So my original plan was to post installments on alternate days, but it just dawned on me that if I do that, it will take me another two months to finish this. So we'll stick with daily for now.
Spain Trip Day Two: Parque de Atracciones
(I'm spelling that different every time, I think it's actually right this time) de Madrid, and Parque de Atracciones de Zaragoza.
We spent the first half of the day back at PdA (that needed acronymising) Madrid, this time with the whole group, then in the late afternoon headed over to Zaragoza for the evening and dinner, staying at a hotel in the area before travelling towards Barcelona the following day for our stay at Port Aventura.
Parque Madrid was another surprise for me, as were most of the parks. I'd read about and seen lots of pictures for Port Aventura and Parque Warner (most Brits will probably agree that Port Aventura tv advertising is almost saturating during summer), but most of the other Spain parks were unfamiliar to me, and for whatever reason my expectations weren't all that high, so a lot of them really impressed me.
I despised G-Force at Drayton, so Abismo ERT wasn't exactly something I was looking forward to, but it had turned out on Day Zero that it's a kick-ass coaster!! I still think that while you're waiting for the back of the train to finish up the lift, a little *too* much blood rushes to your head as you're hanging upside down, but it wasn't uncomfortable in the way G-Force was, and the airtime hill was amazing! The restraints also didn't seem quite as painful as Drayton's, though I'm still not a fan. Robb, Kristie, myself, and a bunch of others ended up getting stuck lying on our backs on the thing, and mine and Kristie's restraints ended up bruising our hipbones, I'm guessing ours being more prominent than the men's made us easy victims, but God it hurt. That's a minor complain though really, the coaster was really awesome and will likely be a permanent fixture on my favourites list.
I've ridden four of the Maurer Söhne spinning mice, each one beating the last. Tarantula was the third... So I guess it's my second favourite.
As always, weight distribution had a hell of a lot to do with what kind of ride you got, but even when all was pretty even and we didn't spin a huge amount, the coaster was still a lot of fun. This has to be one of the coasters on the trip I re-rode the most, which is always a good sign, as I'm not big on re-rides and even during an hours' ERT will quite often move onto something else a little over halfway through.
I warned you there'd be coasters where I just went "yeah, I don't remember".
Tornado is one of them. I remember waiting in line for it, I remember where I sat, but I recall barely anything about the ride except that I felt it had a severe lack of supports and desperately needed more structure to it. [/sarcasm] I guess my lack of memory probably means I neither loved nor hated it. I only rode once, as far as I recall.
Other stuff.... The Small World rip-off which portrays Americans as cheeseburger-eating Statues-of-Liberty, Brits as Beefeater-hat-wearing people in red phoneboxes, and French people as prostitutes. A Ghetto Jungle Cruise with REALLY politically-incorrect tribesmen, and British explorers shouting "You dirty bastard!" while trying to climb up trees.... And Desperado. Which I can't explain except to say that you are NOT meant to shoot at your number, and you may be turned into a donkey if you do badly. I've now ridden this ride in Spanish and in Japanese... Some day I'll get to an English one and figure out what the hell the awesome moustachioed guy is saying to me.
Enough rambling, sorry! No doubt I'll ramble more when people jump in and remind me of things later! Pictures!
Early on at Parque Madrid, Kristen was doing this incredibly cute smile that I tried to photograph, but I wasn't quick enough and ended up with this shot instead. Incredibly cute, but my GOD it's freakish how much she looks like Robb here!
We were really early (I'm not complaining, way better early than late and we can always entertain ourselves), so I took a couple of arty shots while we were waiting for Tarantula to open for our ERT. I'm a big fan of reflections. The face is Kyle's, pictured in the glasses are myself, Jon, Chadlyr, Dave, Hector, Tomi and Ed.
I enjoyed watching Ron and Kyle bond this day over similar hobbies. I always enjoyed watching Ron show off how flexible he is! Amazing. I still say he's a twelve year old Romanian girl masquerading as a 30-something Californian guy.
I include this photo only as an example of why I don't take coaster shots. Ever.
I decided the flume had gotten me wet enough two days prior, and stood and watched the boys ride. Standing and watching them drag along in a tunnel and Hector get DRENCHED by a timed waterfall.... Funniest moment of my life so far, I swear. We all nearly wet ourselves laughing.
I guess Ron didn't hear me shouting for attention!
Perfecting the art of the stalker-shot. Kyle >>>>> anybody else.
If you think Miles is having fun *now*, you should see him in a few minutes when he and Jon, umm.... "collide".
This kids ride was like.... Well, don't ride it if you value your external genetalia. Serious pain, even for me. I still laughed at all the guys though.
I think this was the moment that Jon lost a vital part of his body.
*sings* Why don't you come to your senses....
AWESOME Frisbee!! Jon very kindly played photographer for me again, and caught a few great expressions on our faces! That's me, Ed and Dave in the green, red and blue respectively. As soon as Dave started laughing, I was off too. Much fun ride. Glad we did this instead of clapping on the top spin.
Ah yes, the shooting dark ride that scared the crap out of me every single time. Dave here is showing that TPDave in fact stands for "Total Pimp", and not "Thorpe Park" as everybody previously thought.
Aaaaaaaand onto Zaragoza. Thanks for your patience if you're still with me.
Zaragoza have three coasters: random kiddie mine train (with slightly dubious restrain in the backseat!), a non-looping Pinfari where I stupidly bruised my hand and which was damn terrifying riding with "the Brits" after dark, and Ramses, which is bizarrely fun. All you do is swing back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, like a pirate ship on tracks, and yet it's amazingly entertaining. I have a theory that it's all about the seating, rides where you sit face to face and can see other peoples' reactions always seem to end of being all kinds of fun. As well as all that, the park had a *fast* and pretty decent (but unthemed) rapids ride (and they let us put 12 people in a boat!), a fun house, a HYSTERICAL mirror maze (can't wait to see video footage from that), a not-too-scary-but-very-dark ghost train, and.... BOUNCY BOUNCY.
(Bouncy Bouncy deserves its own paragraph.) The ride is actually named Quetzal, but to me, will forever be Bouncy Bouncy. I still have no idea what the actual model is, or who makes it, but that thing is still by far the most fun I've ever had on an attraction, and I doubt I've ever laughed so hard in my life. We rode another one in Korea but it was lame compared to the Zaragoza one. All I know is that something about the motion of that thing just cracks me up, and I couldn't stop laughing, especially the second time riding with Miles and Dave (Lawrence), whose laugh is so infectious that I literally cried on the ride.
The only other thing that really needs mentioning is the AWESOME treatment we recieved from the park. A lot of us talked afterwards and said it's the parks that go out of their way for you that you remember, not necessarily the "best" parks, and that's definitely true of Zaragoza, so if anybody from the park happens to read this, THANK YOU!! We were warmly greeted, chatted to by the staff, we expected a quick snack buffet-style but were given a three-course banquet, plenty of wine, and beautiful table settings, and to top it all off they threw in some goodies for Robb and Elissa to give out in trivia contests and the like on the bus. They even went so far as to arrange a pizza for a vegetarian member of our group who couldn't eat the food they provided. Great people who definitely made that park one of the most memorable of the trip.
The drive to Zaragoza. So much of Spain is like this, so arid and plain, yet strangely beautiful!
Hector looks hot even when he's blurred.
I love this picture. Miles and Ron both lipsynching along to their own iPods. I spent half the journey trying to read lips and figure out what they were listening to.
I ADORE windfarms and was thrilled to see they were everywhere in Spain.
The lovely tables they had set up for our meal.
Hector and I improvised placecards with our nametags. Notice the monogrammed crockery, clearly the park knows what they're doing with this!
Dave had REALLY demolished his meat.
Panthers + wine = Recipe for success!!
I actually like this picture not because it's a good one of me but because Hector is stealing the freaking show as usual!!!
Larry managed to polish off not one but *two* desserts!
The mirror maze contained not only mirrored walls but also walls of clear glass.... Cue Dave, Robb, myself, and pretty much everybody else, walking into not only each other and our own reflections, but also clear panes. Hilarity ensues.
Literally a millisecond after this picture was taken, Robb's face made a rather loud smashing noise against the glass.
"Are you real?!?!"
We're smug cos we made it out while the others were still lost inside. Credit to Chadlyr for getting Jon and I out in one piece!!
Kyle and I are pussies. I think he was genuinely scared on this one, and I was more than a little creeped out.
And I leave you with this it-would-be-brilliant-if-it-wasn't-so-blurry picture of Hector and Dave.
Thanks for reading!