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Photo TR: Tom's Spanish Aventura


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Right, so over the last couple of days I've been out of England in a slightly warmer climate of Mediterranean coastal Spain.

 

The trip came about when Divv found a flight sale on Ryanair a couple of months ago. So he got in touch while I was at Alton Towers, and I liked the idea a lot. So he booked the flights, and 6 weeks later we'd be going to Port Aventura. Now Ryanair is fantastic for getting cheap flights, and ours were no expection. In fact, they cost a grand total of £13 return. That's $26 to get to Spain and back. Almost too good to be true when you consider that £13 is what I pay in petrol to drive 40 miles to Liverpool and back. We then also added Tibidabo onto the trip, as it was open a few hours, and it was easy to get to Barcelona by train from Port Aventura.

 

Now before I continue, I must say that I'm not the biggest fan of Spain as a whole, but I've always been unable to put my finger on exactly why. Maybe it's just the elite tourist in me, because the Salou area where the park is has a lot of holiday apartments which deal with a lot of British families every summertime. I am normally not one to go near a tourist trap, but these apartments and the area they are in are just that. When the airport/hotel coach dropped other passengers off on the way to our hotel in this most disenchanting of areas, it made me realise why I had never gone to Spain as a child. And how thankful that we weren't staying there.

 

Port Aventura - Part Uno

 

The Hotel El Paso were we stayed was very nice, with a good selection of activities for adults and kids, and a cheap bar to while the night away. At first it did seem that it was out on a limb somewhat, away from the main PortAventura Hotel, theme park and waterpark. But despite the barren land on one side, you quickly forget about that once you get inside. Now after the day is done, you can either while away the evening in El Coyote or Merida enjoying the food, or you can hit the bar on the opposite side of the two restaurants. However for some reason, the kids evening entertainment show courtesy of a magician, a few colourful staff members and a 6ft tall Woody Woodpecker is also held in the bar between about 8.30 and 11pm. Not good if you want a quiet drink inside. It seemed a little surprising to have it all under the same area, but then again after seeing how Parque de Attractiones Madrid opened their Tornado coaster after it was covered in scaffold one morning, almost nothing surprises me over there anymore.

 

But enough of that. As for the park itself, it's very well themed and layed out. You can certainly see where Universal could have got some of their inspiration for Islands of Adventure just by the big circular layout.

 

I'm sure that most of your attention spans will just be waining and eager for lots of Dragon Khan photos. Well they're not far off. As for the ride, it was awesome. Once you leave the first drop, it's non-stop intensity from start to fisnish. Why don't B&M build intense stuff like this anymore, why?

 

Furius Baco was an experience I won't forget in a while. After jumping into the unique Intamin trains, watching a load of drunk monkeys, and then getting launched at over 80mph, you are then taken on what is probably some of the most spine-shattering 25 seconds of roller coaster anywhere, Especially on the outside seats. And it's worse the further back you go. It almost feels like it's going to come of the rails and leave you skewered in tiny little pieces on the vineyards flora. But for some reason, it was rather funny. Maybe the idea is to get really drunk before riding so you don't feel the shuddering round the course, then see if you can hold onto your stomach through the twist, and then see who vomits into the lake.

 

The less said about Stampida the better really. It was once supposed to be really good, but now it's more a rib-brusing ballcrusher, as my right testicle will happily point out. The little family wooden coaster that intertwines with the big woodie was much better!

 

Hurakan Condor was another good Intamin drop tower, made a bit poor by the lack of choosing what side you want to ride and by the anticlimatic ride cycle. It just pulls you up, tilts you at the top, then after about 2 seconds of being held, you fall 300ft or so. It's not a bad ride, the theming is amazing, but the experience is runied by the lack of seating choice and the tilt at the top.

 

Temple Del Fuego was a really excellent indoor ride, imagine Backdraft but in an Indiana Jones Mayan temple and you're getting there. Anyway, it was excellent.

 

El Diablo was a bizzare mine train. It goes from being fun at the start, to terrible in the middle, to more fun at the end. You'll have to ride it to see what I mean. Either way, the park really should have bought a Vekoma Mine Train instead of this.

 

The Polynesian section was very nice. Really well themed, a Vekoma roller skater for the little kids (and big kids), and a few other rides including the Sea Odyssey simulator, complete with talking dolphin. Yes, that's a talking dolphin.

 

All in all, a good day at the park. And here are the photos...

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At least our Hotel Express Pass saved us from waiting ages for it!

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It just comes to an almost sudden stop before making eye contact with the Third Lift.

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El Diablo should really be called El Tonto.

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There goes the stand-up floorless side. Thanks to the stupid queue setup, I didn't ride that side. However, Divv did ride it and got the John Wayne treatment good.

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Hurakan Condor can be seen miles from the park. This is up close and personal.

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It says a lot when it has a longer line than the bigger, faster woodie!

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Slightly less of a ballache was Tomahawk, which intertwines with Stampida.

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But it's too late for the men of these two trainloads.

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Spanish grafitti says "Donate your sperm before it's too late!"

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Ironically we did choose the good luck side first time. It was the blue side that brought on the ballache!

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What do you do when both sides are as bad as each other?

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Stampida en sus testículos!

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The world's longest bar is almost longer than Baco itself. True story.

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The train flies into the brakes, ful of very shaken passengers.

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The whole ride area is themed around a vineyard, and it looks great.

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After getting inside, we went straight to Furius Baco.

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There's still a reminder of who used to own this place.

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Once inside, Dave discovers how Woody celebrates the holiday season.

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The line for day tickets was pretty long. Fortunately, we didn't have to queue thanks to staying on resort.

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After getting rid of everything we didn't need, it was time to visit the park.

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And here's our room, or more specifially my bed in our room.

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The hedge maze is certainly great if you're a dwarf.

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But the Hotel El Paso was just a tad nicer.

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And after a quick tour de force of where not to stay, we arrvied to face a Woody covered in grafitti. Lovely!

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I can see you, PortAventura!

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Off to arrivals we go.

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The cheap, cheerful and sometimes downright silly Ryanair got us to Reus early.

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Here's what Reus Airport looks like when you arrive.

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This trip report shall return shortly!

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Chinese Woody teaches kids about the Great leap forward!

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Port Aventura - Part Dos!

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And the wind nearly killed the fountain!

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Fireworks ended the day.

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And Dragon Khan at night was incredible!

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Night comes in over Polynesia.

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Hurakan Condor just looks pretty, because it has stopped running. Who'd have guessed that a big Intamin ride would be so useless in high winds!

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As the night drew in, the bitchslap roll became more of a Floyd Mayweather left hook.

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So guess where we went back to!

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Sadly it broke down before we got the money shot. So this is all you get.

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I wasn't the only loser taking photos!

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A quick dash to Baco for some photos before it closed for the night.

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Inversion numero siete - El Corkscrew! Or El Flatspin if you're a total nerd.

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Inversion numero seises. El bonus Loop!

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Inversion numero tres. El bitchslap!

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Inversion numero uno. El Derek Ruth Special!

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Back up to Dragon Khan for another ride and som more photos!

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It was a bit cold for Tukuti Splash this time. And a bit concrete as well.

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We all live in a Yellow Submarine, Yellow Submarine, Yellow Submarine.

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Sea Odyssey was a big simulator ride about deep sea exploration.

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It even has a "cheeky bastard" queue line!

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Check out that that hip-shaking Vekoma roller skater, Tami-Tami!

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For now, Aloha Polynesia!

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It really whips through those corkscrews. And we shall be back here later.

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Bonus Loop!

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The ride is now 12 years old, and it still looks brilliant!

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I'm a litte Cobra Roll, short and stout. This is my tongue that's gonna spit you out!

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Ride first, take photos later!

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Dragon Khan casts a big shadow over the whole China area.

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(I'm in the green hoodie btw...)

 

I found Baco quite rough in the outer seats, but still fantastic.

 

However, on the inside seats it was absolutley brilliant - fast, intense and a true rush.

 

The roughness on the outer seats was weird, it wasn't head banging or neck chopping, but that weird roughness brought about by intensity (where your brain bounces up and down... only some people seem to get it. Speed at Oakwood gave me the same headache inducing treatment too).

 

Great weekend.

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^Thanks Mark! At the moment there's more chance of Korea reuniting before I get my photos up, but I'll try my best.

 

^^I didn't recognise the username for a second! Yes, it was an awesome weekend.

 

^^^I repeat...

 

"Furius Baco was an experience I won't forget in a while. After jumping into the unique Intamin trains, watching a load of drunk monkeys, and then getting launched at over 80mph, you are then taken on what is probably some of the most spine-shattering 25 seconds of roller coaster anywhere, Especially on the outside seats. And it's worse the further back you go. It almost feels like it's going to come of the rails and leave you skewered in tiny little pieces on the vineyards flora. But for some reason, it was rather funny. Maybe the idea is to get really drunk before riding so you don't feel the shuddering round the course, then see if you can hold onto your stomach through the twist, and then see who vomits into the lake."

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Larry, if it wasn't for the testicle trauma, I might be inclined to agree!

 

Anyway, onto the next day...

 

Tibidibidabo - Part 1

 

This is gonna have a lot of photos, so those of you with a rubbish internet connection, work harder and get more download speed!

 

Before I begin, I want to say a special thanks to Oriol, who organised entry and getting us to the park. I can't express my gratitude enough.

 

I didn't have much expectation for Tibidabo. I had only seen a few pictures of the place prior to visiting. When we got there, I was pleasantly surprised with a park that was a great laugh from beginning to end.

 

It's set right atop of one of the hills surrounding Barcelona, and the views are simply stunning. There's no other way to describe it. You're far away from the typical tourist areas, more into what Spain should look like. Not a bunch of shabby hotels and dodgy shops selling fake goods to stupid British tourists. The park is set on 6 different levels on the side of the hill, and there are elevators for those who don't have the stamina to walk up and down a hill all day.

 

There's no big coaster there, but the one they have, which is a home made Galaxi style ride, which is smoother than any Pinfari or real Galaxi I've ever done. But this park isn't all about big garish rides. There are a few, but the park's signature attractions are the unique stuff there which has stood the test of time.

 

The infamous "Plane on a Stick" is a perfect example. When it was built, it must have been a fantastic simulation of what flying would be like (albeit a little slower than the real thing). It's still a ride which you can't miss out on when going there, but with a slow ride cycle and a low capacity, you really need to time it well.

 

The other ride on a stick is even older than the plane. Imagine a Booster ride, with two buckets on the end, and that's what you have. It certainly doesn't fling you around or into the scenery, but takes you up high to get great views of the city below. Like a Booster, it has to stop at the top to unload the other bucket. And it's quite a sudden jolt. It certainly made all of us nervous when the bucket began to swing at what must be about 120ft up!

 

Another ride I want to mention is Hotel Krueger. A walkthru maze with live actors that comes complimentary with the park entrance is a bonus, but the experience is terrifying, espeically if you have no idea what the hell is being said. But the acting on display was certainly enough to put chills in your spine for the right reasons. It was the longest wait of the day at 45 mins due to the actors needing a break from the scaremongering, but well worth it.

 

The suspended monorail-come-dark ride, "Magetzam" was very interesting to say the least. Low budget dark rides can be great if they're done right, and this one was. There was even a scary clown actor at the end to frighten unsuspecting passengers, of which we were. The Castle Mysterioso was a great funhouse which brought back good memories of Blackpool's Noah's Ark and Southport's Funhouse. And the Ferris Wheel, which looks innocent enough when stationary was running like a flat out of hell (I'll take my "worst pun of the year award" now).

 

The newest ride was a Fabbri Air Diver, which takes you up, drops you and lets you swing for a bit. We didn't have to queue for this, but I can imagine on a busy day that with only 4 per ride, this wouldn't be worth waiting for. If doesn't help that it takes forever for the ride to stop at the end. I like a good long cycle, but hanging about for a ride that should have stopped isn't much fun. But if it's got no line, do it. It's not too bad.

 

Even the food was good. There's lots of places to pick and choose from, and we opted for the place next to the Castle Mysterioso. I had some pasta with bolognese sause and cheese, and it was rather good for what it's worth. And the best news is, if your name is Elissa Alvey you can even have the pasta plain.

 

The only letdown of the day was the Transmobil being closed. This looked like a cool little ride on the side of the hill. It's also where the new coaster, which if built would replace it. So I'd be sad to miss out on it altogther, but I wouldn't be too sad if it got replaced with the Lisebergbanan inspired proposal that is looking to get built there.

 

It was the little things that made this day great. The random clowns and staff in costume walking around and operating the elevators made eveybody smile. Even the staple rides like the Dodgems were good. And at the end of the day, the closing music was the Menomena song from the Muppets, which has some comedy value and gets the park cleared pretty damn fast!

 

What I'm about to say may sound completely mad, but I had more fun there than at Port Aventura. Maybe it's because I've been to so many resort parks that I wasn't totally blown away by it. Don't get me wrong, Port Aventura is a fantastic park with amazing theming and some great rides, but Tibidabo was so much more of a laugh. It makes no false pretenses about what it is, and is good honest fun for the whole family. I loved it.

 

Here are the photos...

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These two old dears mark the end of this section. Don't worry, the real rides are coming soon!

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Yes, it's a working model of someone getting hanged!

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Now what could this be?

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I think you can tell we're definetly not in America!

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The Funicular model even works like a real Funicular!

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This is how the park looks today if you are a giant.

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Even the Bucket ride gets a model!

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Almost all the models are working pint-size replicas of past and current rides.

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Some of the detail in the models was amazing.

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NOT a credit. Not even if you put your finger on the train.

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But even before our first ride, we found a model museum of stuff from Tibidabo's history.

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You are welcomed to the main park by a hairy man!

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But best of all, the Zamperla Slime ride! Haha, I reckon that Bruno and his fellow Italians have been watching too much Ghostbusters!

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Anyone who speaks the lingo care to translate what's been grafittied here?

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We even got some culture credits!

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Before going into the main park, we had a walk along the top section. Not a bad place to put a hotel!

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And there is that plane on a stick!

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Welcome to Tibidabo!

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The group. From left to right, Divv, Tom, Jake, Oriol and Ben.

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And Jesus was certainly smiling on us today!

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The view was gorgeous. And this is only from the car park!

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However, we hadn't even got up the hill before Divv's stomach became unnerved. 30 seconds before this was taken, the last night in the bar caught up with him.

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The drive up to the top of the hill is a little unnerving for those not with a sense of adventure. Personally, I'd love to have a road like this to drive to work on!

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We were even early enough to grab some breakfast before Oriol picked us up!

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1 hour and 20 mins later, we had arrived at Barcelona Sants station.

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Amazingly, the train came from out of the abyss, and on time! And for only 11.70 Euros, it's the cheapest way of getting to Barcelona.

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No, that's not a nuclear explosion going on. That's a result my poor camera set up taking this photo of us waiting at the station. So I compensated with photoshop.

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After a brief walk, we got to the station. It's a bit barren and scary, but nevertheless, we had a train to catch.

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However after a night of cheap drinks and kids dancing to "Hey Baby", we were a bit worse for wear.

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Morning at the El Paso, and the day was looking good.

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Tibidibidabo - Part 2

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That's a view I don't mind seeing a few more times.

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I'll end this section with a couple of shots of Barcelona.

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...A scary moonface guards the doors!

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Coming up to the first dark section...

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Good views also come as standard.

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Magetzam is the suspended monorail which is also a dark ride.

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Everyone was just ogling the beauty of the Catalan capital.

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Guys, the view is the other way!

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Told you.

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Me, a ferris wheel and a hell of a view.

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Divv and a yellow building. No funny caption here.

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And now for the Ferris Wheel on crack! Any faster and we'd be getting some airtime.

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But Jesus was still protecting us, so all was well.

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We were all a bit apprehensive about being in a bucket 120ft up.

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For the love of God, nobody tip the bucket!

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You get a good overview of the top level.

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And now it's time for Bucket On A Stick!

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Oriol makes sure we don't die on this ride!

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The home made Galaxi was smoother than a Jazz Club compere.

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Then it was back upto the top level for some Tibi classics.

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Normally I'd do a before and after shot, but there's no difference. When these two get out they'll be just as dry as they are now.

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There's also a Log Flume which doesn't soak you to the bone.

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This is Tom friendly food!

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After a few goes around the Castle, we got some lunch.

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We can't die on the slide inside because it's blocked off.

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Jake tries not to die on the stairs.

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Castle Mysterio...spooky!

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It had some nice moments!

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We carried on down to the Tibidabo Express powered coaster.

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Right now, Ben and Jake are possibly the biggest swingers anywhere.

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But we soon found one! This is Pndol, the Air Diver.

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As I was getting restless for rides, I exercised with a snowman.

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Well not this one. It's closed today. =(

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Right time for some real rides. But where to go first...

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Awesome pics. That certainly reminds me of one of those really weird and random Japanese parks we did Tom...perhaps a bit like Rakutenchi?

 

Yeah, it had a very similar feel to Rakutenchi.

 

Tom, AWESOME report of Tibidabadidobado! From everything I've now seen of this place, it could easily be the coolest "quirky" park in the world. You have a great way of laying out your report. Keep up the great work.

 

Oh, and the train station.....just plain creepy.

 

Thanks, I'm inspired by the best!

 

The train station was really strange. I honestly didn't expect a train to turn up. I'm more of a car person anyway, but I'm glad it worked out well so we didn't have to drive.

 

I only wish the Port Aventura report was a bit better, but I just didn't have as much fun as Tibidabo so I didn't take as many photos. But there will always be a next time.

 

Hey ho, never mind. Next set of photos now!

 

Tibidibidabo - Part 3

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And I'll finish with this one of Barcleona at night. Thanks for reading!

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Even when it's gone, it still makes a beautiful skyline.

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We should really pay homage to this thing.

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So I won't bother.

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Sometimes captions simply aren't necessary.

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Ben goes for all angles as we cram in a few sunset photos.

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Even Barcelona even got a look in at the sky.

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The rides come to and end as the sun goes down.

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But soon, it was sunset, and the sky suddenly became a symphony of colours.

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And the jet setters get their wings.

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Divv squeezes in.

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Barcelona still looks great with a Plane on a Stick!

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But we couldn't put this ride off any longer!

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Waveswingers always make me smile.

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But the rest of the ride was great!

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This is a bit of the update we like to call Pain 101.

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This Hurakan was actually much better than the namesake at Port Aventura!

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After his earlier date with last night, Divv sat this Topspin out.

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Jake insisted on a picture for his Myspace on the way down.

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After we crashed our dodgems, we went to give the staff some more nightmares with our awful Spanish!

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The ride is actually called "Crash Cars". And Oriol gave us an awesome amount of time to cause total carnage!

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Divv was faster than the speed of light!

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The Dodgems were great because they have a huge area to drive around.

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And I think this snowman is scarred for life too!

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Hotel Krueger scared the hell out of us.

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Gotta go down, way down below all of this...

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Time to go back for some more rides, and on the way we all scare the hell out of the clowns!

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Even "Plane on a stick" gets a spot on the tree!

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Christmas was in full swing at the park.

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Just in case you had forgotten where we were.

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Wow Tom! Long and really nice PTR there!

 

It was a pleasure to give you that lift to the park and even more to save your lives on the Galaxy Coaster hahaha I hope you really enjoyed the park and to see you around again really soon (well, hopefully next year when the Vekoma-credit opens).

 

And yes, that Ferris Wheel is pretty damn fast... and the best thing is that, like the Plane Ride, the operator has to brake it as smoothly as possible (there's no automatic braking system).

 

BTW: "Soy tonta" stands for "I'm stupid" and the dark ride's full name is "Magatzem de les Bruixes i els Bruixots" which translates into "The Wizarding Warehouse".

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^Yeah, if that coaster becomes a reality I would seriously reconsider coming back next year!

 

Just before this trip report is over, there is an epilogue of sorts.

 

At Stupid O'Clock on Sunday morning, we got up to get our coach, only to find our driver had lost the list of stops that he was going to in the windy conditions that morning.

 

Next time, I might just hire a car instead.

 

We had a final reminder of what a dump the resort area of Salou was like, and then we headed for the airport and home.

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Here's one last look at Port Aventura from under the wing. These trip reports will return next year. See you then!

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Ryanair is ready to go, and so are we.

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A quick bit of duty free shopping before we get on the plane. Remember kids, cigarrettes killed my father, And raped my mother!

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Time to leave our bus behind.

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And it says hello just as we get to the airport.

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The sun comes up over the Med.

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After the driver remembers where he's going, we're on our way to pick up other passengers. First stop, Hotel Whale's Vagina.

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We say one last goodbye to Woody before jumping on board.

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Here's our bus. And the driver has no idea where he's going.

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