21-24th October 1999
After a nine-hour train/bus ride, Frank Kuipers and I arrived in Bremen. Bremen was to be my first experience of a German fair. On the Thursday evening we managed one ride on Booster, a perfect new Huss ride.
Heide Park was a big surprise! I hadn’t expected it to be so well themed – with such an eye for detail. Only the music at the Dutch village was a bit weird: they played a song that in the Netherlands is often played at funerals! Limit was a great deal less rough than El Condor, Vekoma’s prototype SLC. Other attractions were surprisingly good such as the big Log Flume and the Mine Train.
Saturday was our last day at the fair. The ERS on Eurostar was great, and my first time climbing a lift hill. Starworld, Black Hole and Booster were also great. This is definitely not my last German fair!
Sunday saw the trip going to my home park – Efteling. I was delighted that everyone enjoyed the park with some of the best dark rides like Fata Morgana and Dreamflight. We also paid a visit to the fairytale forest: the roots of the park. Someone made a big compliment: “Alton Towers is called a theme park, but it is not. It’s a leisure park, Efteling is a theme park.” Unfortunately, the coach departed at 15:00 so we had to say goodbye to our new English friends.
Well, what can I say? The highlight of this trip had to be Villa Volta at Efteling. Until this trip, I’d never ridden a Haunted Swing, but Villa Volta just blew my mind – the effect was totally convincing, and the ride chamber is so detailed.
Limit (Heide Park) was my first SLC, and as I am slightly too large to fit comfortably into the restraints, I made three rides my ‘limit’ (pun intended) for consecutive riding. I think this ride is very good – not the ‘hang and bang’ I was expecting.
The fair in Bremen was pretty good – although I’m not a fan of spinning rides, I did give Booster a go – and it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it looked.
After an early breakfast, we set off at 07:30 to Heide Park. As soon as we arrived everyone dashed over to the Limit (the park’s newest ride). It was running really well and I enjoyed every minute of the ERS. I thought this was a very interesting and well laid out park.
After some free time we met up again for lunch and a talk with some of the park representatives. They told us about their new ride for 2001. We were even allowed to see the model, which no one outside of people from Heide Park had seen. That evening we headed back to Bremen for the fair. It was very busy and I only managed four rides (Eurostar, Starworld, Frisbee and one I haven’t ridden before, Booster). It twisted you sideways, and you were spun and thrown in all directions.
Another early start Sunday saw us in Efteling, which was themed like a Disney park and was really fascinating and enchanting. The group I toured the park with had a great advantage, as one of them, Jos, worked there and guided us to all the main attractions. I think my favourite ride at Efteling is Villa Volta; it was the best haunted swing I have ever ridden.
I was a bit scared at hardly knowing anyone as I’d only been on one previous Club trip at Flamingo Land, my local theme park.
Everyone on the trip was very friendly. It was nice to be able to go on whatever rides you wanted to and not feel pressurised into going onto something you didn’t want to just because you were in a group!
On the Friday, we headed off to Heide Park where I managed to get five goes in a row on Limit. I never thought I’d find another ride as much fun as Nemesis at Alton Towers but the Limit excelled.
In the evening, we spent a couple of hours at the fair, which was right next door to our hotel. I have never seen anything so bright and big in all my life – the size was beyond words. I went on quite a few rides with a friend, who I asked to go on an indoor ride Starworld to find out what it did. From the outside of it, some of the cars seemed to be spinning and I don’t like to spin too much. I spent about 15 minutes psyching myself up to go on a tower ride and really enjoyed it, especially the part where you climb slowly to the top and then drop right down. I watched the Mouse from the top of the big wheel but decided that the mice were running at a manic speed and saved it for the next day. Unfortunately, the next day’s speed was a bit too slow for me!
I did the original work on this trip and had got a lot done but had to stop due to “proper” work commitments. All that was needed was to find a hotel in Bremen. The way we did this at the time was to get a list of all the hotels in the city and send faxes to them to acquire prices. I’d ignore the top two or three because they would usually be too expensive. I had no luck at all in finding a place.
I handed all my work over to Chris McFarlane, and he carried on looking for a hotel. He immediately faxed the top one and got a good price. We usually work out trips by saying a hotel per night cost should be about £30.00 per person at the most. Chris got a price for the top hotel in Bremen for £32.00 – we booked it.
When the coach pulls into a hotel, the organiser will go in ahead of everyone to make sure the rooms are ready. I went into the marble-lined foyer and saw a woman walking along in a full-length fur coat, small dog in hand. I knew we were in for a treat. They had a piano and singer in the bar (God help them later!).
Best of all though, it was next to the fair, so when it ended at around midnight, guess where everyone who’d made good use of the beer tent headed? I am sure if we phone them and try and book rooms now, it’ll be full!