August 16th, 2013



When I was young I LOVED roller coasters, with a white-hot heat. Standing in line for 2 hours to ride a 5-minute loop-de-loop? No problem, let's go again! Which was kind of strange, considering that I've suffered from motion sickness since I was an infant. I've never been able to read in the car, and I always offer to drive because riding in the backseat? Not an option.

Up until I was in my twenties I was a roller coaster fiend. Bring 'em on Cedar Point! What'cha got, Great America? I'll see your Space Mountain and raise you one Demon Drop. But as I grew older, my fondness began, much to my dismay, to dim. Nowadays, I can trawl an entire amusement park without so much as a hankering for one ride and I've gotten used to people-watching from a nearby bench while my children stand in line over and over again.

But last Tuesday, when we took Jordon to Copenhagen and subsequently to Tivoli, I really was planning to get a ride-band and take part, especially since otherwise it meant one of the kids would have to ride alone or share a seat with a stranger, since they were an uneven number without me. My good intentions lasted until we got to the Tivoli ticket office and I saw the prices of combined entry + ride-band. Ouch. You can buy single tickets throughout the park as well, and I figured that would have to do ride would be enough. But as the evening progressed, nothing really tempted me and after each subsequent ride, the kids' looked more and more pale and green-ish. (Ha! Same phenomenon that happened to me as I grew up, right?)

Finally, at the last ride, I capitulated and bought a ticket. It wasn't really a roller coaster per se and I wasn't sure about it, but it didn't LOOK all that stomach-lurch inducing. Boy, was I ever wrong. It was The Monsoon, and all it looked like it did was go up and down. But it did it was such abruptness that not only did I think I was going to come right out of the seat (despite the protective harness) but I thought my churros were going to launch as well. Ulp.

Anyway, the kids had fun and apart from that brief ballistic-whoops-a-daisy, so did I, and the next day we had a much calmer outing planned. Or so we thought...

We slept in a bit, and headed to Malmö to pick up Sydney, Cate's daughter. Cate is related to me the same way Jordon's mom is related to me: second cousin once removed. So Jordon is my second cousin twice removed and so is Sydney. If I have this right, and there are no guarantees, my kids and Jordon and Sydney are all third cousins to each other. We drove from Malmö southeast out toward Ystad and the coast and then to the little fishing village of Kåseberga. On the clifftops above the village, out in the fields, is a stone ship that has been there since either 1400 or 5000 years ago (results of dating have varied widely). It's name is Ales Stenar and no one really knows what it's purpose was...sort of like Stonehenge only smaller, and ship-shaped.

Jordon, Karin, Sydney, Martin: Ale Stenar Monkeys

We've been there many times and it's always a nice place to take visitors. The view of the Baltic from the clifftop is lovely and the stones themselves are quite intriguing. When Anders was younger he used to go hanggliding off the cliffs but nowadays we usually see paragliders. On this particular day, which was quite breezy, there was a whole FLOCK of them soaring on the air currents the length of the coast.

Photo credit: Jordon Crimmins

Quite near to us, were a couple of guys with their paragliders laid out on the ground. We walked closer to the cliff edge to watch the action in the sky and Jordon was snapping away with her camera. One of the guys came over to us and asked if we would like to go up for a tandem ride. Only 400 kronor, he said. "Oh dear," I answered, "I don't have any cash on me." What a bummer... but then Jordon piped up and said that she had money with her, enough for both her and one other person to go up. I realized later that if we had tried to talk him down to 300, one more of us could have taken a turn, but we had already talked him down from 500 and I didn't think of it then.

The man who had approached us, Ignacio, turned out to be from Mexico so he and Jordon began talking in Spanish, and his colleague suited up and got things ready. Jordon was thrilled and terrified at the same time and went up screaming in joy. She came down almost 20 minutes later beaming and then it was Karin's turn. Neither Martin nor Sydney wanted to go up and after my ride the day before I was content to keep my stomach on the ground, but Karin was ready and willing, which was no surprise!

Karin getting ready to fly

View from the air! Photo credit: Karin Ek

Video of Karin coming in for a landing!

You can read Jordon's impressions of her paragliding adventure with lots of great photos on her blog.

When I asked Jordon, there on the edge of the windy cliff-side, whether it was like riding the roller coasters at Tivoli, she said, sort of...only smoother. No stomach lurching at all. Ignacio agreed: "It's nature's roller coaster," he said.

Considering that he told us people who book tandem rides pay about 3x what we paid spontaneously there on the edge of cliff, who knows, but ...

Maybe someday. :)