Out in the car park near our house, we were waiting with bated breath but rather puzzled expressions as Alex drove up in the Green Lightning (my Suzuki Wagon R+).
He’d borrowed her the day before and we were expecting to jump straight in and set off south for Bonbon-land, picking up Zachary in Copenhagen on the way past.
We were expecting to see Alex appear round the corner, all smiles. We weren’t expecting to hear him coming ten minutes before we saw him. Or smell a really nasty smell that settled in the air as he parked in front of us.
We certainly hadn’t factored in a visit to Furesø Auto, our local garage. But something mysterious was hanging down under the car, and that’s where our fun day out started.
Sure enough, the hot exhaust pipe had broken off. One end was dragging low, the other had tipped up and was melting its way steadily through the plastic bumper at the back. “I can fit you in tomorrow,” the friendly mechanic said.
But when he heard our long-planned trip to Bonbon-land was in jeopardy, he grabbed his welding gear and fixed it for us in less than an hour. What a hero! And off we went …
Risqué rides for risk-takers
We’d been to Bonbon-land years ago and couldn’t wait to revisit the enormous 130,000 sqm outdoor playground with its towering water slides and massive turtle swing-and-roundabout rolled into one. Though I should warn you … it’s a bit rude in places.
Some of the animal figures decorating the rides are rather risqué. Instead of cowgirls in the Wild West main street, you may find a girl cow that is slightly more raunchy than ranchy!
But kids hardly notice. They’re too busy panning for gold or gunning for blood in the cinema shoot-out. Alex won that hands-down. Or hands-up? I found out afterwards that I was shooting other people’s bullets, not the targets, so that explained a lot.
Just like dog poo
So why the naughty names? Bonbon-land was originally based on a range of naughty-but-nice sweets produced at a factory in nearby Næstved. The owner was testing some new boiled sweets that happened to be brown. His son walked past and exclaimed: “They look like dog poos”. They did. And the idea took off from there.
But don’t worry, the packets of dog poos you can buy in the vast sweetie shop near the exit at Bonbon-Land bear no resemblance at all to the black plastic parcels occasionally found discarded in bushes by inconsiderate dog owners.
Since then, the sweet production has moved but more rides with funny names, many of them based on animals, are continuously being added at Bonbon-land. That’s why sewer rats grin, seagulls hover waiting to strike, and just about everywhere you look, you’ll catch sight of odd little creatures dancing and twirling, powered by the various rides and rollercoasters.
From droppings to drops
We liked the beaver rafting best. Hop in the round boat, hold on tight and shiver with excitement as the game of Russian roulette begins. Who will get splashed next as you inexorably drift on the current from one water feature to another: drips, drops, squirts and squeals.
The Cobra Tower features a drop of a different kind that is only for the staunch-hearted. Being lily-livered landlubbers at heart, the highpoint of our visit was about 15 metres up … and then down a huge slide in an inflatable boat.
I’m not sure whether having a pear-shaped rear in a round-ended boat was the problem, but I seemed to be the only one with a decidedly wet bum at the bottom, or bottom at the end, however you’d like to put it. My dress dried quickly though.
If you’ve got kids or grandmas along who are bothered by a bit of damp, then you’d better wear waterproofs or take along some spare clothing. You can always rent a cart for carrying stuff – and it’s a good excuse to say that you have to watch the cart if there’s a ride that’s beyond your comfort zone.
Howls of Halloween fun
We had great fun (at helendyrbye.blogspot.com you can see more photos and next week see how to make sweets of your own). Naturally enough, the season is coming to an end for this year… but you can still catch Bonbon-land open for business from 09.00-16.00 on 4-5 October and all through the autumn school holiday from 11-19 October, when it’s holding a Halloween week of tricks and treats.
Buy admission tickets online and save up to 40 percent. Once you get inside, all the rides are free. Be aware that the rides shut down an hour before closing time and there are some minimum height requirements on some rides for safety reasons.
Gartnervej 2, Holmegaard; open Oct 4-5 & 11-19, 09:00-16:00; email@example.com, 5553 0700; bonbonland.dk
Hørmarken 8, Farum; 4499 7381
Helen Dyrbye is a published author, translator and former scout leader from East Anglia in England who relocated to Denmark a long time ago and loves it here as much as ‘back home’.