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Seven-Country, Eight-Week Euro Jam (July, August '22)

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
Last summer I did a month-and-a-half-long coaster trip across the U.S. This summer I am doing an even longer trip: almost two full months across Europe. While last summer's trip involved more parks -- 43 were planned; 39 actually happened -- this trip has fewer parks -- 19 planned -- but it has a lot more sightseeing scheduled in between.

Last summer I did a kind of abbreviated form of a trip review. Some days were just a paragraph mentioning highlights, whereas other days were longer. I just don't have the time or inclination for the kind of extensive, photos-of-my-lunch trip reports that the more ambitious CFers manage. It's more of a running log, a quick entry at the end of each park day. At any rate, a few people seemed to enjoy last summer's report, so I thought I'd do a similar one here in this thread.

I think I'll only do entries about the visited parks (not the sightseeing), so they won't be every day, but I hope someone might find something interesting about them. I'll list the itinerary now so that people can see what's coming up, and if anyone is in the same area at the same time, feel free to drop me a line here and then join me.

Oh, and ALL of these parks are new to me. :)

July 4-5 : Fly from New York City to Katowice

July 6 : Legendia

July 7: Energylandia

July 8: Auschwitz (weirdly sandwiched in between two amusement park days, for which I feel vaguely guilty for no rational reason)

July 9: Energylandia

July 10-15 : Krakow

July 15-19 : Vienna -- staying right at Prater; hoping to do a day trip to Fantasiana by train

July 19-22 : Ljubljana, hopefully Lake Bled

July 22-26 : Venice

July 26-29 : Ravenna -- Mirabilandia

July 29-August 2 : Verona -- Gardaland, Movieland

August 2-5 : PortAventura -- staying at park hotel, two and a half days at park

August 5-11: Barcelona, day trip to Girona -- Tibidabo

August 11-20 : Paris (never been!) -- Parc Asterix, Jardin d'Acclimatation, both Disneys, Parc Saint-Paul, Nigloland, Fete des Loges

August 20-24 : Bruges -- Bellewaerde, Plopsaland de Panne

August 24-27 : Brussels -- Walibi Belgium

August 27 : fly home from Brussels

A big thank you to those who gave suggestions during the earlier planning stages. Your advice helped me shape the itinerary!

And it may be worth mentioning that I'm excited out of my mind. I'm still experiencing psychotic levels of wanderlust in the wake of that long lockdown.
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
I’ve arrived at Katowice quite exhausted. I rarely sleep on planes, and I’ve been up for about 36 hours. Travel was a madhouse at JFK and Frankfurt. Really just comically absurd.

Anyway, I made it to my destination, and Legendia is on the schedule for tomorrow. Unfortunately, rain also seems to be on the schedule for tomorrow. Does anyone here know Legendia’s coaster policy during rain???
 

Indy

Mega Poster
I can't vouch for their policy, but I wouldn't let it deter you too much. I went on a day last September with a similar forecast. Fortunately, during the few hours I was there, it didn't really rain and I practically had the park to myself.

Just a heads up though, you need at least 3 people to ride Dream Hunters Society. I was fortunate enough to have two German goons waiting for a third person when I walked up to ride.
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
I can't vouch for their policy, but I wouldn't let it deter you too much. I went on a day last September with a similar forecast. Fortunately, during the few hours I was there, it didn't really rain and I practically had the park to myself.

Just a heads up though, you need at least 3 people to ride Dream Hunters Society. I was fortunate enough to have two German goons waiting for a third person when I walked up to ride.
Well, I’m here inside now and it’s happening!

I hope I can wait for parkgoers to come along for Dream Hunters Society, as I’m currently at 697, and I’d prefer Lech to be 700.
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
LEGENDIA

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While you can’t see it so well in this photo, the Ferris wheel says Legendia on it, and I’d say it looks rather nice.

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Again not the greatest of photos, but that’s the view of Lech Coaster from the Ferris Wheel.

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Can you tell that the coaster called Scary Toys Factory hasn’t operated in a while? The sleuths among you will spot the clues.

After being up for 36 hours, I slept for 12 straight, and that left me rested enough to hit my first park for the first full day of the trip.

Much obliged to those who told me not to worry about the weather. In fact, the forecast rain never hit and it was a great day — intermittently cool and sunny.

I saw by the schedule that coasters opened on a staggered schedule, and started with the first of many loops of the park’s circular path around the central lake. Superficially, the park reminded me of Holiday Park in some ways. That said, the place is small overall but has a fair degree of charm. In a small, local, limited park sort of way. It’s a nice, quaint place but Lech seems like a ride from a much higher-gear park.

From 9:30 to noon, the park was close to empty. By noon it had become a little lively, but the coasters remained walk ons.

I started with the Devil’s Noose coaster. I had heard it was rough, but didn’t find that to be the case. However, I did have to slouch way down, so I wasn’t sitting fully upright, just to fit under the hard otsrs. I rode in the front and it was pleasant enough. I rode in the back and the ride had more of a kick for the first drop and the loops.

Then I made my way back around to Dream Hunters Society, the latest per schedule to open. Thanks to Indy for the reminder about the three-person requirement. When I approached, there was no one around the ride except one family of three milling about before obviously about to make the decision to go in. I shamelessly asked them if I could join them. They spoke no English, but I think a stranger sheepishly asking if they speak English, and then making the request in simple gestures and words is far less threatening. I’m a poor foreign visitor in need, not an aggressive creep. Lol. Anyway, I don’t think any of us realized that I’d end up riding hip to hip with the wife in those cramped cars! The ride has a bit of wildness to it, even pops of airtime, but the cramped conditions made it all a bit laughably ridiculous.

And getting those two out of the way meant that I could successfully make Lech Coaster my 700th — yay!

Maybe it was lingering wobbliness from my exhausting, sleepless trip to get to Poland, maybe it was sheer paranoia about not wanting to do anything too risky at the start of a looong and expensive trip, and it was definitely my having been warned by many, many people how intense and skull-crushing Lech is, but I most certainly did not approach the ride in my usual way with top coasters: by marathoning the hell out of it nonstop. No, I did one ride, then took a fifteen minute break. Then did another ride, and walked to the restrooms. Then another ride, and went to have lunch. Etc. I ended up getting in a lot of rides, but I felt like a skittish wimp in the way I went about it. Oh, well — better safe than sorry.

Anyway, my first ride was in the front row in the morning. It was excellent, but when I switched to the back row, the intensity kicked up a notch or three. And as the coaster warmed up over the day, it got even better. Ejector whip over the insanely steep first drop, and wonderful ejector air over several more hills. I have never greyed out in my life, but there was one element on this coaster that maaaay have had me experience something close to my first grey out.

The only negative to the ride is that the final third is rather anti-climactic.

So, I carried out my weirdly spread out marathon, and headed out in the afternoon, hitting the road for my next destination, a little rent-an-apartment in Zator. I’ll be here the next four nights. (By the way, it’s quite nice and reasonable, and since lodgings are scarce (so far) in Zator, I’d recommend it: it’s called Carp&Bed. You check yourself in with a code, and have a nice apartment with kitchen to yourself. And it’s walking distance to Energylandia.)

So far I find that people in Poland working in the high-vis service industry speak some level of English, but most others I meet don’t. However, if they’re older, they might well speak some level of Russian (which I speak quite decently, albeit not fluently) or Ukrainian (which is close to Russian), so I have been communicating a lot with Russian, something I hadn’t anticipated. Of course, given the war, I am always quick to clarify that I am not Russian! And then they’re usually quite interested when they find out I’m American.

The Uber driver from Katowice was very nice. When we got to talking — in very Polish Russian — I asked him how he liked living in Katowice. He said it was difficult to explain, he didn’t know how to put it (in his broken Russian), but simply said he’s 68, and even though he worked for 40 years, he doesn’t have enough money, so that’s why he drives Uber. I don’t think it was an intentional sob story; I am the one who asked him, and he hesitated to mention it. Anyway, there was construction and an accident, so the traffic was brutal. What should have taken an hour took two and a half. I felt bad for him with the time and gas, so I gave him a whopping cash tip, for which he was very grateful.

If that was a good-ish deed, it was immediately repaid, as when I got out of the car, I couldn’t find the place I was supposed to stay (GPS seemed to say it was on the opposite side of the street that it turned out to be on), and some locals saw I was looking around, and immediately offered to help me find it, taking time out to walk down the street with me to look. It’s so nice when people do that. The man was leading us the other way, but the woman and I figured out — in broken Ukrainian-Russian — which way to go. We found it, and I thanked them profusely, but they said it was worth it to meet someone from New York! 🥹 ❤️

Zator is much more of a charming small town compared with the city of Katowice.

Just about to have some lovely pierogi! I’ve been waiting for my chance! 😋

Tomorrow Energylandia!!






Oh, and an odd little point of curiosity P.S.: At Legendia they had me scan my ticket to LEAVE the park. I asked if this is so that I could return, and the young woman said, “No, you cannot return.” So I asked why they scan tickets of people leaving, and she said she didn’t know. Wth? 😂
 
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MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
ENERGYLANDIA — Day One

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I will have to make this briefer than I’d like because I’m tired and it’s late.

The main task for today was to hit all 18 credits and get that out of the way for the first day. I stopped for meals twice, but aside from that I kept at it. Nonetheless, progress was slow and I didn’t think I’d make it. But a little rain at the end of the day helped drop attendance a bit, and I managed to finish with a glorious flourish of three consecutive kiddie coaster walk-ons. The crowning moment included five victory laps on the wacky worm. Most of the other adult riders pretended to be interested in the little children they were riding with, but deep down I think they sensed with awe that I had achieved something important.

Some tidbits:

Monster House is a hilariously bad dark ride. It’s as if they just set up the stage for the ride but hadn’t yet put in any of the actual features — like sound or anything that moves at all — and the park admins said, “F*** it! We open now. We can’t wait to finish it. Let’s just pretend this is it.” Weird that such a massive park would have something so terrible.

Hyperion and Zadra require the wearing of goggles for the front row (I often like to start with great coasters in the front row to take in the visuals). Are they pretending to be Formula Rossa?

Only one ride on Hyperion, but my first impression: wonderful airtime, but not fighting for my top ten or anything.

Formula was better than expected and a lot of fun. Ended up getting two rides on this one.

Abyssus much better than expected — that coaster is awesome. Great airtime, and the ride seems to go on forever.

Zadra is certainly not a bucking-bronco RMC like Steel Vengeance or Twisted Timbers. It’s more about graceful, huge drops and swoops, with long arcs of airtime and deft, sustained inversions. This seems like my kind of coaster in many ways. I rode front row, and then later near the back. Need more rides to give a set judgment.

At the end of the evening I ran into Taylor and Sarah from Coaster Studios. I rode Zadra with them, and then made the long walk out of the then-closed park, while they were doing their vlog thing along the way. The world of coaster enthusiasts is a small one, as that’s the second time I’ve run into them in a couple of months without trying.

Tomorrow morning will be Auschwitz — which I will not write about here — and then, bizarrely, I’m thinking I’ll do a half-day back at Energylandia afterward, if that transition doesn’t make my head explode.

Someone here on CF wrote somewhat recently that the Energylandia theme song gets into your head. So true. “Energylandia, Energylandia …”
 

MartyNZ

Roller Poster
Where am I going to find time to keep up with these trip reports! Just managed to read it all so up to speed now, but lots of reading! Crazy that you bumped into Taylor and Sarah again. Did you do a little cameo with them? I've had huge issues trying to sort my timing out for my trip. Turns out we triple booked leave in our team, so most of us are away at the same time so we had to do some compromises and move dates. I'll end up going to Energylandia by myself, so your tips and tricks will come in handy!
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
Where am I going to find time to keep up with these trip reports! Just managed to read it all so up to speed now, but lots of reading! Crazy that you bumped into Taylor and Sarah again. Did you do a little cameo with them? I've had huge issues trying to sort my timing out for my trip. Turns out we triple booked leave in our team, so most of us are away at the same time so we had to do some compromises and move dates. I'll end up going to Energylandia by myself, so your tips and tricks will come in handy!
Heh, no — no cameo. I have no need to get on camera. 😝

But good luck with sorting your trip out! If you make it, let me know if you have any questions for me as a very recent visitor to the park. And check out my lodgings recommendation above.
 

MartyNZ

Roller Poster
Yep noted the "Carp&Bed". I'll check it out. Still deciding if I should hire a car or try the other options. I should have two full days there but need to somehow fit Legendia for Lech in one of those two days hence a rental car might work better. Need to spend more time this weekend trying to sort things. I dont have two years planning time like I did for my USA coaster road trip.

I was also looking at PortAventura if I could squeeze it in, and those dates you are there might actually work out, but I can't commit to that yet. David told me I should look into it, but i'm limited for time off work.
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
Yep noted the "Carp&Bed". I'll check it out. Still deciding if I should hire a car or try the other options. I should have two full days there but need to somehow fit Legendia for Lech in one of those two days hence a rental car might work better. Need to spend more time this weekend trying to sort things. I dont have two years planning time like I did for my USA coaster road trip.

I was also looking at PortAventura if I could squeeze it in, and those dates you are there might actually work out, but I can't commit to that yet. David told me I should look into it, but i'm limited for time off work.
That would be great if you could make it to PortAventura. I’ll be doing that leg solo, and I’m staying at a park hotel, and, assuming this is possible (?), you could stay with me. Let me know if that get more serious, and I’ll give you more details.
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
ENERGYLANDIA — Day Two

I lied. I said I wouldn’t mention my Auschwitz experience on here, but I will. Sort of. I start summoning an Uber two hours before I was supposed to be there this morning, but while the app was connected, it couldn’t find a driver in all that time. The drawback of living in a small Polish village/town!

So the day began with great frustration, but that meant I’d have an extra near-full day at Energylandia, and it turned out to be quite a social one. I repeatedly ran into the Coaster Studios folks again — rode Zadra with them a lot, and, oddly, rode with them on yesterday’s mentioned wacky worm. I also met and befriended an Italian enthusiast who offered to show me his home parks of Gardaland and Movieland when I get there.

Perhaps because of the occasional rain, the park was far less crowded today, and all the coasters were walk-ons. I marathoned Hyperion and especially Zadra. They’re both awesome, but they’re not about to crack my top ten. Well, Zadra might — have to think about it — but the point is it didn’t instantly become an absolute favorite.

I also managed to catch the Extreme Energylandia show I had been told not to miss. It’s not exactly my kind of thing, but it’s impressive for what it is.

All in all, a far more relaxedly paced day than yesterday.
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
ENERGYLANDIA — Day Three; ZATORLAND

A third day I never thought I’d have at Energylandia, and it was really a day in which I felt I’d already done everything at the park, and was really just soaking up the atmosphere at this point. I tried new places to eat, got in another ride on Abyssus and a few more laps on Zadra. I decided to experience the Grotto Expedition, and those of you who have beheld the majesty know of which I speak.

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In the late afternoon, I decided to take off and pay a visit to Zatorland, a small park near my lodgings. First and foremost, this entailed two glorious new creds. Let’s just say one of those creds was a bit “wacky.”

It’s a small children’s park, with lots of kiddie rides, but then it has a Dinosaurs Alive area attached to it. And then — very easily missed! — it also has a Mythology Park connected as well. It’s all themed to Greek mythology, with the central attraction being statues in a lake representing the various myths.

So if you want to bag a couple extra creds, or if you are in the mood for some very quirky, weird attractions, pop over to Zatorland when you’re done with Energylandia.

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And just in case this mode of entry satisfies someone’s long-unfulfilled fantasy, this is also there:
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MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
KRAKOW

So I got a surprise ride on what will surely be the rarest credit of the trip, a traveling dragon. The experience was hilarious. See the explanation in the Q&A forum thread about a Polish cred.
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
WIENER PRATER and FANTASIANA

Did these on two different days, a couple of days apart.

I’m staying at a hotel right at Prater, which makes it easy to enjoy the park’s late hours and then stroll home.

Prater’s real stars are twofold: 1. The general atmosphere is festive and you get a sense that the locals love to come here and eat and drink and hang out. It reminds me in that respect of Bakken. Prater is fairly awesome because of this atmosphere. 2. If you’re a lover of intense flat rides, Prater has some jaw-dropping ones. Exstasy in particular doesn’t look humanly possible.

As for the coasters, Olympia Looping has nice drops and forceful loops, but at nearly 10 Euros a ride, it’s a bit of a farce.

The total surprise of a favorite coaster for me was this tacky thing called Insider, the indoor coaster. I don’t even know what the layout of this coaster is, but the pulsing music and the dazzling lasers totally disoriented me and made me feel I was spinning through outer space.

I rode my fourth Volare at this park, and this one gives Super Flight a run for its money as worst coaster on Earth.

The Boomerang is a jarring one (but with nice music), and a wild mouse called Dizzy Mouse was particularly fierce. Gesengte Sau was the most popular in the park by far if the line is anything to judge by, and for sure this is a fun one.

Today I took a day train out to see Fantasiana, and the walk to the park from the station will make you feel you’re looking for a farmhouse instead of an amusement park. The park itself is a cute community park with a good share of theming and lots of lovely wildflowers about.

Fridolin’s Crazy Magicexpress is an adorably themed family coaster — with TWO launches. Really fun and cute.

Of course, the reason I came to this park was Wild Train. My first ride was in the second row, and I came off thinking that it was a great little coaster, but the reports over the years of this being something legendary were greatly exaggerated. And then I rode it in the back row. Holy moly. This little coaster suddenly turned into El Toro. I’ve been on over 700 coasters now, and Wild Train’s airtime is as violent and insane as anything I’ve ridden. Just wow. The coaster was a near walk-on all day, so I got my share of that back row. Wow and wow, again. This one is the biggest shock of the trip so far. How in the world is such a crazy ride in a kids’ park?
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
STRAŽA BLED, at Lake Bled, Slovenia

A minor theme on this trip has been picking up random creds I hadn’t expected to get.

Today I had the special treat of being shown a bit of Slovenia from a local expert, and lifelong resident, and a certain CoasterForcer, and I am indebted to him for his time and company!

Lake Bled was amazing, as expected, but here in this topic thread, I’ve been sticking to the coasters, so I will mention a small park called Straža Bled, located right on Lake Bled, and offering (an) alpine coaster(s).

The main alpine coaster is a single-rail Brandauer coaster, and while it was not a relatively long one, it made up for this with wildness. Its drops are STEEP, very steep for an alpine coaster, and this, together with its speed and the way you have to precariously lean forward to push the accelerator, meant that this was probably the wildest alpine coaster I’ve ever done — out of many. In fact, during my first of two rides, I found myself occasionally tapping the brakes for fear of being thrown out. I never touch the brakes on alpine coasters, yet I did on the first ride. For the second ride, I felt a little more physically secure so didn’t touch the brakes. Overall, this was quite a memorable alpine coaster.

At the bottom of the hill, there was what seemed to be a little display model of the coaster. About twenty feet of track with a toboggan on it, I think intended for kids to have a feel for the ride. If you sit in it, you’ll actually slide forward very, very slowly. But then my gracious host stunned me by informing me that coaster-count actually includes this as a credit. So, of course, I had to ride it, making it by far the most suspect “cred” I’ve ever “gotten.”

Perhaps if my gracious host sees this, he can post the photo he took of this, ahem, credit.
 

TilenB

Strata Poster
Hah, when I first noticed coaster count added that to the database, I was very much surprised as well. I think I now use it as a prime reason why people shouldn't count the 'undefined' category (or at least not everything in it) that's on there. I only took photos of you riding it and I'm not exactly sure how you feel about posting photos that feature you (I've never noticed you posting one on the forums at least), so these are the ones I took of it a few years ago.

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Enjoy the rest of your trip!
 
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