If I’d be four, I’d be hanging on to my Mommy’s skirt demanding to see Lotte – just like the hundreds of kids in the opening day line to enter Lotte Village – and to find out if it is all by the movie, or the book. Well, is it?
Annabel (7, soon) shyly nods. The small light headed girlie is sitting next to Lotte’s Dad Oskar – Gadgetville’s very best inventor – and is busy assembling a nice model car. «Just took ‘em a few seconds,» smilingly comments Annabel’s Mom Ethel, snapping a few pictures.
Ethel, from Tallinn, thinks Lotte Village is actually better than Moomin World, in Finland. «It’s better as one can get inside of everything and the kids can touch everything,» she explains. Ethel says it’s nice for a grown-up to walk around the place, but it is mainly for the children to explore.
Lots of Latvians around, on opening day. Marketing manager Jorgen Sumin says they will obviously need to find some Latvian speaking guides.
Make melody, everybody
All the way from central Latvia, Iecava, here we have Ineta Malinovska with the daughter, Meldra. In mid-day, they are yet to try it all. While claiming as one: super!
The girl most liked the House of Bruno (a friend of Lotte’s) where she could try all kinds of musical instruments. Earlier, the Latvians have been to see sites like the Astrid Lindgren Museum in Stockholm – a bit different from Lottemaa, but also worth the trip.
From the House of Bruno, jolly sounds keep coming all day long. Relika Grünberg, a girl from Pärnu County, does like the house a whole lot as it opened up the world of instruments for his little brother of four. Relika thinks the place is quite like the cartoons. «And so comfortable, to go from one house to the other,» she stated while also lavishing praise on the House of Lotte, full of stuff to discover.
The House of Lotte does seem to be the kids’ favourite No 2. Still smelling of fresh paint, it does look lovely with its high ceilings and cute-as-ever details such as the carrot-curtains and daisy-hangers.
In the House of Lotte, the kitchen is painted all pink. Even the fridge. And it all looks so real that one feels like Alice AWOL from Wonderland, ending up in another fairytale. Okay, sweeping off the childhood emotions, I’m headed on to find the main heroine.
Which isn’t easy as Lotte keeps playing hide-an-seek with some two dozen kids no less. Who squeal with delight once they happen to spot the edge of her red dress. «If a kid smiles, so do we,» buzzes Jaak the Fly and claims it’s a piece of cake to manage the children.
The little ones seem to like the Lottemaa folks as they keep running up to this one and the other, slapping them high five, shooting a picture or just having a good ole chat. Some who are really small shy around a bit, at first. But the soon seem to melt and get going.
Soon it becomes apparent that the fans aren’t limited to kids. «And who is that old dog?» asks a mother from her son, in front of House of Giovanni. Ere the boy gets his mouth open to offer a response, a man in his forties who happens to stand close by jumps in to explain: «This is Klaus, he is like that.»
Awakened by ovations
Klaus, the elderly travelling dog, makes many a visitor smile. Part of the programme, he tells of his journeys in a small amphitheatre-like arena and vows to fall asleep as soon as this is over.
«I ought to take a nap, not a slap,» he merrily meditates. Then asking the audience which teddy bear he ought to use, Pooh or Hoof? But kids and grownups just can’t stop giggling and applauding. «Don’t you clap so loud, the nap’s endangered now,» Klaus tries to sound strict.
Whoever happens to find himself hungry after all the tales, pancakes are on offer at House of Mamma, or Lotte Cafe. An ice-cream will set you back some two euros, average. An exclusive in-Lottemaa-only Latvian Kārums kohuke is €0.70, thank you. And then there are the soups, salads, and all kinds of dishes actually.
But when it happens to the little ones after the order of Klaus – sleepiness... – the train station is waiting. Green trains are at hand, to take tired fans to the parking lot almost a kilometre away – to the family vehicles ready for a ride home.