We drove up early because we'd agreed to a Friday troop. Starting earlier = way more fun in my books so after manic packing and a few moments of omgdowehaveeverything we were off.
It takes us around 3.5 hours to drive to Billund so not long at all and I'm always struck by the fact that we suddenly go from one country to another with only a sign to let us know this has happened. No customs, no border guards, no TSA like goons, nothing just a road, a sign and a different language and oh yeah a speed limit.
I was finishing the hand sewing on the last of the hats I promised I would make ( imperial officer hats) so that kept me busy but other than that the trip was uneventful and nice.
|Driving to Billund!|
Legoland is huge. But we did this last year so this year we knew the ropes. We arrived at the camping place and were met by the other early birds. It's a glorious feeling to be welcomed with hugs and smiles by people, that in reality, one barely knows but through facebook and forums has a great friendship with.
We got our key, dumped our stuff, some hats were quickly nabbed and then eventually we got dressed and went to troop in the park on a Friday. Glorious and then it started to rain - typical.
Once we got back from the troop we dried off, changed and then kinda of partied for a bit then settled down with our cabin mates and friends to play star wars trivial pursuit. I have not laughed so hard in ages. And it amazes me how people I really only barely know could feel like such close comrades and freinds, almost family. But trooping is hard work and we all put so much time and effort into our costumes that it bonds us together. We're all there for one purpose and that's to troop and bring smiles to the faces of kids and parents alike. There are no big awards, no payments, no real hierarchy there are just smiles and a lot of very cool pictures.
|Andrew and the pink cap of awesomeness. ( he didn't win though)|
We stayed up quite late but not too late and the next day it was go go go. We all had breakfast like last year in the main legoland cantina and then it was off to the changing tent which this year was in a different location. Big downer was the dirt floor. We all have to change costumes and a dirt floor + rain even with a tent = unhappy people. Someone found dry cardboard boxes later on in the day and that helped but next year I hope this idea changes to something more suitable.
This year Jake Lloyd was there as a guest and this changed things around a bit with the parade being bumped up and too much standing around. But still cool. Once we had done the parade through the park it was troop time for me and my squad.
We had a lot of fun but it was incredibly crowded on Sat afternoon and our supporter was new and had some problems wrangling crowd and us. ( In full mask costume especially as a tusken you see NOTHING) He kept wanting to go back but I said no. We found a place to park and let people come to us for pictures then after that we headed back to the change tent.
I had a lot of fun with my Tusken husband this year. ( did last year too but different guy) We play to the crowd, we pretend to be curious about stuff the parents have on them especially if the kids are a little nervous because it makes them laugh. This year I got my 1st kid hug. Seriously a kid ran up to Sigge and I and hugged us both fiercely. Who the hell hugs tusken raiders? It was a teary moment for me. This is the main thing that really sticks out when you do this star wars 501st troop stuff. The absolute love for the characters that people have, it's almost overwhelming at times. On Sunday a little girl gave me her blankie which I took, hugged then gave back. Another awwwwww moment.
Saturday afternoon we paraded again, big parade all the members there and lots of people in the park, huge thing. We parked it by the big stage for photos and then it was off duty. Change and dinner.
|Dinner and speeches.|
It's a buffet style meal we pre pay for and it's well worth every cent/ Kroner. Once drink orders are taken and food is eaten come the speeches which are always fun and some things are given out, also always cool and then slowly people head back to camp to party. We had a fun time just walking back to the huts. You don't have to be nuts to be a 501st member but it seriously adds to the fun.
The party went on a long time. This time in difference to my usual habits I stayed up really late chatting with a really good friend and getting to know more people. I floated about, partook in the ritual of Salmiaki and for the first time in a long time felt very comfortable and happy just being apart of something big without any mass politics - yes they are there but not for me. I really like the fact that this is many countries worth of people all hanging out and having fun. Next morning ( hut 46) we were ALL late and it was freaking pouring. Good that Marcus and I brought along two really huge umbrellas.
Sunday's troop was a lot more low key, people were tired and the weather was crappy. Cold and rainy is so typical for Billund that this year I actually made waterproof tusken boots which is very ironic all things considered. In the morning before parade and troop I had a few moments of free time so the Dutch garrison guys decided that Thomas, Sigge and I should go on the blizzard express with them. I have not been on any sort of a roller coaster in years I can't handle the G-forces any more. But this was all good! In fact I enjoyed it so much I went a 2nd time! ( yay us)
|The dutch try to kill me with a roller-coaster|
Parade and then trooping and then a very short break then more trooping then another parade. It was almost too much. Both days our squad was scheduled with parade the direct troop so both days we missed lunch. Luckily someone made sure there was food when we returned but still. I think we should actually have a proper 1/2 hour lunch break after the parade. It would help a bit with the feeling of go go go and also make sure everyone eats. These are just some minor suggestions for making it better next year. After the last parade everyone who is still there packs up and goes home and it's a bit weird as we all sort of dribble away. Luckily for us our very good friends from the Swiss garrison were staying with us for a few days so our event / troop feeling lasts longer and the comedown is not so hard but still, wiped out and a little down it's taken me ages to get this post up.
I could say so much more, tell so any more stories but that would mean writing a book so for the rest of the pictures you can go here. legoland 2012