Travel Note

19th July 2008

p>Those who know me will be aware that under normal circumstances my holidays are completely planned at least six months in advance. This trip, however, was nothing of the kind. It grew out of a situation in my personal life that brewed for several days before exploding in spectacular fashion on the afternoon of Sunday 13th July. Two hours later, I was browsing the various airline sites to see where I could go for two days cheaply. An hour after that, I'd booked flights to Frankfurt. It was only after they were confirmed that I sat down to work out where to go from there.

 

Taunus Wunderland

19th July 2008

Taunus Wunderland is a children's park, albeit one graced with several interesting attractions. The park is located on one side of a valley, with rides located on various levels. A little bit of advance planning is worthwhile to get the most out of the place, as otherwise a considerable amount of time and effort will be expended hiking up and down the hill!

Taunus Wunderland

The front of the park consists mostly of static play equipment and the occasional self operated ride, including a small drop tower. At the mid level can be found Taunusblitz (#1208), a production Mack wild mouse design significant only for its total lack of braking. Further down the valley is the Wildwasserbahn, a rather good flume with two turntables and one particularly large drop. Finally, for the dedicated credit whore, the Drachen Bahn powered coaster can be found right at the bottom of the park. The park is liberally sprinkled with child friendly flat rides, though nothing that is likely to appeal to anybody over the age of ten. Be that as it may, I'd have to recommend the place to older people anyway, just for the log flume. If you're driving past don't miss it.

 

Didiland

19th July 2008

Didiland is another children's park, albeit one largely devoid of charm. The Pomme (#1209) appears to have had a prior life somewhere in Italy, as it still carries prominent Brucomela titles. I probably would not have stopped at the park at all were it not for Drakkar (#1210), a mid sized family coaster by Soquet. While not outstanding, this ride is exactly the sort of family coaster that Soquet is known for; it does exactly what it says on the tin.

 

Cigoland

19th July 2008

It is stretching the definition to describe Cigoland as an amusement park. In reality it is a zoo, albeit one which has a circus show, a lengthy cycle railway, and a rather good roller coaster. Train de la Mine (#1211) has been landscaped beautifully, with several trees within the boundary of the ride as well as a tunnel that has been lined with stones to hide the concrete.

Cigoland

The appearance of a coaster is largely irrelevant if the ride quality is poor, but there are no problems here; of particular note, the second hill of the ride generates powerful airtime and laterals simultaneously, particularly towards the back of the train. It would be no exaggeration to describe this as one of the best rides Soquet has ever built; with luck they'll build more like it in future.

 

Erbacher Wiesenmarkt

19th July 2008

When one mentions German fair to coaster enthusiasts the usual places that spring to mind are Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Bremen, and of course Munich. However, there are well over one hundred smaller fairs each year, and the word small is a relative one. Martin agreed to meet me in beautiful Erbach, which compensated somewhat for the two hours of extra driving to get there.

As the name suggests, this fair is as much a craft show as a ride event. It was impossible not to contemplate the mentality of those who travel all over Germany just to sell saucepans, but I guess it takes all sorts. The ride area was made up of a good selection of flat rides, as well as a new coaster for me, the Wilde Maus (Münch) (#1212). In common with the model earlier in the day this ride was hardly braked at all. Martin is fond of remarking that he is very slender, but nevertheless his additional padding made the corners less tortuous then they otherwise might have been.