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Port Aventura/Ferrari Land + a bit of Barcelona

Smithy

Strata Poster
Eh, I figured why not because if for anything I'll use it myself to read through when I can't sleep in a few years time (as I tend to do now and then in case any of you randomly get a "like" on a post from years ago).

So after fretting about trying to do a multi-park trip around Northern Europe, I decided **** it, booked a cheap package deal with Jet2 to Salou and figured I could tick off Ferrari Land, get back on Shambhala and also fulfill a long-held desire to watch Messi play live at the Nou Camp.

Firstly, Stansted is the worst airport on Earth and no matter what time of day you're unfortunate enough to be flying from there, it's always busy, always crowded, and there's never enough room or facilities.

After dropping bags off, we got some lunch and headed over to the train station to get our ticket to Barcelona. Buying a ticket on the spot, to a major city, for 8 Euros, really does make a mockery of the English train network (It was over £180 for an open return ticket for a work-related ticket the other day that went through London). We've already done most of Barcelona previously but had noticed a few things we'd missed last time. So, venturing out into the disgusting stifling heat, we went for a wander;

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Through a shopping center that's been built-inside a former bull ring. Mainly for the outside viewing loop they have at the top floor that gave pretty special views of the Catalan Palace;

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There was also some music festival going on within the city, so every now and then we ended up caught in a crowd of people listening to some slightly off music. We then ventured up into the Olympic Park for a wander, and I'd heard that you can get into the Olympic stadium for free and wander round. I'd heard right, you literally just walk through the main gates and they've opened up a corner of the ground and tacked a little shop in there. Can't knock it, as a stadium nerd it was great to be able to learn a bit of history about it, and walk around some of it.

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Anyway, after a quick trip down from Montjuic via the Furnicular, we wandered down to the harbour area and then had a quick stroll down Las Ramblas before heading over to the Nou Camp for the game. Stupidly busy in the vicinity of the ground but with literally no food options, it's not the greatest pre-game experience I've had. The ground itself is very run-down and similar to the San Siro last year, is a bit of a concrete mess. Great views even at the very top though, and we lucked out with a great sunset;

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Messi scored, Barcelona went ahead, then behind before drawing (which meant it was quite a good atmosphere). Then we managed to grab the last bus back to Salou and avoided an overnight kip in the airport.

After a horribly long day before we just used the following day to relax; managed to find one of the quieter beaches but really, all of them (as I'm sure most of you lot on here who have frequented PA will know) are decent enough.

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Anyway, onto the real reason the three of you are reading (and that's probably being optimistic); Ferrari Land + PortAventura.

Ferrari Land first. The entrance plaza is certainly impressive, but none of the rides are anywhere nearby and I'm still not sure the idea of theming classic Italian architecture with modern Ferrari car bits really works all that well. Won't lie that I was bricking it with Red Force (my review of that ride on it's own is here; http://coasterforce.com/forums/threads/last-cred-review.42950/page-2#post-1039371), but did manage to fluke getting on the front row.

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Went and got the kiddy cred, did one of the flat rides and didn't fancy any of the towers. Did the F1 simulator but thought it was a bit pants and then decided to head into PA itself after our second ride of Red Force was pants. Got a cracking on-ride photo from our first ride though;

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I think the entrance into PA may be my favourite of any park, particularly if the sun is shining. Treated this as a bit of a casual day, and with various back pains etc...we decided against Baco on this visit. Think after a walk around and seeing 40 minute queues and single train operations we decided on Tomahawk for our first ride. I still love this little woody that packs a much bigger punch than you'd expect from off-ride. We then wandered round the Western area and watched the scare actors jump out at people which was far more enjoyable than it probably should have been. Watched Bang Bang Halloween which was a decent show all things considered (I understood more than it than I expected which shows the last 12 months learning Spanish wasn't completely futile) and then for some ridiculous reason, I decided now was the time to take my Condor virginity. I've always hated drop towers, and have never even come close to riding Condor just out of absolute dislike/fear. I have no idea why, but we dragged ourselves into the queue and, thankfully, ended up on the sit-down side. I was expressionless the entire climb up, refused to look up or down, and did not enjoy it one bit. But did it. One ticked off at least. I also found out that my girlfriend thinks I'm "a ****ing ****ing mother ****ing ****ting twating ****ing ****". Which was nice to hear.

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Think that was just about it for our first day, apart from the Halloween parade which was decent and has that annoyingly catchy tune as per usual.

Second day was straight into PA, straight onto the train hoping to hop off at Sesame Street and jog over to Shambhala. Except that station was closed and we ended up over by the Western area again. We grabbed a few of the flat rides we usually miss (including the weird green spinning ride that is far more spew-inducing than you realise off ride) and then saw that the queues for Khan/Shambhala were still 40 odd minutes. Instead we mopped up the water rides. Chewing gum tunnel of death is still a thing, rapids are still a bit meh, log flume is still great apart from the two foot of water in the boat that soaks your shoes on every drop at the front.

Of all the live actors, my favourite without doubt is the scarecrow hanging around incognito on the bridge where he blends in and just screaming hello at people joyfully. Decided to grab a picture with one of the clowns who ended up hugging me to show he was just a friendly guy all in all. Decided to just bite the bullet and get on Shambhala finally. God I ****ing love this ride so much. My arse was literally in the air for the first half of the ride, it's so difficult to explain to people who don't 'get' rollercoasters why it's so enjoyable not to be in your seat but you're essentially floating for seconds at a time. Dragon Khan straight after, and it was far better than our last visit a few years back which was rough and rickety. I still love that Zero-G roll too.

Think we did Stampida and El Diablo not long after and both were a bit meh' I still have bruises on my legs from one or the other.

Then we made the decision to get our faces painted to get into the Halloween spirit. This was a great idea in theory, because despite the searing heat it would make our pictures a bit of a laugh throughout the day. Well. I went for "Joeker" thinking it looked the best for the money (12 Euros I think) and we ended up like this;

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Now, I didn't realise that with my hair down, I actually looked quite alarming.

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To the point a few kids were a bit spooked by me. Possibly not helped by me staring wide-eyed at them. One even cried out for his dad and for a slight second I felt guilty. As I was saying about on-ride photos being a laugh though;

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We then took some refuge from the sun and caught Halloween Kingdom, their 'big' show. It was honestly incredible, the acts involved were genuinely breath taking and I'm not usually one for shows like this but I spent the entire half an hour engrossed in what they were doing.

Back into the park for one last ride on Shambhala, still as immense as ever, and then we managed to rush back to the front of the park in time to catch the parade. Of which the best part was the same clown I'd hugged earlier recognised me in the crowd, saw that we'd now had our faces painted and came over with a big grin and a love heart gesture at us.

Not so smart was forgetting that we were walking back to our hotel, which meant going down Salou beach-front and all the restaurants and people watched staring at us trundling along with face paint on. Although I think the absolute treat was the poor German woman waiting to get into the lift who literally screamed when I walked out smiling.

Oh and as **** as Reus is for being small and expensive they're not half efficient at getting you through security etc... so there is that (we literally did nothing on our last day other than chill and wander around Salou).

I think I've covered most of what we did and if not it's probably nothing worth remembering.
 

HeartlineCoaster

Giga Poster
Reader 1 of 3 checking in. Glad I inspired this and gave you something to do.
Face paint + Red Force goggles + pigeon would have been a good combo.
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
Jesus dude, that hair-down make up shot is actually quite unsettling!

Glad to hear you enjoyed Shambhala though, I really want to get back on it in the summer, the winter rides past year did not deliver.

Good work on the write up, too. Particularly like the Nou Camp shot.
 
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