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Photo TR: Larrygator returns to Europe with TPR

PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:03 pm
by larrygator
First off a big thank you to Robb and Elissa handling the schedule and logistics. When this trip was announced I knew I would be adding a couple of days, and the amount of work that went into just planning three days in Belgium on my own was painstaking. So before I join TPR in Amsterdam I had 3 days in Belgium. Why Belgium? It has beautiful cities to explore, great chocolate and lambic beer, in addition to explore and two amusement parks I had not visited before. I decided to base camp in Ghent and buy a rail pass for my adventures, since my main concern was not having to deal with carrying my luggage every day.

I was prepared for a lot of walking on the trip, but did not account for the added pressure of walking on cobblestones and uneven surfaces throughout the trip.

July 13th - Walibi Belgium (below)/Ghent
July 14th - Bellewaerde
July 15th - Plopsa de Panne/Bruges
July 16th - travel to Amsterdam
July 17th - Bobbejaanland
July 18th/19th - Efteling
July 20th - Toverland
July 21st - Walibi Holland
July 22nd - Dreivliet/Duinrell
July 23th - Energylandia
July 24th - Legendia
July 25th - Krakow
July 26th - Liseberg
July 27th - Kolmarden
July 28th - Grona Lund

I had mapped out a schedule to be at Walibi Belgium at opening. However, I ended up in an insane Customs line and then had to head to Brussels Midi train station to store for luggage before I was off to Walibi Belgium. As I was on the train platform I realized my camera was in my luggage in storage. Since I was already running late, I did not want to miss the train to Walibi, so this first park of the trip in my Photo TR, will just be a TR.

I arrived at Walibi Belguim about an hour after opening to light crowds and a light rain. I decided to do a lap around the park to get the new credits that have been been since my last visit. Tiki-Waka was first and is probably the weakest Bobsled Coaster that Gerstlauer has built to date. After Fun Pilot, I took my chances that Pulsar would not get me too wet. I was fun and I stayed dry and this allowed my to enjoy what Walibi Belgium does best, indoor attractions.

I rode Psyke Underground about 5 times, because what's betters than a shuttle loop in a box. I rode Curse of Tutankhamon with a short 15 minute wait (much better than the one hour wait on my last visit) because what can be better than a trackless shooting dark ride. So I walked back on it too more times throughout the day.

Since I love Mad Houses, I had to reride le Palais du Genie, I forgot that the pre-show has some cool visuals. particularly the spiral staircase. But the highlight of the park turned out to be the ride I was most anticipating, Popcorn's Revenge. A second trackless shooting dark ride at the park. In this Bollywood themed theatre you use your gun as a utensil to shoot colored flavoring on to popcorn. I lived this ride cycling through the queue about 10 times, and luckily it was a walk-on the whole time. Which the park being so family friendly, I could not believe how few people were taking advantage of this great new park addition. Unfortunately the last indoor attraction was horrible. 4D - Tempo Attack was playing in the theater and this 4D movie was loud and pointless and did nothing for me.

Before leaving I hopped on my longest line of the day to ride Loup Garou. It's just a forgettable coaster. The good news for this park is that their Intamin is only two years away.

I left the park early to be sure I wouldn't be late for my B&B check-in Ghent. It's a simple 15 minute walk from the train station to the park entrance.

I'll post pictures of Ghent next.

Re: Photo TR: Larrygator returns to Europe with TPR

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:43 am
by ytterbiumanalyst
Forgetting electronics can be really freeing. I sometimes forget every one of us used to leave the house on a daily basis with no electronics at all. Glad you had a good time, and looking forward to seeing Ghent. It's a city I don't know that much about.

Re: Photo TR: Larrygator returns to Europe with TPR

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:52 am
by jynx242
Excellent! I've been looking forward to your report from this trip!

Thanks!

Re: Photo TR: Larrygator returns to Europe with TPR

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:02 am
by cfc
While Walibi Belguim is weak when it comes to coasters, it's good that it features two great shooting dark rides.

Re: Photo TR: Larrygator returns to Europe with TPR

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:29 am
by larrygator
My sightseeing photos will not be in order as I spent parts of two days each walking around Ghent and Bruges but it makes sense to put all Ghent pictures in one post and all Bruges in another post.

I estimated that I walked about fifty miles over my first three days and after retracing my adventures on Google maps it seems accurate. I calculated walking over 16 miles around Ghent (7 miles of which were because I took a wrong turn). I purposely stayed a little out of the way in Ghent to save money, get a higher rated B&B and make sure I got some walking in. I have no issues walking 3-4 miles at a time, so my 25 minute walk from the train station to my B&B was no big deal. (Except when it causes you to miss a train by one minute).

Ghent isn't as touristy as Bruges but does have many cobblestone streets, plenty of canals, old buildings, architecture and most importantly it was billed as having the only medieval castle with a functioning moat.

My first attempt to walk to Gravensteen at night by following the canals caused me to miss a turn when I was only 1/4 of a mile from Gravensteen which caused me to walk about 1.5 miles in the wrong direction.

One interesting feature in Ghent (which I assume to be the case in all Belgium cities) is the presence of both Day and Night convenience stores . The Day Winkel sold what you might typical buy during the day in a convenience store including drinks and sandwiches, When the Day Winkels closed and the Night Winkels opened and were stocked mainly with alcohol, munchies and smoking products.

I love European railway stations, but for some reason did not take photos of any of them on this trip. Ghent Saint Peters is not as grandiose as the stations found in major cities but still had nice architectural features.

Re: Photo TR: Larrygator returns to Europe with TPR

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 2:46 pm
by The Great Zo
Great start, Larry. Now that I've seen a lot of the Netherlands I hope to spend some time in Belgium in the future, so I'm enjoying the view of Ghent and looking forward to seeing Bruges.

Re: Photo TR: Larrygator returns to Europe with TPR

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:14 pm
by 805Andrew
The Great Zo wrote:Great start, Larry. Now that I've seen a lot of the Netherlands I hope to spend some time in Belgium in the future, so I'm enjoying the view of Ghent and looking forward to seeing Bruges.


Same here. I've dipped my toes in Belgium with Bobbejaanland so I would like to see more of what the country has to offer and especially Bruges. Looking forward to seeing more of your TR Larry.

Re: Photo TR: Larrygator returns to Europe with TPR

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 5:33 pm
by ytterbiumanalyst
Oh man this town looks so cool! Amazing architecture, castles and cathedrals and all.

Re: Photo TR: Larrygator returns to Europe with TPR

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 5:43 pm
by Nrthwnd
Larrygator wrote:...Because they sell lambic beer at a cheap price. (fixed)


...And have a bottle of Centrum at every table, too. ;)

Great tour start, Larry. I love the architecture of Europe, old and new! Looking forward to more of your trip.

Re: Photo TR: Larrygator returns to Europe with TPR

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:05 pm
by Canobie Coaster
Great report! Sounds like Walibi Belgium has some nice dark rides.