Aug 202023

5 countries 🇩🇰 🇸🇪 🇳🇴 🇫🇮 🇪🇪 (7 if you count layovers 🇫🇷 🇳🇱), 13 parks (+1 run-down carnival thing in the middle of Tallinn), 65 coasters, 4 pounds gained from a 2 week diet of licorice/rye bread/cinnamon rolls, 1 Depeche Mode bar, dozens of new friends made, getting caught in what was apparently the worst storm that Scandinavia had seen in over 20 years (Storm Hans, which derailed – or ‘deferried’ as it were – a portion of the Coaster Crew itinerary but managed to become the best memory), and now we’re home! Sad for it to end but so happy to see my cats (shout out to my mom for keeping them company!) and to give my body a rest and start stalking the channels of the coaster YouTubers on our trip so we can relive the chaos!

That may have been the wildest trip of my life (SO FAR!). I love Coaster Crew. I love roller coasters. And I love that this is something we do together as a family! (Even though we fight 80% more than usual while traveling – families tho, right?)

Our travel day yesterday was…fine. Taxi picked us up right before 4am (ugh), first flight was at 7am to Amsterdam, then to ATL, then home. The flight to ATL was pretty annoying. The flight attendants were so unfriendly and unprofessional. I was not a fan. But I’m also not a fan of flying, either.

I always hate the end of vacations but I can honestly say that I think even one extra day would have been too much. We were already pushing it by tacking on those extra 5 days at the end and while it was definitely worth it (Finland and Estonia were absolutely wonderful), it really took a toll on us especially considering that part of the trip we were on our own. LOTS OF PUBLIC TRANSIT, people. We got a lot of use out of our Helsinki pass, that’s for sure.

Now to start editing photos and shoving recaps at your eyeballs! STAY TUNED!

P.S. it took me forever to arrange all those park maps up there for one stupid picture and then like 3 minutes later Henry strides over and says, “I found this Linnanmaki park map, do you need it?”


Aug 182023

After packing, Henry and I went out for one last walk around Helsinki. As with most places, I wish we had more time to spend here and I would love to come back one day! I mean, there *is* another park here that we didn’t make it to, so….lol.

Here are some photos I took during our walk.

We stopped at Fazer’s Cafe (the original location, apparently!) and I had an ACTUALLY GOOD chai latte and my last salty licorice (salmiak) ice cream fix. :( I know I’m in the minority here but goddamn I love that shit. Henry and Chooch think it’s disgusting and won’t come anywhere near it, haha.


Anyway, we’re at the Helsinki airport now, Saturday morning, 5:18am, waiting for our 7am flight to start our long trek home. This trip was so exhausting but in the best way. I say this all the time but I really want to make a scrapbook!!

Oh and I tried to actually record some stuff and Chooch allegedly is going to help me edit everything so maybe someday I will have something that I can share here?!

Aug 172023

Checking in from the ferry to Tallinn, Estonia! This is the first time of the whole trip that it was warm enough (for me, anyway) to wear shorts. I tried to shave in the tiny shower of our Helsinki apartment last night and just realized now that I missed half of my right leg so that’s great. I know, I know, normalize hairy lady legs etc etc but it bothers me personally. I’m about to buy a razor on this ferry and dry-shave in a bathroom stall, lol.

We should be in Tallinn in about an hour and I’m so excited! Aside from the coaster crew portion of the trip, this is my most anticipated excursion so I hope it lives up to my expectations.

Aug 152023

Hello from a train traveling from Turku –> Helsinki. This morning was absolute chaos because Henry is literally the biggest dunce when it comes to traveling and single-handedly took everything I had planned for a half-day in Turku and set it aflame. It’s fine. Chooch saved the day as usual because he actually understands how various modes of transportation work.

But anyway, all of that is to say to that I really really really miss Coaster Crew and the organization that came with the trip. I know it can be better to travel outside of the confines of a tour group when it comes to flexibility but sometimes the convenience is unmatched.

Yesterday was our first day without the group and I was really feeling it. I miss them so much you guys. When we came back to the Sheraton after Gröna Lund on our last night, everyone kind of hung out in front saying goodbye and it was beyond emotional (well, not for Henry – he didn’t make any friends).

Here’s me and Pam in the luggage room at the hotel! She was hands down my fave person that I met. Real Barb Riley vibes from that one.

Then Tim and I made each other tear up twice – he said we’re a sweet family and in my head I was like “you must have missed the 728394 bickerings we had this whole time” lol.

After we got settled in our room, Henry and I walked to a pharmacy to get contact solution for me and fries for Chooch at McDs, then we went down to the hotel bar to hang out with Pam and Sherry, who were being hit on by some guy named Hans who wanted to go to Pam’s room to “exchange email addresses.” I was dying. Sherry had this look on her face like “STOP ENGAGING WITH THIS CREEP.”

Tim and several others were also hanging out in the lounge so I was really soaking up as much as I could. I hate saying goodbye to people! (I’m crying on the train now lol.) I have so much to recap once we get home in a few days and it is going to take so long and will 100% not do the trip justice.

I know some people might think it’s weird or a “waste” to travel for theme parks / rollercoasters but we had the best time, saw some crazy shit, made time for tourism, rode some bucket list rides, rode out the worst storm that the region had seen in the last 20 years when we were in Denmark (Storm Hans), survived a 13 hour overnight bus ride to Norway when the ferry was canceled, and did this all with so many nice/crazy/interesting people who I hope to see again one day. I will never regret taking a chance and signing up to do this trip, knowing no one from the group, having to take a loan out against my 401k to afford it because it was something that just felt worth it, and that turned out to be true.

I will never forget it. And it ended so fittingly with me and Chooch in the back row of Monster with Sam and Dewey, last train of the night, everyone on the train screaming “Coaster Crew! Coaster Crew!” when it came back to the station.

Ugh my goddamn stupid dumb heart. Ow.

Aug 132023

There was a car show outside of our hotel this morning! I walked over to snap some photos for my car-enthusiast dad and was excited to see some Saabs because when I was a teenager, I wanted a Saab in the worst way because OJ Simpson’s daughter had one lol.

Chooch and I were kind of standing off on the side at first but some guy came over and said, “Come look, come look!”

Plus the trolley!

Also, I’m sad because this was the LAST BREAKFAST with the group. Pam sat with us so it was good. But now we’re on the bus back to Kolmarden for more ERT on Wildfire and people moved around again so it’s disorienting.

Aug 122023

Today is Saturday I think. It’s currently 10:30pm and we’re unwinding in our hotel room in Norrköping Sweden after one ultra long day. First of all, we had to check out of the glorious Curiosa Hotel in Gothenburg after two wonderful nights, and be on the bus for a 6:20AM departure for a small park called Skarra Sommerland for three credits. We almost all passed out as soon as the bus left the hotel. I was mad because it was a new bus and it made me feel disoriented!! Some people changed seats and I didn’t approve. Anyway, we were almost to the park when Tim came on the speaker and said that he had found out via email THIRTY MINUTES before we were expected to arrive that the main attraction, the coaster we were supposed to have ERT on, was DOWN and they were trying to get a part from another park.

We still went because we had already driven out of the way for the +3 credits so we had to make the best of it. Then another coaster was down, plus a major flat ride. So we rode a spinning wild mouse and they opened some stupid flag ride in kiddie land for us. It was a let down but we all made the best of it. I was laughing because after we left there to go to Kolmarden, there was one part where the bus was swaying because the road was so rural and wonky and someone behind me said, “Wow this is the best ride we rode all day” and someone else yelled, “put your hands up guys!” This group is awesome.

I will recap that part of the day more thoroughly when I do the park recaps, but I wanted to share some pictures from the town we’re staying in tonight. It’s about 25 minutes away from Kolmarden (which we will be returning to tomorrow morning for 2 hours) and SO CUTE! It’s only our second legit European style hotel on the trip so far (ie not a park resort, etc) and I am awash in nostalgia from my childhood European trips!

First though we had to get up to the rooms and it was a huge cluster being such an old hotel because there were only two elevators and everyone kept piling in and setting off the WEIGHT ALARM so then only 3 people could go up at a time. It was a whole thing so when it was finally our turn, Henry went in with Mark and someone else so Chooch and I pushed our luggage in with him and said we would just go and find the steps. Wow, that was an ordeal – super hard to find.

We tried taking the steps when we left our room to go exploring, but Chooch took us out the emergency exit and set off the fire alarm. One of the younger guys from our group, Hunter, joined us a floor or two down and we were like, “Um what is that sound?” and Henry was like HE SET OFF THE FIRE ALARM and we were like, “UM, AWKWARD” so we ducked into an elevator and pretended like it wasn’t us, lol.

Views from our room:

I love this cutie room!

Our nighttime stroll was really nice (Henry might have a different opinion lol). Chooch kept saying he was bored but I really thought this town was very quaint and beautiful. I had never heard of it before, so thank you Kolmarden for not budging on a group discount and forcing Tim to find a hotel offsite.

We walked to a nearby grocery store because I needed saline solution (didn’t have any) and the cashier was so nice and asking us where we’re from and what we think of it here. Honestly? Fucking love it. Sweden in general has been chef’s kiss. Of course I don’t love it as much as SK (as in, I haven’t imprinted with it) but I definitely fell in love with it and can see myself already being desperate to return, ugh.

I’m super attached to the people in our group though, even the ones that I never talked to, and I am not ready to say goodbye tomorrow night. I’m happy that it’s only the first half of our trip that’s ending, but sad that we’ll be on our own starting on Monday. And also sad that we’ll be leaving Sweden on Monday, too!

It is going to take me months to recap everything. I even have been trying to record more video this time too because that is one of the many things I regret about our SK trips – I took barely any video.

Of course we all still have at least one argument a day (usually food-related or because someone is gaslighting) but I am generally very happy with how things have gone so far and I know I have probably said these words 894x here, on Instagram, in my handwritten vacation journal, Twitter, or out loud to anyone who will listen, but I am so happy we took a chance and put our faith in Coaster Crew and maybe spent more than we could afford, but it has been worth it so much for this experience, friendships, and memories! I’m so happy but also ready to cry, lol.

Even the parts of the itinerary that didn’t go as planned because of weather or technical issues haven’t been enough to ruin the trip or even the day. Everything has been an adventure. NO REGERTZ.

(Look at me writing this like it’s the end of the chapter. Still one more full day with Coaster Crew left! And five more days with just the Oh Honestlys, trying not to get lost in Finland and Estonia.)

Aug 102023

Yooo, we arrived in Gothenburg last night around 9pm after about a 3 hour drive from Tusenfyrd in Norway.

Tim hooked us up bigly with three nights here at the Liseberg Grand Curiosa. I was actually really surprised when I saw that this is where we’d be staying because this is a brand new hotel and it is legit supreme. Actually, Tim has been hooking us up with every hotel so far – even when our “hotel” was the bus for one night – he went out of his way to make sure we were as comfortable as possible. Tim for President, honestly.

The Cure organized their own music festival one summer in 2004 and it was called Curiosa, so you know I love this place doubly.

Chooch’s private suite, lol.

I’m going to miss this hotel when we check out on Saturday, that’s for sure!

We all took showers since we were ripe after 8 hours at a park / 13 hour bus drive /8 more hours at another park / 3 more hours on the bus, and then headed up for a stroll around 10:30PM. Chooch and Henry were annoyed with me because I was being a crosswalk drill sergeant. Sorry but I don’t want to be Those People who jaywalk in another country!

We found a 24hour McDonald’s and decided to check it out. They had vegetarian and vegan options!! Chooch and I both got the McVegan.

Henry was being embarrassing with his ordering so we left him and went to get a table. Henry is literally the most embarrassing person even in other countries. Even just like, Canada. Embarrassing. South Korea was probably the worst though. Like when he would confuse “hello” and “thank you” and it didn’t even matter because he wasn’t saying any of them correctly anyway.

It was OK.

Right when we were finishing up, a whole group of the young “popular” guys from our group came in and I felt really bad for the McD’s employees at that point because this crew is wild and chaotic, lol. Some of them spotted us in the back and pointed and waved, so I waved back and of course Henry, who had his back to the door, was like “WHO IS IT??” because he always has to be part of everything. So then Chooch, Mr. “I Don’t Care About Anyone’s Names,” started rattling off the names of the people who walked in, ha.

Then we went to a convenience store for drinks. Literally one of the best parts of traveling!

We came back to the hotel around 11:30 and crashed. I cannot say enough how much fun this trip has been so far! Obviously the coasters are what we came for, but the people have made it so much better. I’m obsessed. I can’t believe I was so afraid that we wouldn’t make friends.

Anyway, we’re just chilling in our room after dinner, getting ready to back to Liseberg (our hotel is on park property) in a bit for more exploring, and then our ERT on Helix starts when the park closes at 11pm! I really wanted to do better at blogging while I’m here so I wouldn’t have a ton to post when I get home, but this is not working out very well because I have been so busy and then by the time we get to the hotel, I’m too tired to do anything but collapse! Not everyone’s idea of a vacation, but this is so my style. Gimme this over laying on a beach any day!

Aug 082023

Hello from a Tuesday evening on the bus! A lot has happened but in an effort to keep up with my micro-blogging of this trip, today’s small word bundle will be about Idiot Chooch’s 130 feet free fall on Sunday evening. Tivoli Friheden has a SCAD tower which I did know about going into this but didn’t really think much about it until that day when Tim said that it was included in the park admission for our group if anyone wanted to do it. Chooch was like, “what is it, I’ll do it” and I was like “oh great. I am so excited for my son to fall off a 50m tower into a fucking net, every mom’s dream.”

Love that the only thing he really has to say about it is that he hurt his knee again.

In “Now” news, we are in the midst of an itinerary shakeup. Starting yesterday, the weather has been real rainy and windy. Yesterday was mostly just a rain issue and luckily all the rides were open, but unforch, the forecast for the next several days were bad enough Re: wind that the ferries canceled their service so our ferry for Norway scheduled for tonight was canceled. When we got on the bus after Djurs last night, Tim broke the news to us and told us that we have two options: scrap Tusenfyrd, or drive 13 hours overnight by bus.

It was so dramatic and started to get semi-verbally hostile between some guys up on the top floor of the bus (where we are) and then some guys started shouting the pros of keeping Tusenfyrd and honestly I was in favor of the overnighter too because I want to go to Norway. Anyway, Tim had to walk around while everyone covertly showed him their vote on their phone and it felt like Survivor, like someone was getting voted off the bus. There was an overwhelming majority for OVERNIGHT so that is what’s happening and there are APPARENTLY at least two people who are very unhappy about this and are planning on leaving us in Copenhagen. (Yes, we were all the way super north in Denmark but have to drive all the way back to Copenhagen, get a new driver, cross the bridge to Sweden (which could be an issue depending on how windy it still is when we get there) drive up through Sweden to Tusenfyrd in Norway. Not the greatest but at least we’ll still get there.

Anyway, after we left todays park, Henry made some dumb joke to the bus driver about “can’t you maybe just fly us there? Maybe if we got some winged?” And it was SO UNCOMFY. i asked him to never do that again, his weird “flirting with another professional driver” voice, ugh. Then we stopped at IKEA so Tim could buy us pillows and everyone ate in the cafeteria.

Oh just 70 people unexpectedly storming IKEA 30 minutes before they closed. That was interesting. But it was so nice of Tim to get us pillows!!

Aug 062023

Hey guys! It’s Sunday and we’re on the bus leaving Copenhagen for the next destination. Yesterday was so much fun but exhausting. Here are some pictures of breakfast at the Tivoli Hotel and other assorted photos from the hotel. We sat with our new pal Pam! We met her on the first night at the hotel dinner and I felt so relieved because I was worried that I wouldn’t make any friends here! But it has been really great so far.

Anyway, on the bus yesterday, we mostly just listened to everyone around us talking until I heard someone behind us mention South Korea and T-Express. Chooch said he thought to himself, “Oh god, no.” I looked at Henry and said, “I’m going in!” Then I turned around in my seat and explained, “I LOVE T-EXPRESS!” The one guy was like “….” but the cooler guy was open to my insertion and we started talking for a bit so that was fun! Then this morning I saw the other guy who was like “….” and I said good morning! And he just looked at me and kept walking. Chooch started cracking up and I was like, “wow that hurt” lol. Most everyone else has been very welcoming though!

Anyway, I will post more thoroughly when I have time. This trip has been very go-go-go so far and I haven’t even read any of my book!!

Oh wait, here are also some pictures of our after dinner walk on Friday!

Christiansborg Palace:

Tivoli at night! We would spend the entire next evening there but this was a nice little sneak peek!

Ok, now I’m going to go back to being nebby on this bus ride. Justin is pummeling Josh with technical questions about ride attractions and it’s really interesting.

Aug 042023

Hello just checking in to say we made it to Copenhagen in case anyone is tracing us for nefarious reasons, now you know.

It was such a long and shitty travel day. I don’t know how I feel this city yet but I do know that I miss my cats, Air France is not great, and I am very cranky. I think I need to eat lots of vegetables.

Thank god tomorrow is the true start of this trip – two parks on tap! And we met the president of Coaster Club in the lobby and he is very nice so I feel a little more calm about this. Our group dinner is in 30 minutes though so we’ll see if there are any bestie candidates!