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Time for an update.

Before reaching my next theme park visit report, here are some short reports of things i did in between.

As some might know, I really like electronic dance music since a year or 2. We visited a lot of festivals last summer. End of June we were at Sunrise festival. A smaller sized festival some 30 miles from where I live.

Beginning of July, my kids, my wife and I visited Mini-Europe in Brussels and on our way home, we made a short stop at Fort van Breendonk which was a concentration camp during and after WWII.

The next day, we went shopping in CentrO in Oberhausen, Germany. But not without a few rides on the nearby alpine coaster and a visit to the new Legoland Discovery Center in CentrO.

Last pics in this report are from the XO festival in Holland.

Next update will be Disneyland Paris

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Sunrise festival : Of course, it's the same like in an amusement park, the earlier you arrive, the more fun you have.

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Hardstyle stage

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My friend going nuts

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Picture from the main stage (from the Sunrise Festival website)

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Another one from the official website

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I just love the festival setting

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Fire's goooooood

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Finnebassen, my favorite deep house DJ/producer

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me

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Solomun stage

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Solomun @ work

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We had an awesome day at the festival

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Mini-Europe : all miniature buildings of every country in the E.C. Here's Vilnius in Lithuania. I would see the real building a few days later on.

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Mini-Europe is near the Atomium landmark in Brussels

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Giant killer pigeon invasion

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Grand place in Brussels

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Ben and Big Ben

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My daughter, the Eifeltower and the Atomium in one picture

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My youngest daughter seen through the Paris' Triumph Arch

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Spain

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Berlin

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On our way home, we made a quick stop at the Fort of Breendonk

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It was a concentration camp during and after WOII

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When you're standing there and realize people where shot here, it makes me think really hard about life.

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Alpine Coaster in Oberhausen is short, but when you're nearby a must-do of course

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We rode it each 5 times. Great stop.

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Lego Land Discoverycenter

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Not really worth while but we had fun

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Yep, I'm a Darth Vader nerd

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XO dancemusic festival in Eindhoven, Holland

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We had VIP tickets so we had access to the VIP stages and lounge. Excellent views and spacious

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Main stage was a little bit busier

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Bench for giants

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Oh yeah, and we had ample alcohol

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In the lounge

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The weather was amazing

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And more alcohol

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and more

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and more

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and more

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and more

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..... :-)

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Eating after too much alcohol

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My friend picked up a random sign

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And ended up with the sign behind Solomun

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I just love festivals with a lake

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Lounge beach bar

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Too much alcohol

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and more alcohol

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But he didn't know how to consume it

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We had an awesome day. Next up DLP

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Disneyland Paris. The first time I visited DLP back in opening year, I was blown away by the sense for details, the attractions, shops & restaurants, the vibe in the park, .... Every other park seemed like not worth while to visit any longer. The past 8-9 years, by visiting a lot more parks in Europe and the US, and at the same time, the quality of DLP going down year by year, DLP is not even in my Parks Top 25 any longer. The park seems always overcrowded, they hand out too many fast passes, not too many new attractions, the hotels need refurbishment, unfriendly cast members, ... the resort isn't what it used to be anymore.

This said, we went to DLP for another visit, with an open mind and ready to have a good time. And although we had a better time than during our last visit, it will take another few years until we go again. Even the new attraction next year will not make me go again next year, or maybe I will, if I win a free stay :devil:

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My sister and youngest daughter with some random ducks

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The wait for the tram tour was surprisingly short

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My youngest daughter's first ride ever on the tram tour. During all previous visits, the wait was an hour so we didn't ride anymore since she was born.

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Going Underground

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I like this ride

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We stayed in the New Port Bay Hotel, on the Admiral Floor : it REALLY needs refurbishment.

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Fireworks as could be seen from the hotel

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The weather was excellent

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Top ride of the resort imo

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Bay area at nights

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We still like to shop at Disney but there isn't that much new to find the last few years.

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Love this view

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We ate at the Rainforest Café.

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Another bay area view

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and another one

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DLP 20 years

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At least the castle is good

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We had a fun stay.

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Thanks for the update, it's a shame to hear that the park isn't really improving in the same way that the others are. Having just been back to WDW for the first time in 6 years I was struck by how well presented the place was and I had a great time there. I fear I wouldn't get the same feeling at Paris, it's been 5 years since I visited and I wouldn't mind if it was 5 years until I go again and it's a shame but I think I'm not the only one!

 

Ratatouille is the only thing that would make me contemplate making the journey but I doubt it will go anywhere for a while so I think I'm of the opinion that I'll get there when I get there!

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Vilnius, Lithuania : I never imagined going on holiday here. I knew it is the capital of Lithuania, but it sounded very eastern european, not really a perfect holiday destination. Until my brother-in-law told me about the place last year. After some research my friend and I decided to give it a go past summer. And what an extremely lovely place it turned out to be : very western, excellent hotel, a lot of historic things to see in the old city (the old city is Unesco world heritage btw) , excellent restaurants, cheap food and drinks, amazing bars and nightlife, .... and the girls, wow wow wow, it was like we ended up in the Playboy mansion. Not kidding, if you'll ever be so lucky to go to Vilnius, you will know what i'm talking about. It's doesn't to justice to how great this place is, but in the next post, I'll put a short video online of a random bar we were and I filmed a 360°. I wonder who will be able to count all the blonds in that 30 seconds :b

In any case, I had tons more fun than I had in DLP. You will notice that from the amount of comments I have to tell. If you compare that with my report of DLP ..... :devil:

Enjoy the pictures

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View from my hotel room. According to several websites like booking.com, tripadvisor, ..., we had chosen the best hotel of Vilnius. The hotel is in the old city. The old city is not that big. You walk in 15 minutes from the one end to the other. There are some 50 different churches in the old city. And every church is unique. I'm normally not that into visiting or even looking at churches, but the one in Vilnius are really great to explore.

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The lounge of our hotel

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The assortment of whiskey in the hotel :-)

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The company I work for has offices everywhere so there's also one in Vilnius. My usual contact was so nice showing us around in the nearby places.The first evening he and his girlfriend took us to Trakai.

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The Shakespeare Hotel, our home for 6 nights

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We ate the local dish, Kibinai. Really great food.

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The place was sooooo damn nice

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There is also this castle. Isn't it a beauty ?

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After a great night, we ended up exhausted in our hotel. I found this in the minibar and I had a party on my own in my room :-)

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Panoramic view from the hill

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Breakfast à la carte in the hotel

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We went to do some running the next morning and ran up the nearby hill for some nice views.

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The new city of Vilnius

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The television tower where the 'January Events' happened : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/January_Events_(Lithuania)

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Vilnius old city

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One of the 50 churches

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Vilnius Cathedral

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Vilnius Library

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Random building

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The Naris river

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Another church

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Excellent food at the La Bohème restaurant

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Buddha bar

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Another church. When Napoleon saw this one, he wanted to pick it up and plant it down in France

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Cathedral place

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The hotel had free bikes for us to explore the city by bike

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Inside the cathedral

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Wedding in progress

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Vilnius old city is really nice and safe to walk around

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One morning i took a walk a bit further away out of the city and found this 'unsafe' place

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Great lunch salad

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Because the food was so great in La Bohème, we decided to eat at the same place the next evening

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My colleague Donatas in the middle

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We met up with my colleague and he showed us some great bars. Most of the evening, we spent at Paparazzi

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Great vibe

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I just love the food there

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Oh yeah, almost forgot this picture. This is a bank during daytime; During nighttime, it's a ....... casino !!!!!! I swear, i'm not joking. It's really a bank and casino at the same time !!

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Next morning there was a short thunder storm and one of the trees inside the french embassy decided to do the wall and hit a car

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Main shopping street on a Saturday afternoon

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Where is all the traffic ??

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And one small statue makes Vilnius rock : Frank Zappa

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Zappa doesn't have any bond with Vilnius whatsoever but a local group of artist made this tribute statue in honor of Zappa.

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Sunset at Naris river

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We had dinner on Saturday at the Skybar in the new city. It's on the 22nd floor of a hotel and the view is simply amazing

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Amazing, no ?

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Great bar, great food, great music

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Sky bar entrance/exit

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We then headed up to the Tarantino nightclub.

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It really had the Tarantino movie vibe.

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Because there wasn't a real crowd, we headed up to Pabo Latino at the other side of the street.

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I'm not the biggest fan of latino music, and luckily they didn't only play latino music.

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It was one of the best nights I ever had. This place is absolutely awesome and amazing.

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There a inside room, but during summer the outside part is THE place to be.

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You have to see it in person to understand the awesomeness of the place. The best nightclub I have ever been to. The video I will post is shot in this place.

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My friend and I already talked about going back for a weekend only for this place.

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Another random church

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And another one

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Town hall

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Great italian restaurants

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Considering the traffic, it's really hard to believe you're in a capital

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Disneyland

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It's such a nice place

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Portobello bar

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Salento bar. The only nightclub open every single evening

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Story time : we came in, ordered our drinks and I went to the restroom.

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I returned from the restroom only 3 minutes after we entered the bar and my friend Michael was on the dance floor with about 7 blond girls dancing the night away. I was like : how long did I stay in that restroom ????

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Vilnius University

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Our last evening and my colleague invited us at his parents place, some 20 miles outside Vilnius. We made a quick stop at one of the former capitals of Lithuania (don't remember the name of the place, sorry).

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Stunning views

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I've never read it, but this place is described very thoroughly in Tolstoy's War & Peace I was told

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Look at the size of the trees. You can see people underneath the trees

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A non Vilnius church

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So we were invited at my colleague's parents home. Something like that can go both ways : either it's terribly inconvenient and awkward, or it's a great evening.

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Turned out to be the latter. It was the most awesome night we could have imagined. The parents didn't speak any english, but with some home-brewed alcohol, the father managed to 'understand' us. Such amazing and friendly people, we had the best night.

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The prepared a buffet of local specialties from the village and the food was just awesome

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My friend was a bit cold and was offered a russian coat

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a night I will forever remember

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If you ever have the chance to go to Vilnius .... just do it. I'm seriously considering a post Scandi trip add on to Vilnius.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Shortly after Vilnius, I took my kids to Technopolis, about 25 miles from where I live. Our intention that day, was going to Bobbejaanland. We have been at the parking of Bobbejaanland but the parking was so packed that we had to park behind the actual park. When we left the car, it started to rain so easy decision to jump back into the car and drive to Technopolis in stead, as this is a fully indoor park. It's actually not a themepark but more a discovery center mainly for kids.

The day after, sun was going to shine, so my youngest daughter and I decided to have a themepark day and visit 3 parks in 1 day.

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Airbike

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The usual suspects

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Hom nom nom

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My youngest daughter showing here most suspicious face

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Give me fuel

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Live on stage ....

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It's such a great place for kids.

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She loves you, yeah yeah yeah

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Blowing bubbles

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I believe I can fly

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Entrance

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Best pizza in town

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Toverland. My second visit since their new park area opened. Previous time was a private evening event earlier this year at invitation of Toverland.

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It's my favorite park within 1 hour driving from where I live

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The new area is really great

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The new rapids

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Waiting row of the rapids. I really like that they make their waiting rows nicer than the usual waiting areas

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My daughter and I

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While not the longest nor wettest rapids, I actually really like the ride

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Their new roller coaster. I don't like the controlled twisting though.

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It's a real great addition to the park.

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Next park of the day was Dippidoe park. It's a small themepark near Eindhoven. There are 2 coasters of which I unfortunately didn't take any pictures but if you look on the first page of this thread, you can find the link to a more extensive report of my previous visit to Dippidoe park. (page 16)

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Oh, I do have a picture of one of the rollercoasters it seems ;-)

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I just love parks with a lake

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McDonald slide

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Third stop of the day : Megaspeelstad. It actually is a place for kids where you wouldn't go to as adults only. In fact, it would be quite weird going there without kids. But hey, the place holds 2 credits ... and i had my daughter with me ;-)

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She had tons of fun

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I've seen this before earlier that day in Toverland

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Some of the rides are quite ghetto

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But my daughter was having a blast

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Weird, but gotta love plastic dinosaurs in a petting zoo

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Fun fun fun

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More fun fun fun

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Ghetto lounge bar

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Theming

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Inside area

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First credit

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Second credit, but we arrived too late and it was already closed. We rode it a few years ago, so no big problem.

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Self operating rides

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And more fun fun fun

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i love these rides

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Final overview. Next update : Tomorrowland. The best dance festival of the world.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Next update : Tomorrowland and some other festivals during mid summer

 

Since last year voted as best dance festival in the world. The 180000 tickets sold out in minutes for the second year in a row. I even had to buy overpriced tickets on the secondary market, but it was so worth the money.

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Some people compare Tomorrowland with the Efteling meets dance music

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And I totally agree with that statement

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Tons of fireworks

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Thousands of happy people

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+/- 15 different stages, even underground

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Great friends

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Amazing settings

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Amazing DJ's

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Over the top theming

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Info desk

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In the ferriswheel

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Had a rough night ...

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Techno stage

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Hey, de Efteling !!! While there isn't any bridge like this in the Efteling, it does remind me a lot of the Efteling

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Wanna play some poker ?

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Café d'Anvers stage

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oh yeah, there were people of over 200 different countries at the festival, more than the Olympic Games !!

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So awesome

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Soooo beautiful

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See you next year Tomorrowland

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Let's see what else I attended last summer : Casa Blanca festival. A 4 days free entrance festival

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We went on Thursday because the Human League was there

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one of my favorite bands in the eighties.

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They are still very popular because it was very crowded in front of the stage

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Whole the way till the back, the place was packed

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And their concert was really good

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Hope to see them live again soon

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My crazy friends

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Drink sleep rave repeat : Cirque@ttaque. Another free entrance festival in my home town

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It's a great festival with a lot of things to do for the kids during daytime

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Last festival we went to last summer : Laundry Day. A festival which started out some 15 years ago in one of Antwerp's fashion streets. A few hundreds of people attended the first edition. Nowadays it's a mega one day festival with about 70000 people

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Yeah .... Baccardi

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Yeah ..... BEER !!!

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In fact the festival is WAY too crowded but we manage to have a great time every time we go there.

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Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike.

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Weird people at Laundry Day

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More weird people

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I seem to have the gift to go to outdoor festivals and have awesome weather.

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Seriously, we have quite a rainy climate out here. I went to more than 25 festivals in the last 3 years and NEVER had a day of bad weather. Maybe I shouldn't have said this out loud ...

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Last picture of my festival summer. Next up : Bobbejaanland

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Tomorrowland looks really impressive! I went to EDC last year for the first time and was blown away (and I'm not even a fan of that style of music). Tomorrowland looks to be on the same, over the top but completely awesome scale!

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Wonderland looks insane! Is the Europe rave scene similar to America aka sober people are hard to find? Of course I'm not sure what is legal in Wonderland since Europe has awesome drug laws! Either way VERY cool looking... not a fan of the music for the most part... not without a few drinks at least, but this looks pretty amazing!

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Thanks for the comments.

I actually have been thinking about going to Tomorrowworld in Atlanta. Eventually it didn't work out and i didn't even managed to watch the live stream because it was in the middle of the night out here. EDM festivals are really great. I prefer a rockband on stage but the vibe at those festivals is so great, it's really addictive. And the eye for details Tomorrowland is having, it really makes the place magical. In 2012 we even had lunch at a Michelin star chef restaurant at the festival. Drug laws at Tomorrowland are very strict. If you get caught with drugs, you are banned from the festival. It's Belgium, not the netherlands . But even without drugs, the crowds are insane. Even if you're not into dance music, you will be part of the madness.

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^drinking is indeed allowed

 

I thought you would be interested in a few vids of Tomorrowland and the Human League gig. The Tomorrowland videos are the official aftermovies of 2012 and 2013. Personally I prefer last year's aftermovie because the overall production is better so if you would only watch 1 of the 2 movies, watch the 2012 one. It's nearing 100000000 views BTW.

 

[youtu_be]http://youtu.be/p4FVwRyaauc[/youtu_be]

 

[youtu_be]

[/youtu_be]

 

[youtu_be]

[/youtu_be]
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Bobbbejaanland, probably the park I've been to most over the years, as its location is only a 30 minutes drive from where I live. And I still like going there once every few years. This year, I even went 2 times : 1 time in summer and 1 time during their Halloween evening. I'll combine the 2 visits in 1 report

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My youngest daughter loves waterrides. We rode the raft ride like 7 times

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And this one 5 times

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And we're in the air

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BJL is quite a green park

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Ride hidden in green

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Nintendo game hall

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Another water ride.

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Still ok

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Best coaster of the park

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We had an excellent lunch. Our dinner in the same restaurant during Halloween would be COMPLETELY different. More about that later.

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Dreamcatcher. I preferred the former airplane trains

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Puke ride

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Best ride of the park

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Typhoon

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Their new twisting coaster since a year or two

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This ride is actually nicer to look at than to be in

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Only 1 left. The other one is now in PdA Madrid if I'm not mistaken

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Beautiful

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Why not ..... let's have another ride on the rafts

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We left the park early because we were going to meet up with a colleague at the summer bar in Antwerp that same evening

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It was my very first visit to the summerbar, although it's been there already since a few years. I was surprised how nice the place is.

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Excellent cheap priced food

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Look at this

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Hard to imagine 10 days later this place would be packed with 70000 people for the annual Laundry Day festival of which you saw pics in my previous report

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First Laundry Day constructions

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My youngest daughter and my colleague

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Back to BJL for Halloween

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While the mazes are not really worth the wait, Belgium is going nuts for Halloween. The park was packed, completely packed. All rides had a +1H row, the mazes even longer, the restaurants even longer. It was clear they let in as much people as possible. They really should look at other nearby parks and when the park reaches its limit, they should stop letting people in. A few examples : we were in line for a maze and the line didn't move an inch. I walked to the entrance where I found out the scare actors were on a break for half an hour !!!!??? Nobody there to inform people about that when entering the row. Dinner : after half an hour of waiting, it was our turn to order. The only thing there, were menus (standard stuff like hamburger, chicken, ... )including vegetables and soft drink. The guy taking the orders, didn't have anything ready. If you ordered a burger, he still had to start baking the burger. Quite efficient, no ? They were out of vegetables, same with most of the soft drinks. When telling this to the cashier, we were told we still had to pay for the vegetables we didn't get !!!!??? Turned out my burger wasn't baked properly...... it was a waste of money. I sent a complaint afterwards but the only thing they replied is that they feel sorry for our experience but we should understand it was a very busy evening. Like I didn't notice that. I'm sure 99% of the people went home with a bad feeling people of BJL. The happiest person that day was the financial director I guess

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At least the weather was nice

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It's a shame this ride seems SBNO

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Halloween theming

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King Kong

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Love the light effects

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One of the mazes

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and the other one. And that's it ... I believe. I'm not sure to be honest. There were no maps nor signs for the mazes

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At least we got a ride on X/Revolution, after waiting an hour

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I see you

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That's it for BJL. See you in a few years .... probably. First have to work on forgetting the bad experience we had during our last visit.

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End of August we, my wife our 2 daughters and a friend of my oldest daughter and I of course, booked a villa in Spain. I'll show you some pics of our holiday, but the ones you'll probably be most interested in, are the pictures I took at Waterworld Lloret De Mar and PPS Park Platja de Aro, a small themepark, only a short drive from our villa.

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Since it was quite a drive to Spain, we stayed a night in a bed & breakfast castle somewhere in the middle of France, near Evian

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But as it was nearly dinnertime, this was the deepest we went

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My oldest daughter loves animals

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It was such a nice place. Really great to start our holiday

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Great place to stay. Rooms were excellent, breakfast could have been better

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We were the only persons at the swimming pool

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Stunning view from the restaurant we had dinner

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Room with a view

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After a good sleep, we left for Spain. Bye bye Evian. Spain here we come

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We passed the Milau bridge

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Excellent place for a break

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After several hours driving in the rain, 20 miles before we arrived, the rain stopped. This is the view from our villa for a week. The Medditerean Sea in the back.

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We even had dinner outside

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The villa we rented was just awesome

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Best villa I have ever rented.

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At the local supermarket. Never seen that before.

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Waterworld : I had no idea what to expect to be honest. The website wasn't too clear and there was also another Waterworld nearby, and it seemed like they mixed up pictures of both parks into 1 website. We arrived well in time before opening, hoping we could do several rides before the bigger crowds would arrive. But I forgot the park is in Spain .... Only 1 ride was open the first operating hour !! The lifeguards of the other rides were in place, but they didn't feel like opening yet it seemed. I'm sure they had their instructions from the management, but I thought this was extremely weird, have everybody at work, but not open every ride.

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Cosy whirlpool ...

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This was the one ride which was open as from 10 AM. It's a soft slide and a lot of fun. We took about 5 rides before 11 o'clock. Could have been much more, but of course all the people in the park were in line for this ride at that time.

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I'm not too big a fan of these slides, but they were ok.

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Weird rapid river

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Oh yeah, I was wearing a rashguard shirt, but I wasn't allowed on any of the slides wearing it !!??

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Another ride on the soft slide

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Really fun

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Let's try out watercoaster nr 1 (yes there are 2 in the park)

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X-treme Mountain

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Really great ride. A pitty it wasn't open when we arrived. Now we had to queue for half an hour the 2 times we rode it

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More slides

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In stead of walking down, ...

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... let's slide down once a again

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The rapid river from another angle

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More slides

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Views from the top of X-treme Mountain

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This one had bigger hills and drops

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Another angle

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We arrived at our place just before a short thunderstorm hit us

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Salt water pool

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Watercoaster nr 2. Don't remember the name

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And more slides

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Last picture of Waterworld

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Since it was her birthday, she was to choose what we were going to eat for dinner. What would you eat in Spain ? Pizza of course ;-)

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Teaser picture for my next update : PPS Park Platja d'Aro

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