Sunday, 31 July 2011


In 2011 the European Coaster Club's big trip was a circular tour of Germany starting and finishing in Munich with one day dipping into France.

In total we would visit over 20 parks in 2 weeks and ride a stupid number of rollercoasters along the way. I had done some of the parks in 2004 on a previous trip but there was still plenty of new parks to make this worthwhile, and it would be good to see how the parks I had been to before had changed in those 7 years.

Not wanting to just do theme parks I also tried to squeeze in some city exploration, which I've also covered here.

As ever here's the disclaimer. No offence is meant to anyone, some of this report is factual, most of it is the witterings of a mad man so take it with a pinch of salt. If you want an image please ask and I'll send you it.

I'll also mention that this took me 7 months to write up due to other commitments and major writers block so apologies for that...but as ever, I hope you enjoy it.

Bayern Park

The first park, a little over an hour away from Munich Airport was Bayern Park, a mid-sized family run park. The main reason for visiting this park was for their new coaster Freischutz, a new custom Maurer-Sohne launched ride.

The park mascot is a nationally dressed lion. The lion used to run wild around this Bavarian region until it was killed for it's fur and liederhosen, which is in high demand from specialist collectors.

Family parks typically have a mixture of rides and gardens: rides for the kids and gardens for the oldies. Bayern goes one better by freezing the kids in carbonite and planting them in the gardens.

This is Freischutz which looks amazing. I say "looks" because that's all we got to do. There had been a delay in the construction and the odds of the ride being open for our trip was touch-and-go. Gone, for us. However realising our plight, the park did very kindly allow us to walk around and under the ride where the opportunity to take some unique photos softened the blow.

We also happened to be there as they were loading the train onto the track. Yep, this ride is a single train ride and doesn't feature any mid-course brakes which means the coaster will fly around the track. The park seemed quite proud of the fact that this would offer 6 seconds of sustained 3Gs. For a family park this was certainly a big step up...and to some of us a bit too big. Time will tell whether the ride is the draw that the park are expecting.

The gardens were very well maintained.

Onto the coasters. Even without Freischutz running there were still four other rides to accumulate. Two of those are arguably the most basic of coasters, the Butterfly. These are silly little slides where you're pulled up to the top of one side and then released to coast back and forth from each end until the ride settles in the centre. The throughput is therefore quite terrible and on a coaster trip this invariably led to queues of adults who should know better. The game with riding these things therefore is to plan a time when the queues are at a minimum.

The littlest proper coaster is frog themed. It's sort of alright, still embarrassing but not as bad as the butterfly. Amphibian > Insect perhaps?

The big coaster is a large rollerskater ride, themed around a caterpillar with a penchant for staring. This ride was OK, let down by a pretty strict ride op who'd ensure the exit line was clear of public before sending the next train out, ruining the opportunity for photos.

At the centre of the park is a forest nature walk. Included in amongst the basic attractions was this quite neat log lift challenge. The final log, which can't be lifted by anyone is there to show what a Gorilla is capable of lifting. Education, and a workout combined. Unfortunately, despite hanging around, the gorilla didn't show up to justify their claims.

European Parks often feature kiddy attractions that we'd unlikely see in the UK. The most common has to be these inflatable bouncy mats. Kids love them, I can't quite get my balance on them and look stupid.

A quite cool mouse ride which despite it's appearance is not a coaster. Also notice how the kids are not discouraged from running amok amongst the ride.

At the back of the park is one of two toboggan rides in the park. This is the better of the two as it featured nice comfy seats instead of the basic plastic sled that you usually get. This ride usually costs 4 euros a ride but the park had kindly allowed us free rides, which we exploited.

The miniature boat ride for mini people, or was I playing with the tilt shift mode on the camera? The centre of the park features a large lake, which is quite scenic.

A uniquely themed spin ride.

More carbonite kids to keep the olds happy.

Inside the main eating hall with typical Bavarian touches inside. During your meal a Bavarian would come up and touch you.

More carbonite kiddies. 

At the end of the day we were given an hour riding on the caterpillar ride, which went down well, although I think the consensus amongst the group was that the toboggan ride was much better. The park is very pleasant and a nice gentle way to start the trip. We knew bigger and better parks were coming and whilst it was a shame that the signature ride wasn't running I think we all still had a good time.

Subsequent to the trip I've heard that the Freischutz coaster is terrible and no-one who's ridden it has had anything good to say about it...A shame.


First of the city crawls was on day 2 as we had a few hours to explore the city of Nuremburg; I say a few hours, that's true only if you're happy in getting up at 5am to do so! So up at 5 was exactly what I did and here're the photos of the city.

This is our hotel, and those are our 2 coaches. Despite the construction appearance the hotel was fine despite one of the Americans feeling the need to walk around the place in his boxers. You know who you are!

This is one of the outer walls to the old city. The city has a past that goes back to the 11th Century.

At the silly hour we were out the city clubs were just closing and those that had partied all night were making their home, except for the ones that were in too bad a state to do so. Lets just say the pigeons were well fed and I don't love the smell of vomit in the morning.

Being in the former Eastern Germany there was still a history of it's past adorning some of the buildings.

This is the Weisser Turm or "White Tower". It's home to the White Family who have lived in there for 20 generations.

This is the St Elizabeth church. I'm not sure if her surname was White. If so that family would have quite a monopoly on this side of town.

This amazing fountain is called the Ehekarussell or "marriage carousel". Built around the start of the 80s the piece by Hans Sachs tells the story of the highs and lows of marriage through 6 scenes. This fountain is arguably the most popular tourist attraction in the city...much to Starbuck's dismay.

Running east-west through the centre of the city is a river and crossing are various bridges made of different materials and each with their own history. That one in the distance is one of the wooden ones.

More east germany stuff, not a vulture looking to feast on the clubbers who never made it home.

That's the Max bridge, named after the Ernest Borgnine character in TV's Hart to Hart. Coincidentally there were two feuding families on either side of the river who had a big fight when the bridge was built. Rumour has it than when they met, it was moider!

This is the city's Toy Museum. Not that exciting really unless toys excite you. The city is home to the largest toy fair in the world so this is definitely the city for you if toys rock your world...You paedo!

The twin spired church is St Sebaldus. He's nothing more than the patron saint of Nuremburg. According to history he was a missionary and a hermit although I have no idea how that would work in practice? Perhaps he taught the word of God to those people who stumbled into his cave seeking shelter from the rain.

One of the city main squares. There are several.

I quite liked this style of architecture with the window extended out of the corner. I'm going to guess it's Gothic.

The morning sun begins to rise lighting the main church. Hurrah for the camera so far for giving a false impression of how light it was.

There aren't many fun rides in the city however I did come across this temporary slide installation. Unfortunately it wasn't open to the public and a bit too out-in-the-open to sneak a ride on.

These buildings sit at the foot of the city castle in the Tiergarten area.

Tilt Shifting a rather peculiar statue of a wabbit.

another statue in the Tiergarten. This is Sir Goldamere who accidentally killed the last known German dragon when he accidentally trod on it. His visibility was obscured by a rather stupid helmet given to him by his wife.

Patty Smith and Pennywise I've heard of but isn't "Shiny Gnomes" a great name for a band that's doomed to pale into insignificance? A quick check on tinternet revealed that they've actually been going for 25 years and are a well known band in the KrautRock scene.

That up there is the castle, which in German is "berg". This means that the full name for this is Nuremburg Berg. Chris de Burgh wanted to play here but it would have been too much of a tongue twister. The castle's history goes back to year 1000 or so they say; there's no real proof.

Looking back from the castle back down towards the hotel, way off in the distance. That's how far we'd strolled.

Cute corner adornment. People were dangling their children from a height way before Michael Jackson ever did!

I remember seeing similar artwork in Berlin. Must be a communist motif.

and more East German imagery.
Loving this architecture.

More sunlight on the church.

The rathaus is the city's council office. Every city in Germany has a rathaus and they're usually quite extravagant. This one was quite plain though. Contrary to those of us with limited German and who read everything in English this is not a building for rats...unless the officials are corrupt in which case it's appropriate.

In another square that's the Frauenkirche or "Church of Our Lady". Those spikey adornments indicate the building is of Gothic architecture. Black make-up around the windows is typically a clue also.

Classic Gothic Fountain in the square. During the Christmas season this square is home to a huge Christmas Fair. Whether this fountain is converted into a hoopla attraction isn't known.

Now if you were having to jump out of a burning building you wouldn't want something like this under you.

Strange fountain, which could also be turned into a fairground stall.

This other big twin towered church is St Lorenz and this one is of Medieval/Gothic design although some of it had to be rebuilt following it's bombing during WW2.

Lactating fountain. It's just water!

The entrance to St Lorenz. Amazing.

A little piece of London in another wise very German city.

Women and children are to walk around the roadworks. Men, just walk on through it.

Nuremburg Hauptbahnhof or Main train station is huge and can be found opposite the SE entrance to the old town. So if you're coming in by train this is where you'll arrive.

This is the Opera House.

Opposite the opera house is a little statue commemorating Richard Wagner, one of Germany's famous composers although he was born in Leipzig not Nuremburg. His most famous piece of music was probably flight of the Valkyries...and now you know why I made the vomit reference earlier on.