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Photo TR: Chuck Does It Scandi Style


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Grona Lund and Liseberg were also my 2 favorite parks of the trip. it's hard to put one above the other.

 

The hospitality from Grona Lund was top notch, that's not to say there was anything wrong with Liseberg, but the personnel attention from the owners and a show slide from the park historian put Grona Lund over the top.

 

Both parks gave us free beer and at both parks I had excellent fresh salmon for lunch.

 

Then again the hospitality from PowerPark was awesome, also.

 

Oh man, the Scandi Trip was just so phenomenal. Annual Scandi Trip - I'm in!

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Chuck, thanks for keeping this up, a pleasure re-living this. Grona Lund was fantastic.

 

^Larry, one of my funniest memories was that combo tower that kept thinking, "I think I can, I think I can" but couldn't, until we all got off and back on again less you (the smallest person) LoL

 

The fun house was just awesome, I wish we still had those here.

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Glad to hear that everybody's enjoying this TR. Well, not "everyone" everywhere in the world is enjoying it. That was just a figure of speech. Well, thank you, regardless.

 

Chapter 12: Way Out in the Middle of Finnish Nowhere--Power Park

 

It's a long haul from Grona Lund to Power Park, both by land and by sea. We boarded a ferry for an overnight trip from Stockholm to Helsinki. Actually, the ferry was sort of a "mini-cruise-ship," complete with a casino, duty-free store, huge buffet restaurant, and a couple of bars. It was nice, smooth ride to Finland that evening. After that, it was six hours in a bus (not as nicely appointed as the ferry, but, hey, it's a bus).

 

Power Park seems to be in the middle of nowhere, but it's already something of a "destination," with an excellent hotel (best of the trip), campground, riding stables, the largest go-kart circuit in Europe, and, of course, an amusement park. When Robb and Elissa first visited this park about three or four years ago, they said it was like going to a "very nice carnival"--that is, lots of rides, clean grounds, but not much in the way of theming.

 

A lot has changed since then. The original bare buildings that house shops and restaurants now sport very nice facades suggesting the American West or Olde Europe, and the landscaping is quite pretty. Even the old travelling "fun fair" ghost train has been replaced with a very good shooting dark ride. This is a park on the "grow."

 

It also had the second-best woodie of the trip:

 

Thunderbird--This is very nice, compact GCI ride, and our ERT session on it was great. There's a bit of air, although laterals are the main attraction here--that and a very decpetive layout. We actually set some "speed records" on this thing, especially in the legendary "fat man's train." The staff had never seen it run this fast before.

 

Cobra--This is, easily, the best Vekoma Boomerang I've ever ridden. I'm still not a big fan of these rides as a group, but this one isn't really rough, and it runs quite well.

 

Joyride--Kind of a standard "fun fair" type coaster. Not bad, but not too exciting, either.

 

Mine Train--A kiddie with a goofy-looking train. Fine for what it is.

 

Outside of Thunderbird, I think my favorite attraction here was the shooter--lots of targets, but a limited number of bullets (so don't just blast away, like Divv and I did the first time out). And there, is of course, the gigantic go-kart track. Really, it looks like Formula 1 cars should be racing around this course. The TPR Gran Prix was fun, but I doubt that NASCAR will come calling for me anytime soon. The good news is that I managed to shave eight seconds off my time between heats. The bad news is that I came in dead last overall. There's an indoor kart circuit, too.

 

Oh, well. Like Hot Fuzz said, "You drive like my grandmother!" And I really enjoyed myself at Power Park, as did the rest of the group. The staff was great, the food was good (mmm--smoked reindeer), and they treated us really well. Thanks for a great stay, Power Park!

 

Here's a look at Power Park . . . wait. First, we have to get to Helsinki.

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Too late. Looks like this lad has been at sea too long.

 

Next stop, Power Park.

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Avast! A garrison! Stow the contraband!

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Arr! Thar be Helsinki on the horizon!

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Weird scenes inside the karoke bar.

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"Could someone throw me a piece of bread or somethin' here? Really, I'll swoop down and take a Dorito from your hand if you give me half a chance."

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Ahh, such a night.

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Ahoy, cruise ship! Don't ye know thar be pirates in these waters?

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Hmm--I count a one rascal, two scoundrels, a villain, two knaves, one devil, a couple of black sheep, and one bad egg.

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Tall ship--check. Star to sail her by . . . not yet.

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As I said before, Stockholm is a beuatiful city. Even my big mug can't ruin it.

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Aye, we always gets a bit melancholy when we first puts out to sea.

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My God! Giant Mecha-Giraffes! The horror! The horror!

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Bye-bye Grona Lund! We'll miss you.

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Hmm--I hope no helicopters are scheduled to land any time soon.

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No, it's a ship--here's proof.

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Where am I--Vegas? One of the nicer hotels in Reno?

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The head was a bit cramped, though.

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The cabins were nicer than we expected them to be.

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Arr! High time we took to sea again!

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This chapter is brought to you by that treat that all felines crave: McNasty Meals! Endorsed by Angus McNasty himself! McNasty Meals--for that fresh-killed taste!

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The makers of McNasty Meals in no way endorse the previous picture. We are against dressing up cats in any sort of "cute" outfits. Or was that a dog? It's rather difficult to tell.

 

If we'd known about that picture, we would've withdrawn our sponsorship. Unfortunately, Chuck already used the money to buy a six pack.

 

On to Power Park.

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Back in ancient times, zebras were bigger than T-Rexes and used them for food. More to come.

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"Grr! Grr! I'm a velociraptor!"

 

"No you're not! Cut that out!"

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"This is nearly as good as the Boomerang."

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Somehow, I missed riding this thing. I think I was at the end of the Mine Train line when everybody else headed over here.

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But, hey, we got over it.

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At first, we just felt so cheap and sad.

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Hmm--smells like kiddie credit.

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Yep--I'd actually ride it agin.

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. . . but ya done a pretty fair job with this 'un.

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Now, Mr. Vekoma, y'all know that I'm not crazy 'bout yer boomerangs . . .

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Now this was a pleasant surprise.

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They actually overshot the brakes and had to ride again.

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"Oh, there it is."

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"Where is the joy? Where is the joy?"

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This was originally the "Happy! Happy! Happy! Ride," but they ran out of room on the sign.

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The key to Power Park has always been Powerland. The Greeks knew it. The Carthaginians knew it. Now you know it.

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Where's Lou? It's time to go. Oh, there she is.

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Hmm--looks like someone sprang for the "Power Park" option package at the local Chevy dealer.

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Now that is one big go-kart track. Mario Andretti would've been proud to make out with Danica Patrick at such a track.

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A sign! Give us a sign! When, oh Lord, will be get . . . oh. Never mind.

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But being a sanctioned "MegaDog" retailer brings great responisbilities.

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This little gas station and mini-mart didn't know what hit them when our bus stopped there for lunch. I think they made enough euros to take the week off after feeding us.

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McNasty Meals come in many flavors. Your feline will flip for "Rat and Squirrel Tuscany," "Vole Giblets in a White Wine Sauce," or "Robin Guts Salsa Verde."

 

McNasty Meals--if Angus can kill it, you can eat it.

 

Here's some more Power Park.

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Who's "loitering"? I'm just taking a nap here. One more set of pics to come.

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Look how freakin' fast that sucker is goin'! And it's not even the "fat man's train."

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Up close and personal with TPR and Thunderbird.

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. . . and takin' names!

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Settin' park speed records . . .

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I really enjoyed this ride.

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"Thunderbird video--take 2!"

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"Shh! Don't spill the beans, Stanley!"

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Doesn't Hanno look like Stan Laurel here? "Say, Ollie, why don't we tell the wives we have ERT on Thunderbird?"

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What's the word?

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"Reach fer the sky, varmints!"

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"Y'all best keep your eyes open. I hear that Big Mike feller is in town."

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"I climb this rope all day. That's why they call me 'Climbs Rope All Day.'"

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Well, might as well go and shoot stuff.

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. . . and the Cisco Kid.

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. . . "Boyz in the Hood," . . .

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In there you'll find memorbilia related to the Master of Suspense, . . .

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Snacky snack snack time at the Cafe de Random References Cinematique.

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By now, Patrick is, no doubt, cackling like the Wicked Witch of the West.

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These poor souls look resigned to their fate.

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Right guys?

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But there are plenty of people who loved it.

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For some reason, I don't find being strapped to an enormous spinning car seat on a stick to be all that appealing.

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This ride, however, is not very "Chuck friendly."

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At last--a ride of one's own!

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McNasty Meals--dinner the McNasty way!

 

It's like Angus always says: "If you don't kill it, how will you know how good it tastes?"

 

One last look at Power Park.

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Time to roll out. Power Park was a lot of fun.

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These Star Flyers are all over the place.

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They even themed the walkway.

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Or it may just mean "octopus" or something.

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I think this is Finnish for "pissed-off fish."

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Power Park's verion of Lothlorien, where elves live inside rustic sex toys.

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Hmm--appears to be a character "meet and greet."

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Larry and I decided to check out this bizarre little path.

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So that's what happened to my wallet! Pooh picked my pocket!

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Plenty of mayhem, lots of wipeouts, and even one destroyed kart--just what the fans came to see!

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Here's the leader board. Tom ("Shockwave") was the big winner.

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. . . yet fun.

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The race was unnerving . . .

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As is Robb.

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Lou is pretty easy to spot.

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It's pretty hard to tell who's who in these helmets.

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"To the winner goes the coveted TPR Gran Prix trophy. Everyone else will have the satisfaction of knowing that they drive faster than Chuck."

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Time to hit the track.

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If it's good enough for Asterix and his big buddy, it's good enough for you.

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It was a very nice place.

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Back to the hotel for dinner and a good night's sleep--the Gran Prix is tomorrow.

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The hotel. The food at the hotel! The Mini TPRix. Power Park. Booster!

 

That was a really great part of the tour. The timing was perfect for everything, including a great non-sunset we could see from our prix track view balcony window. Great part of the trip.

 

Sorry you didn't like Booster, Chuck. I loved it and rode it 5 times! I think it helped that this was a slightly smaller version than the biggie that's here, at Playland (Revelation). And that it was included in the park's admission (ours is an UpCharge) made it a must-ride for myself. And, I really enjoyed it, LOL!

 

Excellent play-by-play of this near-end of the tour, Chuck. Looking forward to more, right up to the.......... ........Finnish.

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Chapter 13: Again, at the Edge of Wetness--Sarkanniemi

 

It was raincoats and ponchos again for at least some of the day at the second-to-last park of TPR's Scandinavian tour: Sarkanniemi. Being as this is an aquatic park, sort of a mini-Sea World, it was pretty good weather for fish and ducks--but the day was hardly a washout.

 

This is another urban park, but with a difference. The city is ringed by some rather large lakes, and the view from the park's sky tower was excellent, despite the gloomy clouds. The park itself isn't particularly fancy. It has a very 1970s feel to it (the station and queue for Tornado, an Intamin invert, look positively industrial), but there's a good mix of attractions here, and the staff treated our group very well (ERT on a number of rides and access to an unenclosed section of the sky tower that's closed to the public).

 

The coaster mix is quite eccentric:

 

Tornado--This is the invert with the zero-g roll in a tunnel, and it's great. The ride itself isn't very fast, but it's very smooth, and I like the layout. Even in the pouring rain, I rode it five times. As I said, it doesn't move at record speed, but it never really lets up, either--a totally different feel than the B&M inverts.

 

Jet Star--We nearly missed this old Schwartzkopf due to rain, but a break in the deluge and some fast work by the ride's crew made sure that quite a few of us got to ride. The whole structure looks rather rickety, but that just adds to the fun. This was my first Jet Star.

 

Half-Pipe--Is it a flat? Is it a credit? Depends on who you ask, I guess, but it's fun. This was my first experience with one of these things, and it is a bit hair-raising when you reach the top of the spike.

 

Trombi--My first Zamperla Volare was, let's say, an "interesting" experience; after all, I've never ridden in a suspended rat cage or iron maiden before. If the Spanish Inquisition had had access to this technology, we'd all be Catholic now. Not as painful as I'd feared, but very awkward and uncomfortable.

 

Korkkiruuvi--Hey, who's up for a Vekoma Whirlwind? Anybody? Hello? (Actually, not horrible, but not really good, either.)

 

I skipped the kiddie coaster.

 

There's a good-sized collection of flats here, as well as a very strange ghost train that combines goofy cartooniness with flat-out gore (everyone needs to ride it at least once). All in all, I enjoyed Sarkanniemi, even if I did skip the dolphin show, which I heard was quite good.

 

Step right up and have a look for yourselves.

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Yeah, what is this? Some sort of Celtic or Druid thing? More to come.

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"Make the evil people stop!"

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. . . or the fact that the Brits knew the song.

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I don't know what's scarier--this singing tree . . .

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"Welcome aboard the 'I have no friends train.' We hope you enjoy your ride."

 

I like this ride a lot--more Intamin inverts, please.

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But without the track, the trains would just be large paperweights. There is that.

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. . . while the poor track is just, well, gray and drab.

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I mean, the yellow and orange trains are so bright and sunny and all . . .

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I wonder if the gray track feels left out or something?

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Well, whatever. Both trains do some fun stuff.

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"Screw orange! It's all about the yellow train, baby!"

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The orange train is pretty cool.

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You know, I think I saw this same sculpture on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco back in the 1970s. Some old hippie dude was welding them on the spot and selling them for $50 a pop.

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"Mommy is too smart to ride the Volare, right, Kristen?"

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"Poke them with the soft cushions! Confess! Confess!"

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"No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!"

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Oh, dear god.

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"Yes. We are Robb's thong, er, Robb Strong."

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"I'm Robb Alvey! Remember to be Robb Strong!"

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Joy, joy, joy!

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Happy, happy, happy!

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"So, it's a little damp? Come on up! Look at how happy we are! Join us, and be happy, too!"

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If you can't afford the whole pipe.

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Step right up, folks! Welcome to Sarkanniemi!

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This segment is brought to you by the makers of the Sugar Syringe. Shoot yourself up--with flavor!

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The makers of the Sugar Syringe remind you to use our product responsibly. Never, ever share a Sugar Syringe!

 

Back to Sarkanniemi--that park that Chuck can't pronounce.

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Right, folks? One more set of pics to come.

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And maybe it was.

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"But it's going to be the bestest ride ever!"

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"No, you guys go right ahead."

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It's more like a series of gentle swells, rather than a full-blown hurricane.

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OK, this is one of the weirdest rides around.

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Yeah, it's about what you'd expect.

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"Oh, there is the Vekoma."

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"Where is the Vekoma?"

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"The airtime! Help us!"

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"My . . . god! The . . . forces . . . must . . . reach . . . my . . . utility . . . belt . . ."

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"We worms are very embarrassed for the people in the following pictures."

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"Hello! I be an adorable leprechaun in a top hat, and this is me friend, a brain-eatin' zombie! Begorrah!"

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CSI: Transylvania.

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"Yeah, we don't get it, either. But we are feeling aroused. You might say, we all got a bon . . . " Stop right there!

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Presenting "Buff Shirtless Guy in Bondage!" The hell?

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Oh, that serious.

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Really? How serious?

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"I, too, am aroused by this painting. Well, off we go!"

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The ride op seems to be aroused by this painting.

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Nosferatu! Das wampyr!

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Hmm--somebody's been reading their Bram Stoker.

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. . . with a touch of Dario Argento.

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Ah, here it is! Welcome aboard an adorable family ride that mixes cute cartoons . . .

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"They say there's a dark ride. But where is it? Where is that dark ride? We've looked everywhere, and it's just so frustrating!"

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Have you tried our newest product? Non-Sugar Syringe! Yes, it's just like the Sugar Syringe, only without the sugar!

 

One last look at Sarkanniemi.

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But how do we get to the bus? Thanks for a great day--and the extra stuff at the end.

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Well, Sarkanniemi, that was, indeed, some "serious fun."

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Ka ching!

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The Jet Star! How do we find the Jet Star?

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What? They're testing the Jet Star?

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High over Dracula's castle of cartoon bondage.

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"Wretched creatures! How do you plead?"

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"Beware the whir-r-r-rl-wind!"

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Yeah, I just really like this ride. Look at it again!

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A view of a loop.

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Tornado's layout.

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And now, the park as seen by angels, soaring eagles, or pigeons looking for something to crap on. First, the Half-Pipe.

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. . . view.

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. . . beautiful . . . Aghh! Where the hell did he come from? . . .

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it's a . . .

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Yes, even with all the clouds and rain . . .

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You will see absolutely no mischief in the following pictures. You will be tempted to scroll past them. Don't.

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We went to the top of the sky tower, then had to walk down some stairs to the lower level (where the railing is).

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But here are some TPR members. Enjoy.

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As is this one.

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Yes, this is an obvious index picture.

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Chapter 14: A Dry Last Day--Linnanmaki

 

Finally, the last park of possibly the greatest TPR Trip ever--Linnanmaki in Helsinki. "Last parks" are always a study in contrasts. Everyone feels a bit melancholy because they know they'll be saying good-bye to everybody else that evening or the next morning, yet everybody also throws themselves into the experience to get the most out of the last day.

 

And Linnanmaki was a good park to finish (no pun intended) on. This traditional, urban amusement park rests on a hill in the middle of Helsinki and, like Grona Lund, Liseberg, and Tivoli, makes excellent use of its limited space. You can get some excellent views of the city here.

 

Although the coaster selection isn't top grade, Linnanmaki has a lot to recommend it, including an unusual "haunted" mirror maze, an excellent ghost train, and quite a few flats (one of which is particularly crazy). As for the coasters:

 

Linnunrata--This Space Mountain knockoff was my favorite coaster there. There's nice "space" theming in the queue, and the ride itself is good, cheesy fun (if a bit short). No Space Mountain or Eurosat, but it'll do for a family ride.

 

Kirnu--Call this one "Insane, Jr." It's a mini-version of the Intamin Ball Coaster, and is still fairly intense despite being smaller (and even more phallic looking) than its big brother at Grona Lund.

 

Vuoristorata--This was the slowest of the trip's side-friction woodies, but still enjoyable--plus, it was the site of the "Egg Challenge."

 

Salama--A spinning mouse that doesn't really spin all that much unless you load the car just right. But the layout is still fun even when it doesn't spin.

 

Tulireki--Pointless. The idea behind this Mack E-Motion Coaster is that the train is supposed to react in some way during the ride (such as lean way over on the curves, I think), but it really didn't do much of anything except buck around a bit. Bad, not to mention uncomfortable.

 

There was a Premier Water Coaster, too, but since I was fighting a cold and didn't feel like having my shoes filled with water, I passed--turned out to be a good decision (I did do the rapids ride, though). There's also a bit of nightmare fuel involving clowns and elephant dung.

 

Shall we amble about and enjoy our last day? (Hmm--that sounded rather grim.)

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"OK, Kristin, if you finish that popcorn, you can play in the box." More to come.

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OK, I'm not seeing any smiling children, so I guess everything's cool.

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No happy children allowed.

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This powered coaster is a more entertaining Mack creation.

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"Now arriving on platform 2! The No Friends Limited. Soon departing for Nowheresville, Obscurityburg, and Parts Unknown. All b-o-o-o-o-oard!"

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Over the course of many years, Mack has developed many fine rides. This is not one of them.

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"You see? All it needed was a little coaxing."

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"That's it. Now you're getting it."

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"Come on! Spin, damn you!"

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I think this is Finnish for "spins sometimes."

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"I'd like to thank the man upstairs for making this all possible. Yes, there he is. Right up there."

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And now, the "reveal."

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Oh so fragile! Oh so delicate! Poor little egg! Not to mention delicious. (I like mine scrambled or fried over easy, by the way.)

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"THE EGG! THE EGG! WHAT OF THE EGG? SUCCEED, AND WE SHALL SING SONGS OF YOUR GLORY FOR GENERATIONS TO COME!"

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"I've had me spinach! Now gives me that egg!"

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We have a mission: The egg must not be harmed!

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From crazy fighting phalli to good, old-fashioned fun. (The final "a" is assumed.)

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Actually, I think this ride sort of looks like e-coli or some other bacteria.

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Ride fast, ride hard.

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And now that bluegrass classic, "Duelling Phalluses."

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You have to run around this sign quickly to read where you are. If you run too quickly, you'll melt into butter and end up on someone's pancakes. You have been warned.

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This chapter is brought to you by your local Space Corps Recruiting Office. The Corps is looking for a few good . . . or who are we kidding? We took Chuck! We'll take anybody!

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The Space Corps.

 

It's not just a job.

 

It's a chance to kill giant bugs on an obscure rock in the middle of the galaxy of Andromeda for very low pay, but a cool uniform.

 

Back to Linnanmaki.

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Unfortunately, this does not.

 

We have a ways to go yet.

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Clown flatulence smells like banana cream pie.

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For those of you who are nostalgic for your last hernia operation.

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Oh, lord--it's a fetid fervor of funnymen.

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Yes, in my nightmares, ringmasters whip clowns.

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But here's something that's scarier yet.

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Scarier than it looks, actually.

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Hmm--never ridden one of these before.

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Ready for blast-off, eager young space cadet?

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Remember, you break the reactor core, you bought it--capeesh?

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No sign of Stitch, thank god.

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Welcome to the futuristic year 400,000,000,000!

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"Hello, I'm Carl Sagan. And this is the Cosmos! It's all inside this little building! I swear!"

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Hmm--you folks looked like you enjoyed that way too much.

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See?

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This is Finnish for "buckshot penis."

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"Yes, I'm always pleased to do my bit for science. Now, where's the bar?"

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Isn't science fun?

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This is the "heavy rolling object" displacing the "water."

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This is the "water."

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This is the "very heavy rolling object."

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And now, a demonstration of what happens when a very heavy rolling object encounters water.

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Joint the Space Corps! Fight meaningless wars on faraway worlds! Yes, join us and when your grandson asks you, "What did you do in the Great Galatic War II?" you won't have to say, "I shoveled dagget dung on Caprica."

 

And now, more Linnanmaki.

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Once the chickens have outgrown their usefulness to Kot Kot, they are plucked, skinned, and given to the ghost train. One more set of pics to come.

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Hmm--looks like Ebert and Siskel have split on this one.

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Er, I think the cow and pig need a little privacy.

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"Somebody dust me, or I'm gonna drop this egg on a tourist! I'm not kidding, dammit!"

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Can you make sense of this? I can't. I guess this was a giant-brine-shrimp ride at one time.

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"But this is the greatest ride in history!"

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"I told Steve this was the greatest ride in history--and he totally bought it!"

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Well, it's early yet.

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"That was the most terrifying experience of my life!"

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"Go for it, dude! Once you've made it with flesh-eating ghoul from the deepest bowels of Hell, you don't never want to go back!"

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"So, do you 'date'"?

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"OK, stop us if you've heard this one. You see, we're ghosts! And we're on a . . . well, there's no reason to be rude!"

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"Yes-I-am-the-Keeper-of-the-Gates-of-Hell-do-you-have-a-wristband?"

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"Don't do that until after he fixes the roof."

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"Arr! Scurvy dog contractors! They never shows up when they sez they will! Cut off his dangling anchor chain and throw it to the sharks, sez I!"

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Hmm--the skeleton in the tub said it was around here someplace.

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"Yer lookin' for the ghost train? Hard to starboard, mate!"

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Go ahead! Put on some 3D glasses! We double-rat dare you!

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If you were wearing 3D glasses right now, you'd be soiling your pants in horror!

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Behold! The world in 3D!

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The following attraction is in mega-exciting 3D!

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Where else can you blast through hyperspace, be shot through a black hole, and then drop an H-bomb on an unsuspecting group of aliens who never did anything to you?

 

Why, the Space Corps!

 

Spread the goodwill of the Planet Earth all over the cosmos! Join the Corps today!

 

Aliens worlds will love us. Or we'll just blow them up.

 

One last look at Linnanmaki.

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That's all from Linnanmaki. And from Scandinavia. Thank you, one and all, particularly Robb and Elissa, for another great vacation!

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But a lot of people loved it.

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After experiencing the Dragon at Tivoli, I had no desire to ride a "tea cup" version of it.

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Aw, Larry's choking his donkey.

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Lord, I've put on some weight on this trip.

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I'm not sure if this picture is right side up. I guess it doesn't matter.

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Come on, boys! Feel the burn!

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Is my toast finished yet?

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This was the steepest of the tilted rooms, as I recall.

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The last funhouse of the trip. Not as good as Grona Lund's, but not bad.

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A: We are DEVO!

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Q: Are we not men?

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The mirror maze was merely 3D. Now behold the splendor of 4D!

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Looky, Scott! A state-of-the-art monorail!

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And here's Erik before he was pecked to death by a sea gull.

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Some of Helsinki.

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An interesting view of Kirnu.

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Salama looks much cooler from up here.

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Of course, the plexiglass is in pretty rough shape. Sorry about that. But here's the whole woodie.

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Time for a sky tower's view of things.

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