My dad spends a lot of time worrying, mostly about serious stuff like electricity bills, food prices and who’s going to win at the trotting track. He worries about me too, although he never says so.
Last week Dad and I went on the train to a place called Östergötland. I’d been looking forward to it for ages. There’s never any peace and quiet at Dad’s place because the new baby does nothing but cry and my stepmum quarrels with my stepbrother all the time. Now it was just me and Dad on our own for three whole days. We were going to sleep out in the middle of the forest in the best tent I’ve ever seen, surrounded by dangerous wilderness and with only each other for protection. At night when Dad had fallen asleep, I crept out to keep watch outside the tent, with my pocket light held high like the flaming torches you see in films. Suddenly I heard something moving among the trees, so I turned my light towards the sound, and I swear I saw a pair of yellow eyes gleaming out there. My heart was thudding so loudly that it felt as though the ground was vibrating, but I refused to be scared. They can smell fear, you know. My big cousin told me that.
I must have fallen asleep in the end because, the next thing I knew, the sun was in my eyes – we’d survived our first night! The second day it rained a bit, but it didn’t really matter because we headed into a town called Linköping, where we found tons of exciting things. First, we went to a place with lots of fighter planes and big helicopters. My expert eye quickly found a suitable plane, and, after a few contortions, we both managed to get into the cockpit. I took command and started the plane with no problem, and soon we were flying high among the clouds with the world at our feet. Suddenly a terrible storm came in, and the rain was lashing on the windscreen. Dad was moaning loudly next to me, but I kept a steady course and got us back on the ground with no problem. Then we ate pancakes with extra cream, and I got to buy a souvenir in the shop. After Dad had downed two cups of coffee, we continued on our way and found ourselves at LasseMaja’s Detective Agency (JerryMaya's Detective Agency). They needed help to solve a tricky train mystery, and I signed us up as volunteers straightaway. Dad was rubbish and didn’t get it at all, as usual, but I worked out all the clues and solved the mystery in no time. I know I’d be a brilliant detective and solve perplexing crimes just like those two chaps in Dad’s book that he read me once last winter. The ones with funny hats and difficult names.
Next day we rented a car and drove a long, long way on winding roads. I had butterflies in my tummy cos I knew we’d soon be face to face with danger, perhaps the biggest adventure of the whole trip. After Dad had parked the car, we started walking up a steep slope and in through a big gate. There were tall trees and, in the distance, we could hear lions roaring and elephants trumpeting. I took Dad’s hand so he wouldn’t be scared. We saw monkeys, giraffes and zebras, but the tigers were probably the best of all. We got so close that I could count their stripes and feel their warm breath. I think I’ll ask Mum for a meerkat for my birthday. Or perhaps a red panda. If I ask for a tiger, she’ll lose it completely.
On the last evening, we lay in the tent and whispered ghost stories by torchlight until Dad fell asleep against my shoulder. The trees were rustling outside, and I thought how much I wanted to tell my best mates about everything Dad and I had discovered in Östergötland. But they probably wouldn’t get it anyway. Not really.
- Flygvapenmuseum (Swedish Air Force Museum)
- Vadstena slott (Vadstena Castle)
- Friluftsmuseet Gamla Linköping (Gamla (old) Linköping Open-Air Museum)
- LasseMajas Deckarhus (JerryMaya's Detective Agency)
- Astrid Lindgrens Värld (Astrid Lindgren’s World)
- Visualiseringscenter C
- Östergötlands museum
- Arbetets Museum (museum of Work)
- Smultronstället glassrestaurang (Smultronstället ice cream restaurant)
- Trollegater grottor (Trollegater caves)
- Naturum Tåkern
- Motala motormuseum
- Tropicarium Kolmården
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