Tripsdrill28th September 2006
My trip schedules, thorough though they are, rarely allow opportunities to return to parks previously visited, no matter how much I may have enjoyed them. Due to a complicated series of circumstances, however, I ended up breaking my usual rules and joining the European Coaster Club for a five day trip around Germany, a routing that covered just two parks that would be new to me. This turned out to be much more enjoyable than I expected, as the relentless pressure was gone; instead I could leisurely enjoy time in the parks, riding my favourite attractions as much as I wanted.
While the majority of the group made a bee line for the coaster, a smaller subset of us headed towards the Jungbrunnen flume ride. I had forgotten that this ride featured a backward drop, it being two years since my last visit, and this took me completely by surprise. It also rendered null and void my cunning plan to avoid a drenching by sitting in the back of the boat. With five people on board we were guaranteed (and received) a large splash at the end. The theming on this ride, incidentally, would never be allowed in many countries. Not, of course, that this bothered us!
As we were already wet we decided to ride the rapids, two circuits being on the cards because nobody was waiting for it at the end of lap one. We also passed a bit of time with the Rasender Tausendfüßler coaster and the crazy tilting drop tower. The best attraction of the morning, however, was one I'd managed to miss last time; the park has several small playground type attractions, some of which were bordering on the acutely dangerous. Fortunately, they don't present a major insurance risk in a country where everyone reads (and follows) posted rules as religious doctrine.
Tripsdrill being a small park meant that we had completed all that we really wanted to do in just three hours. This left time for a rather good meal, certainly better than the usual park fare. The only caveat was that we had missed the standard entrees, being left with a reduced selection from the after 2:30pm menu. This was, fortunately, available in English.
By the time we'd finished food it was time for our ERS on G'sengte Sau. This came with some unusual and very welcome bonuses; the opportunity to walk the lift hill, the chance to operate the ride, and the rare privilege of being able to walk under the station while the ride was in motion, allowing - to say the least - some particularly unusual photos. Between the fun stuff I also managed to get in ten rides. To finish things off, those that wanted them were able to take away a coaster wheel for their respective collections of useless junk (yes, I plead guilty on that too).
The obligatory Tripsdrill Toilet Tour was repeated as we left the park. For further details, see my last trip report!
Stuttgart Fair28th September 2006
German fairs are not exactly new territory for me. Nevertheless, every time my path takes me to one it is hard not to be overwhelmed by the scale of the affair. It was at least a ten minute walk from one end of the fairground to the other, and that whole distance was covered with bright lights and amusement machines of all descriptions, all of which were in superb condition. On one hand it'd be wonderful to see something similar in Ireland, but on the other it's just as well that we don't have it; the financial implications of same would probably put an immediate end to my flying lessons (not to mention meals...).
With only limited time to spare it was very much an edited highlights event for us, with just four rides on our hit list. The only one of these we rode more than once was Alpina Bahn, running just as well as I remembered it, and a lot of fun. The other coaster in attendance was Wilde Maus, which we also tried out.
The real fun, however, was had on the Countdown shot and drop tower. Training in someone who is trying to beat their fear of heights makes for an amusing experience for everyone else, helped greatly when the party in question is a good sport. A little bit of gentle persuasion had him riding the Hot Shot reverse bungee with me, too. This was my first experience of the older style ride with bungee cords, and it wasn't an altogether happy one; the flipping was far more aggressive than I had expected. The net result came far closer than I would have liked to extricating my previously consumed bratwurst, largely due to the repeated (and harsh) changes of direction.
Last but by no means least, was beer. A pleasant hour or so was spent in one of the larger beer tents, an entertaining insight into German culture if ever there was one. The mental scarring by seeing the occasional overweight german male dancing on a table will, with luck, heal.