Travel Note

29th September 2006

On the way to our scheduled park this morning, our coach knocked down a cyclist. This resulted in us spending four hours in a police station waiting for a replacement driver. German efficiency was very much in evidence, with the authorities arranging an English-speaking counsellor and cooked meals for the whole group. The mind boggles at what might have happened had a bus load of German tourists found themselves in a similar situation in Ireland. The cyclist did suffer a broken leg and fractured pelvis, but fortunately did not get pushed under the wheel of the bus. It could have been much worse, and for that we should all be grateful.

 

Europa Park

29th September 2006

It was a quiet and thoughtful trip towards Europa Park, but the solemnity ended as we arrived at the hotel. We had just over an hour before park closing to make a start on the place. There was no particular urgency, given a whole day in the park tomorrow, but after a pretty heavy few hours it was a chance to burn off some stress. Some high speed power walking allowed us to get in a total of four rides, covering almost the entire length of the park (though to be fair that happened by accident).

My first priority was one of the new coasters since my last visit. The name of Atlantica Supersplash (#911) implies a certain abundance of H2O, and the ride signage warned that passengers would likely get soaked. However, this turned out not to be the case; a small refreshing spray was enough to cool us off without leaving us dripping wet. I vaguely remember reading that this ride features an adjustable water level for different weather conditions; perhaps at this late part of the season it was toned down.

Euro-Mir still wins points in my book for sheer quirkiness. The lift hill mechanism is a giant rotating barrel which takes a couple of minutes to move several trains at once to the top of the ride. At this point, riders move around reflective towers at only a few miles per hour, before dropping rapidly down to some furiously intense track near ground level. Riders have a choice of experiencing either the first drop backwards or the rest of it backwards; in either situation, the face to face seating makes for a lot of fun.

Europa Park

The other new coaster since my last visit only opened this year. Pegasus (#912) may be billed as a family coaster, but it packs quite a punch, despite its low minimum height limit of one metre. It fills a useful gap in the park roster, as the signature coaster in the park, Silver Star, has a higher minimum. This is the first so-called YoungSTAR coaster from Mack, and one can safely assume that they will sell quite a few of them in due course.

Finally, there was time for a quick ride on Poseidon. Getting both water rides done on our first day seemed like a good idea, as any inadvertent soaking could be quickly ameliorated by a change of clothes in the hotel. Once again this proved to be entirely unnecessary. Sod's law appears to dictate that one will only get truly drenched on a water ride when one doesn't have the opportunity to change clothes right away.

The Spanish area of the park remains open after the posted closing, as it is home to several rather good restaurants. We took full advantage of this for our dinner, enjoying a pleasant meal outdoors as the daylight began to fade. While we were eating, the kids were all ushered over to a kiddie disco area, where they were kept out of the way of their parents alcohol consumption. The songs in question were pretty awful, to be sure, but exactly the right level for the age brackets in question!