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WHERE THEY WENT

From Volvo to Legos to au pairs

Email|Print| Text size + By Diane Daniel
Globe Correspondent / November 26, 2006

WHO: Linda Chin Workman , 46, Tom Workman , 58, of Cambridge, and their children Anna, 10, and twins Caroline and Max, 6

WHERE: Sweden and Denmark

WHEN: Two weeks in July

WHY: "Picking up a Volvo was one of the guiding forces," Linda Chin Workman said. "And we wanted to take our kids abroad. For them, getting the passports was as exciting as the trip. And our last two au pairs were from Sweden and we wanted to visit."

YOUR CAR IS READY: "A lot of people don't know about the Volvo overseas program," Workman said. "You save a lot of money because you don't pay the dealers and overhead. . . . Volvo gives you two airline tickets and a hotel for two nights." They took a factory tour when they picked up the car in Gothenburg, and then used it to tour Sweden and Denmark. Volvo then shipped the car to their local dealer.

LEGO-DRIVEN: The ferry ride to Denmark was a nice surprise, Workman said. " They gave the kids coloring books and juggling balls, and there was a playroom on board." They first headed to Legoland. "They have all these miniature buildings [made of] Legos, like the White House and Taj Mahal. The kids went to Lego driving school, which they thought was a blast. They're in Lego cars and follow traffic signs. The teachers are from a lot of different countries, so it was a bit of a cultural exchange, too."

TASTE-TESTED: They spent a day in Copenhagen, where Tom Workman had lived for several months in the 1970s, and toured Tivoli, the famed amusement park and gardens; visited the Little Mermaid statue in the harbor; and took a canal boat ride.

PAIRED UP: The family returned to Sweden on the five-mile Oresund Bridge , a cable-stay span that opened in 2000. Linnea, one former au pair , took them to her father's house in the fishing village of Simrishamn. He runs a popular restaurant there called Mans Byckare. They then drove north to visit Maria, the other au pair, at her family's lake house near Granna, known for its peppermint stick factory. "Seeing how the baby sitters lived at home was nice for the kids," Workman said.

RIVER RAFTING: From a guidebook, Workman learned about Vildmark i Värmland, an outfitter that helps people build log rafts and takes them on trips down the Klaralven River. "We built a raft out of 60 nine-foot logs and rope," Workman said. "You haul the logs into the water, line them up and make the raft, which weighed about 2,000 pounds. They have trips that go out for a week, but we just did a day trip. We built the raft in the morning and floated in the afternoon . The kids were thrilled. It's not a long journey but it's really transporting."

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