In an effort to stop my last few readers from falling asleep, I thought it would be fun to do today's reports in the form of "a day in the life". Today is a very full and immensely exciting day, so this format should work well.
6:50am : I woke up a full ten minutes before my alarm, and after a thoroughly luxurious 5.5 hours sleep. I really needed it too, after three nights in a row where we only got like 4 hours, last night I was trying to hold a conversation with Lou, Renee and Derek but I started nodding off mid-sentence. After a shower and packing, I felt refreshed and ready to take on this monster of a day.
7:30am : Larry and I heading down to breakfast, which is included at the hotel. The breakfast is a massive buffet, with potatoes, eggs, bacon, sausage, fruit, about 43 different types of juices, cereal, yogurt, etc. It's a spectacular display, and the food is really good. We were fortunate enough to have two nights at this hotel, so this was the second morning with such great food.
8:00am : The entire group met in the lobby to prepare to head to the park. By 8:15 we were on the monorail (which the park ran just for us). The monorail is fun, and you get a great view of all the rides and gardens. The music is unbelievably sad though, and we talked about a movie scene for which it might be more fitting; the an old man is sitting by his wife's bed, moments after she passes away. As the music plays, the man sees flashbacks of their life: things like their first date (a picnic in a park), wedding scenes, holding first baby, and finding a precious nicknack in a store, etc. It was a short ride, but by the time we got off we were all quite emotional.
8:30am : Exclusive Ride Time begins on EuroSat, the crazy indoor coaster that also has techno. As a special treat for ERT, the park turned on all the lights for us. Really fun riding these dark coasters with the lights on, and I got to checkout the crazy spinning lift-hill (the same system that is used on Euro Mir). It's a remarkably simple and very elegant system, plus it can really turn the lift into an actively fun part of the ride (as is done on this and especially Euro Mir). Dave and Hans, with Ryan in row two.
Derek, Piers, and Lou are taking a quick rest while we wait for the last few people to finish their final rides in EuroSat.
8:50am : The park, obviously not content with being utterly amazing, walks us all over to Silver Star so we can get a few rinds in before the unwashed masses arrive. As I mentioned yesterday, I had not heard good things about this ride; but it was fabulous. Even first thing in the morning it was running insanely well, and we even got one ride that was completely brakeless! At the exit for Silver Star are these entertaining "spinning things", which Dave is enjoying far too much..
9:00am : the park is now open to the public, and we are all relegated back to just being normal boring members of the public. Oh the horror! Actually that's not quite true because while every guest is running to their favorite coaster, we went straight for the Circus Parade car ride. This ride is made for kids, and is adorably cute; you sit in these little cars and are ridden past various circus scenes. Despite the fact that the tiny cars are made for little kids, we still managed to cram four adults in there.. (From top left: Lou, Larry, Cameron and Renee)
Europa Park strives to make their rides a little different. I have already gone on and on about Euro Mir, Blue Fire and the water rides, but here they have some bumper cars with a giant ball (it's in an area themed to soccer).
Blue Fire was amazing, as was Silver Star and most if the rest of the attractions at the park, but there will always be a very special place in my sentimental little heart for Euro Mir. We of course ride it again this morning and it was just as amazing as ever .. As I type this up it's been over 2 hours since we rode, yet the music is still stuck in my head: Dada Da DAH!
Our on-ride photo from Euro Mir, apparently I was very surprised to see Lou sitting there next to me!
An impromptu game of tag broke out between Lou and Steve .. I will leave out the gory details behind it as it is slightly gross (it does involves pus)..
10:30am : back at the hotel to checkout and board the busses. We have new busses and drivers starting today, and the checkout process always takes a while, but by 11am we were on the road.
12:30pm : as I type this, Renee just handed me one of her headphones. I admit that I was a bit hesitant to listen as it could be some crappy "young person" music, but no .. It was better than I could have ever imagined ... It was the Euro Mir song!!!! <3 <3 <3 <3
This last day and a half at Europa Park has been so great. Even hearing nothing but awesome comments about the park, there is no way I could have imagined just how good it would be. The range and quality of rides is un-matched, even by Disney; and things like Euro Mir and Blue Fire just make it all that much more special. Even though I literally can't contain my excitement for the German Fair, I am really sad to leave Europa. I'll be back .. 40th birthday perhaps??
1:30pm : The bus is racing down the autobahn, and Lou and I are watching "The IT Crowd". Technology is so awesome! We are traveling though some fantastic little German towns, and the countryside is really pretty; there are even some wind turbines <3
2:30pm : Morgan does an amazing TPR rap, which had us all laughing hysterically. He first did a song on the 2007 mini-Europe trip, which I wasn't on, but I have heard very good things about it. This new one lived up to the hype of the original, and was extremely enjoyable (especially since we hit traffic, and were all a little grumpy).
3:15pm : We arrive in the awesome little town of Würzburg, and the amazing looking German fair. TPR organized an entire hour exclusive ride time on the legendary Olympia Looping:
This *portable* roller coaster has been thrilling people at fairs all over Germany for over 20 years. Having this fair coincide with our trip is like falling back in time to the 70s and seeing the Rolling Stones play in a small pub in the UK. Calling this legendary is a complete understatement, it's an utter masterpiece. Designed by the genius Anton Schwarzkopf, this coaster is super smooth, extremely fast, and brain-meltingly intense - I loved it! I'm not ashamed to admit that I fell right back into my extreme coaster-nerd persona, and rode over and over and over again - at least 10 rides, probably close to 15. It absolutely lived up to the hype. The amazing coasters I've ridden in the last two days (even just today) is staggering.
This coaster truly is portable too, and it has spent it's life traveling the German fairs. Every piece is numbered, and it takes several days to construct and dismantle. There have been many traveling coasters before and since, but this one is the undisputed king. If all that isn't enough, while riding we got a view of a stunning medieval German town:
5:00pm : ERT ends and we walk over to the Biergarten for liter mugs of Würzburger Hofbräu, which has been especially brewed just for the fair and isn't available anywhere else. It was great, complete with the beer wenches delving armloads of mugs to the table. I also ordered Festwursts with sauerkraut; Guten Appetit and Prosit!
Myself, Renee and Larry all enjoy a mug of beer..
6:00pm : If riding the absolutely amazing Schwarzkopf coaster in the German fair in the picturesque town isn't enough, it was also the opening day! As a result we were privileged to see the ceremonious tapping of the first keg - even the mayor of the town showed up for the festivities. This was simply an unbelievable spectacle to witness in person..
Once tapped, you could line up for a mug poured from this very special keg. Not a whole liter of course, but it is free! Brad is very proud of it..
A game was set up where you could attempt to ring a bell at the top of this pole, and win a free liter of beer. This was fantastic to watch, and I wonder how The Climbers would do with such a challenge?! No holds obviously, but there was belay. A few people in our group attempted this, including Larry.
I saw two people succeed at ringing this bell, this is one of them. He scaled the pole insanely quickly, the entire place was stunned and then applauded loudly.
I mentioned earlier that it was mohawk day, and Lou was our Mohawk Queen. She did around 12 mohawks after dinner, including this weird Australian guy... (before and after - neither look too good)
7:00pm : The madness continued in the food tent, with a band playing such greats as Blues Brothers, Cotton Eyed Joe, Ring Of Fire and the Benny Hill theme (I wanted to chase Lou around the tent in fast-motion, but her bikini was locked in the bus.. Boo!) However it was time to explore the fair (which had since opened). Since there is no notion of a wristband at these fairs, we were each given €20 to spend however we wanted. First up was the Ghost Train .. This was awesome! The lady collecting tickets was dressed as a which, and aside from the usual fun ghost-train tricks they also had two live actors! It really was unbelievable fun.
Just down the way was the Psychedelic House, which was also seriously fun. They hand you funky glasses (which make the light sparkle), and you walk though this maze full of flashing lights, YMCA, and a rolling room. We were laughing and dancing and just having such a good time
Myself, Renee and Larry after the Psychedelic House:
We also played many games, including the horse racing game and this fantastic thing called "time bingo". It's very similar to Fascination at Indiana Beach (and other parks) where you roll a ball into holes in an attempt to light a line of 5 lights (vertical, horizontal or diagonal). You only have about two minutes though! If you succeed, then a bunch of plastic tokens come rolling down the glass (like the Safe Cracker pinball machine!).
Larry won some bubbles, Renee a cute stuffed giraffe, and myself a wristband in the colours of the German flag. Hot stuff!
This report doesn't even come close to describing the awesomeness that was today. We had Europa Park in the morning, and the fair in the evening. I've been really interested in these fairs, and especially Olympia Looping, for close to 10 years; and I'm just so thrilled to have had chance to experience it - on opening day no-less!
9:00pm : But unfortunately time passes, and we had to return to the bus. We have a three hour drive to the next hotel, but spirits are high (liter mugs of beer tend to do that!). I woke up this morning before 7am, and will not sleep until at least 1am; but close to every minute of today was more full of fun and laughter than a pomegranate is of pits.
Up next: Phantasialand!