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various different rides over here. . some intense, some kiddie, but the majority of them "Family" rides.

 

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Sadly, this was the only Carousel on site tho. . .

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as a group tho, we headed for the Coasters first, as they were new to everyone!

Lightning is a retro-looking family Vekoma Launch coaster, that was almost brand new - opening shortly before our visit.

(I believe this sits where a Schwarzkopf Jet Star II used to be, named Rocket - that closed in 2021)

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nothing "EXTREME" here, but lots of twisty, twisty track.

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and a really fun retro station and train design.

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it went around twice, if I'm recalling correctly, and the 2nd time thru the station, it really pics up speed with the launch that increases the velocity the train already has going as it flies thru the station

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really great train design. .

and part of the Control Panel for you freaks that like that. . .

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surprise surprise.. .Bumper Cars.      (Swedes seem to LOVE their bumper cars).

tho I did appreciate that this one had full "traveling Carnival" light package. . and every light worked.   it was impressive when it got overcast how brightly this shined.

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a Disc-O

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and several games similar to we saw in Liseberg, where one could win a giant box of treats.

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next door was this wonderful shooting gallery - which for some reason you could win Octopus' at if you got a high enough score.

I really enjoyed the choice of weapons. . tho I let down my Texas family by really sucking at shooting with most of the guns.

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this looked very similar to the one at Liseberg that had run the fairly tame program. . .   simply called "Extreme" here.

for sure wanted to ride it, but it required a certain number of riders before they could operate, so we'd have to come back later once the park opened to the public.
 

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instead, our guide, Dexter, led us over to the 2nd of the park's 3 roller coasters:  Fireball - a Vekoma Family Boomerang.

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the theming here was quite nice, even if the ride wasn't an EXTREME ride.  

as a zoo, it's great that the "big" rides they have are mostly things the whole family can ride - even the smaller kids.
 

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whee!!!

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and next to it is a large shooting Dark ride - with some really amazing theming on the outside.

but we didn't go to this one yet, there was still one more coaster here to get to as the park was opening up to general guests.

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Draken - a Zierer kiddie coaster

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but hey, new credit for everyone!

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as we got off our ride, and met to be released into the park (getting food vouchers, and being told what time to meet up later for the ride back). .  I noticed - what's this? 

are those. . . mascots riding Draken with the 1st public riders?

 

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Yup!

two of the 5 mascots found!

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make that 3 of the 5!

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and 4 of the 5 !      wow.. good timing to be there, just as the Mascots (well. . most of them) came out to start the day!

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now the park was open. . EXTREME had started running.

we lined up - and tho still had to wait a little bit to get enough riders, were able to get a ride on it.    Pretty intense, but I liked it.

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here's us on the ride - I believe pic courtesy of Erik, as we had to convince sMisty and Goldballs (as Erik calls him) to ride with us so we had enough people for the cycle.

Despite my face, I liked it.
 

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and at the end of our ride, all the guys hopped off, causing the "arm" to raise up, leaving sMisty stuck in the seat way far off the ground  (whoops!!)

luckily, they have a step stool there, just for these situations :)

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all the big rides done (that I cared to ride), it was time for the spookhouse!

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fun animatronic in the queue line explaining how the guns work (in Swedish, but we figured it out).

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AMAZING boarding area. . . so cool.

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we were starting to get a little hungry, as we hadn't had much for breakfast this morning (I believe the Hotel had given us some pre-made bags, since we left so early, so didn't do the hotel breakfast this day).     so we looked at the options for food, and most of the folks I was with agreed that the "Indian"/ Tandoori option sounded good. . . it was off in the middle of the zoo area, so we treked off to find it (with some directions from Dexter). . .

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passing the Camel enclosure.  .  . . tho we eventually found it.

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we were literally the ONLY folks here at this restaurant.    so the three guys in the kitchen were joking with us, and chatting about where we were from, and they were very interested in TPR, and folks that took trips to go to theme parks and ride things.

they laughed and asked me - since I was first - if I wanted the "American" serving for the add on chicken skewers.    I had no idea what the difference was, but said "sure"

this is what came out.   

LOL - you should have seen the eyes bulging out from the others with me. . as everyone pretty quickly ordered the same thing.

it was a HUGE amount of food, and it was quite tasty!    I posted this pic of it, and several other folks from TPR did come track down the Indian place and eat lunch here (I've heard it was way better than the burger place that some went to)

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David enjoying his protein!


Dexter came by while we were eating and was happy his directions had helped us find the place.

he offered to show us around to some of the animals, so of course we said yes, and ended up not having to wander aimlessly (which would have been fine, but nicer to have someone bring us to show the parts of the park that he loves). . .

to be continued. .  .

 

 

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Day 16: Sunday, June 18th part 2 (of 2) - Furuvik - and a surprise bonus on the way back to the hotel!

 

continued. . .

 

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if I'm not mistaken, this was a lovely boardwalk/elevated pathway that went out onto the edge of the water, and around the goats & Red Panda enclosure.

we didn't get to see the Red Panda - I do believe Dexter told us that the enclosure was getting ready for them, but the actual animals had not been moved into the enclosure yet?

but I do know that he drew our attention to that land mass way off in the distance, and I'm pretty sure he said that was Finland we were seeing from Sweden.
 

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the post Indian food group that was being shown around by Dexter (that's him on the far right)

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yo Llama is SOOO fat.  

when she sits around the enclosure?  she sits a ROUND the enclosure!

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hey. .it's not fat.. it's just fur. . .

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so Dexter was all excited about the Camels, and he actually called them by name and they came *running* over to him.

now, did they come running over because they recognized and love him?   or because he had handfulls of food to feed them?
 

the world may never know. . . . 

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but it was still wonderful to see, and get pics of.

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nothin to see here. . just some goats on a big rock.

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we had heard folks talking about a dark ride/ boat ride. . but hadn't been able to locate it.    

when asked Dexter about it, he brought us right to the entrance.   (I dont' think we'd ever have found it otherwise).

it looked like a fun little river raft ride, tho the boats were very small.     there was some chatter about 4 per boat, but I recall protesting, and we ended up 3, 2, and 1 . . and what a correct call THAT was.

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that boat in front with 3 seems a little low to the water!

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um. . .  . big Mike isn't looking too steady on his own either. .

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I'm concerned. . but at least Jonathan and I seem to be a little steady.

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um. . the heavier boat in the front seems to be causing a little bit of a traffic jam. . .

I look worried, but the operators were laughing hysterically. . .

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and "luckily" we had someone off ride walking by at JUST the right moment to capture the chaos.

( think this is courtesy of Andy ? )

this guy's face cracks me up:

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I mean. . .  we're laughing and horrified at the same time.

 

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ohhhh. . here comes the "Dark ride" part

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Realistic!!

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Sharks AND a Kracken?   what kind of jungle is this????
 

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but once you safely disembark, you are walking thru a monkey house. . .which makes the boat ride so worth it!

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turtles too. .

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you can get so close to them!

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Achievement unlocked!!!    I found the 5th mascot.

or did I?    he was hanging around with his twin, and I wasn't sure which one of them I had met earlier.

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so better safe, than sorry. . . at least now I know i met all five of them.

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around this point, I was starting to feel pretty bad.   

I was getting cold, and was starting to cough a lot. . . I didn't think I was sick, and it SEEMED to be allergies.    as that was affecting some others right at this point.

Unfortunately, I didn't have anything with me to help with the congestion. . . . but I COULD buy a nice warm sweatshirt in a giftshop, so I did that.

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tho I didnt' buy this freaky octo-duck thing. . .
 

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nice to see that at least the mini carousel was getting some riders. . .

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speaking of horses?

we had met up with everyone else to head out, and as we were walking towards the entrance we passed this Hobby Horse race track the park had as an attraction.

so why not?    Several of us grabbed hobby horses, and off to the races!

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this is a big part of why I absolutely *love* taking trips with TPR. . there really is no such thing as looking too stupid!

it was hella fun, and kudos to my fellow racers!

Pic courtesy of Robb, I believe.

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passing that theater we had seen on the way in.  

ah. .that's why only the two mascots were out.  the others are here on stage.   

and have at least a bit of a crowd.

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and Elissa, Sarah, and TPR were awarded giant boxes of Chocolates from our guides at the park.    

we all piled back on the bus, as the sky started to darken and a bit of rain drops started to fall, and the candy got passed around to everyone for a taste.

 

Robb & Elissa had a surprise for us on the way back. . we weren't going straight back to the hotel. . we were stopping here, at SkiStar Stockholm Hammarbybacken !

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they have a lot of activities here at this place, that seems to be open year round. . .

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tho we were here for this:  the only mountain coaster in Stockholm

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as you can see from the ground, it had started to drizzle, and we weren't sure they would keep it open for us.. but they did!

here's some of the other activities that can be done here - this is the Tube sliding tracks  (it was late in the afternoon, and the weather was kinda icky. . so that would be why it was mostly empty)

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you get in the individual cars, and they hook you up and pull you up to the top of the Mountain.

here's Joey getting ready to head up.

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and I BELIEVE this is a pic I took of the screens showing how to control the mountain coaster as you descend. . .but gives a good view of the track/city.

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here's me coming down. . pic courtesy of, I think, Elissa  (or could have been Jason)

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this thing was FLYING because the track was wet.

pretty terrifying, but it was SO much fun.


after riding in the rain tho, I was so congested and hacking that no one wanted to sit by me on the short bus ride back to the hotel.      There was something going on in town tonight - a concert of some kind, I think. . and several in the group bought last minute tickets and were headed to it.  

all I wanted to do was find someplace to get some decongestant. . .

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Back at the Hotel, I realized I didn't have anything to help with allergies packed.

so Matthew looked up the nearest drugstore (which was still open and he and I hopped in a cab - to make sure we got there as they were closing shortly, and I got to shop in a Swedish Supermarket.
Wasnt' sure quite what to purchase, but the checkout lady spoke English very well and helped translate the nose sprays for me and I picked up a couple.

then we walked back to the hotel. . grabbed some dinner in the hotel restaurant with a few other folks we saw were eating there, and I headed up to the room to sleep.

Pics walking back from the drugstore:

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and dinner:

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then up to shower and relax in room/crash.



since it's a short final group of pics, will put the Furuvik swag here too:

sweatshirt with happy cotton candy:

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an magnet:
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  • 2 weeks later...

Day 17: Monday, June 19th part 1 (of 2) - Kolmården - and the insane amazement of Wildfire!

 

getting up this morning, I was feeling much better, but still pretty congested.  I realized there is something in the air in Sweeden that was trying to kill me (and several others, who were also having extreme allergic reactions).

as today was going to be another full day spent out, basically, in the woods?  I not only drugged the hell out of myself, but decided to wear a facemask today to see if it helped (it actually DID help quite a bit, tho I still hacked and coughed thruout the day - tho nowhere near as much as I had the prior day).

anyways. . onto the bus and headed out to Kolmården - a huge zoo, likely best known by coaster fans for the amazing RMC coaster, Widfire.

 

the Country continues to be absolutely gorgeous, even tho it was a bit overcast today.

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passing by the main parking lot for Kolmården. . . .it was already starting to fill up, but as the zoo is SO big, it never really felt crowded.

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in fact, the zoo is SO big, we were directed around back to the 2ndary parking lot, and allowed to enter thru that back gate.

this way we were much closer to the "rides" portion of the zoo, than if we had started at the actual front gates.  (very hilly, and quite the walk, really, so it was greatly appreciated!)

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I spot Wildfire thru the trees!

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Park Map from where we actually entered. . we were in the lot on the right - that you can see the path they let us use, that walks into the back of the park.

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a better look at Wildfire's lift and turnaround before drop, from inside the zoo grounds.

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my masked self - since outdoors.   on the right is the entrance to the zoo's famous "safari" gondola ride. 

and that's where we were going to head to first.

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I believe the zoo had already opened (hence the family ahead of us in this pic). . but I was just blown away from the theming over here.   VERY much reminded me of a Disney-esque queueline.

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this is a fairly long - if recalling correctly, it was about 25 minutes - lovely gondola ride that covers the large area in the zoo that I guess would be called the Serengeti if were at Animal Kingdom or BGT parks.    Lots of interacting animals - tho several predators too, in sectioned off areas, and the gondola "tracks" criss cross each other several times.

so it's a long ride, and really does give some incredible views.  and it has narration in 3 languages, so you can get descriptions of the animals as you pass over those areas.

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starting off with Wildfire, as you leave the station.

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the group I rode with:  me, Doug, Hans, Ryan, David, and Hawk.

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I mean. . . just stunning views from the Gondolas

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Bears attempting to sun themselves on this overcast day

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zebras!

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yeah. . these folks are in their own area. . .

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tho this early in the morning, most were sleeping.

but good lord, what an amazing view you get from the Gondola!

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as we were crossing over the "track". .snapped this pic to show some of the criss crossing the ride does.

you get a bit high up in some spots too.

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could be a postcard.  amazing that it's just a pic on an iPhone

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and coming back into the station.

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we were headed to Wildfire, but first, I believe, it was almost lunch time, and the Park guide wanted to bring us down to eat, before we did any further things.

so we passed by Wildfire for the moment, and headed down to the food area, that's over by the "big" rides - the park also has a very large "kids rides" area.

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I don't think we had the "Mexican". . . I didn't' take a pic, but I THINK it was burgers?   But this Mexican pirate amused me, so snapped a pic of the sign.

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the view while we ate.

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one of the two other Roller Coasters in the park, a Vekoma Junior coaster.   (the other being a Zierer kiddie coaster)

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themed to a Dolphin!   so cute.

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and then we headed over to Wildfire, to check it out, and get some rides.

loved the theming in the station.

no axes allowed?  Noted!

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lovely train design, tho it has those RMC restraints that I just don't really care for (I always feel so uneasy in these restraints).
 

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LtR: Didier, Eric, Shane, Jon

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whee!!   Jason and Big Mike in front row!

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but they had a surprise for us, if anyone was interested (we were!). . we got to go into the Maintenance and get up close and personal with the ride and trains!

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so cool!

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and the ride watches you thru the windows in the workshop. . .

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wonder what THIS does?   😛

(and yes, jokey picture taken with permission to touch the sledge hammer)

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the coaster's layout on the board in the Maint. shed.

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the group on the shed tour. . .

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we really did get to get really up close to the ride, while it was operating!

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I mean. . really close!

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getting a few more rides in before moving on. . . here's more of the TPR group enjoying Wildfire.

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and this is Tomas, who was the main guide walking us around Kolmården today, and showing us the zoo's shining gems.

they had another surprise for us - if we were interested - we could go under the Gondola ride and see the Maint. area for that if we wanted.    So we headed over that way

 

to be continued. . . .

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Day 17: Monday, June 19th part 2 (of 2) - Kolmården

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had to be careful, as the ride was in operation. . but we were guided between the moving Gondolas and to the transfer track area. .

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and it was explained that at the end of each day, this is where the Gondolas go to "sleep". .and they perform maintenance on any needing some TLC.

it wasn't a big building, just a small shed. . so I was a little confused. . .

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until we rounded the corner and saw the massive staircase, that leads to the huge underground area

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empty, because all the Gondolas are currently on the ride

 

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Q&A session down in the underground area. . .

they offered anyone who wanted to, could climb up on the walkway into the main control booth and take a look. ..

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but as I'm not a fan of tiny walkways high off the ground?  I opted for another ride on the Safari while many in the group took turns going up to the control room.

this time I got my own car, and so was able to move back and forth to get some good pics.

my Gondola was Giraffe themed. .

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again, such a beautiful park/zoo

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I spy Erik taking a picture in the gondola before me :)

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wait. .are those people over there in the distance with the Giraffes?

(answer. . yes, those are. . as we were to find out shortly)

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the Bears were up and about this time. .

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and using tree as a scratching post.

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the Lions were also mostly up and prowling around their enclosure on this trip.

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safari over, we were sent off on our own to enjoy the zoo. . . but first, they wanted to offer us another unique opportunity, if we were interested.

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passing by the Chimps enclosure. . .   where were we going?

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Safari Camp?

 

yes, you can actually camp out here at the zoo (on the grounds) as an option.

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well. . hello there!

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these were our guides at the Safari Camp area. . .

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where not only can you pay to camp out, in pretty nice tents / campground. .

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but you also get to get up close and personal with the animals we had seen from the Gondolas.

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including feeding them.

i have an inkling, these Giraffes know that if there are people here?  they are gonna get food, as they all came up to the fence right away.

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Ryan feeding a Giraffe!  

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a baby!!!

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I fed the baby :)

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looking back at the campground (the Giraffes are behind me). . it's a nice set up, and would be fun to spend a night here for nature lovers.

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our group that fed the Giraffes.

seems there's not all of us tho. . . what happened?  oh.. we split the group because half went to go see the Bears up close, while we did Giraffes, and then we swapped.

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dawwwwwww !!!!!

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yeah. . we didn't go feed this lady. . .LOL. . but we saw her thru the fence watching us.

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then we headed over to the Bears. . .

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Kristen told us all kinds of neat facts about Bears, while this guy sat there and ate non stop.  (I can relate).

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hug a tree, save a cowboy.. . or something like that?

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then we were cut loose to enjoy the rest of the day at the zoo, until it was time to meet up for ERT later on Wildfire.

it's a large zoo, with lots of animals, and some really nice enclosures.

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in particular?  the Tiger enclosure really impressed me.

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perhaps my favorite "warning" sign at  Kolmården - as you head down to the "sunken bus"

one would think they didn't NEED this sign. . but since they have it?  some fool clearly got too close to the bars

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the tigers are everywhere! 

every time I thought I had seen them all?  I spotted another one.

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towards the end of the afternoon, it was time to meet back up at Wildfire.

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Didier and myself enjoying "Bench: the ride" - it's a very large park, with lots of hills.   it was a LOT of walking today :)

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remaining general public thru the line, and time for ERT for TPR!

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I really liked this ride, but could only ride it so many times.    The forces on this, combined with the restraints?  hit me just perfect on my bladder.

and literally every time I rode, I had to get off, and run to the toilet to pee.     LOL

after the 4th time in a row it happened, I started taking breaks between laps :)

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but I did ride it, and I loved it, as prooved by Robb's rider cam!

all in all, a fantastic day, and the mask I wore most of the day really did seem to help the allergic reaction I was having to whatever is in the air in Sweden's wilderness.

after a great and exhausting day, we headed back to the bus for the drive back to Stockholm.

 

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since the only Swag I got from Kolmården were these magnets,

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I'll share some stealth pics I got of Colin testing out one of those silly pacifier lollipops we kept getting as treats.   

hopefully he won't kill me. . but c'mon. .these are great!  (I think he liked it?   I gave mine away as gifts)
 

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IMG_3340.thumb.JPG.a95d987410413db95b8042cbede8e5d6.JPG

 

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