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PTR: larrygator's 2010 European Travels


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Butterfly POV, I think this was the one on the right. My view from the one on the left was exactly the same. Unlike Boardwalk Bullet, I don't think time of day, temperature, weather or phase of the moon affect performance.

Awesome.

 

The monorail shot was a nice touch as well.

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Der Der Dongt - you point out a huge difference in American and European parks. America have larger and faster coasters, but European parks allow you to have more fun with simple attractions

 

Chadster - Glad I could make you work day less productive

 

Moose - All signs are in the Park Index, the signs just don't make for a fun and compelling PTR. I thik you guys are going to really enjoy this park during Oktoberfest, but someone is guaranteed to get hurt on the DIY rides.

 

cfc - The real horror of the set-up was checking into the hotel the night before going to Legoland. I got off the train at Augsburg Oberhausen instead of Augsburg. I couldn't figure out why my printed map did not match the street pattern and my hotel was nowhere to be found. Then I pulled out the full train itinerary and determined that I got off the train one stop too soon. Luckily an 8 Euro cab ride got me to the hotel, I purposely printed out pictures of every train station and hotel in case I got lost and that was very helpful it getting a non-English speaking cab driver to understand where I needed to go. A picture if worth one million words, especially when the other person can't understand your words.

 

Then when I got to the hotel there was a Russian tour group congregated around the check-in desk while there leader handed out room keys. I was the frustrated person trying to manuever through these clueless people to get my key from the front desk. Very similar to how clueless and rude TPR trip participants refuse to a create a passageway for other hotel guests to pass when Robb and Elissa are handing out room keys.

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The next morning I hopped on a 7:26 train for a 90 minute ride to Salzburg, grabbed a 24 hour storagelocker for 2Euro and hopped on another train for a 30 minute ride to Strasswalchen. Then a walk to the park. Being that I felt like I gained about 10 pounds during the TPR portion of the trip thanks to all the meals Robb and Elissa included, I decided I was going to do a bit of walking during the solo stage of my trip to burn some calories. My walking map showed the trek from the train station to the park to be about 1.5 miles uphill, but the grade of the hill was more intense than I expected. I can usually walk 1.5 miles in 20 minutes, but this walk took me 30 minutes. Still there didn't seem to be any cab options readily available at the train station so I'm not sure I really had a choice from this train stop (I'm pretty sure I could have caught a bus to the park if I had got off the train one stop earlier, but that was not in my plans).

 

Erlebnispark Strasswalchen is a family park, and doesn't have a lot of thrill rides. Actually it doesn't have a lot of rides at all. What it does have is a crazy PAX coaster, an extremely well done walk through haunted castle, a Sinbad dark ride with perfectly timed effects and an awesome restaurant that served fabulous Wiener Schnitzel and beer.

 

Not understanding the langauge very well it appears they group people together every half hour for the Schloss Dracula (Dracula's Castle) walk through. They are tour guides (not scare actors) and even though I could not understand them, through the inflection in their voices I could tell they were weaving a tale (and scaring the teenage girls). I was the lead person in my group and about 1/3 of the way through the house my tour guide said something to me and I let him know I only spoke English, he directed everyone else ahead and started speaking with me in English. I showed him my Theme Park Review bag, he mentioned going to IAAPA last year and although I did not realize it until an hour later it was Erich Wagner, one of the Park Directors, working one of the attractions.

 

Hopefully, when TPR visits for Oktoberfest, Mr. Wagner can guide them through Schloss Dracula.

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All the way at the top of that hill there is supposed to be a park.

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Although I have a map and walking directions, some of the streets do not have proper signage. A GPS would be helpful.

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But I'm old school. 15 minutes into my walk I catch a glimpse of the park.

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and 15 minutes later the Travelocity Gnome greets me at the entrance.

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14 Euros is a fair price.

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Here is the entrance to Schloss Dracula. Very well done, no scare actors, but lots of surprises inside the building including a very effective final scene.

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The park has a western themed train.

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with authentic bison.

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I was confused by the bumper cars. It appeared to be a do it yourself upcharge attraction.

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Hot slide of death

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The park's star attraction

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Nice little air time hills. Wheeeeeee!

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I think I can, I think I can.

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I went back for one last ride after my lunch, but the ride op had just left. I assume for his own lunch break.

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There is one of these snail and mushroom themed monrials.

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An "in depth" POV shot for JizzMan, wouldn't want to disappoint by not being "in depth".

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And the snail/mushroom ride is educational with a display showing you which mushroom are deadly

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or edible. Take that Bear Grylls! Sorry that I have a shirt with sleeves, my later travel that day would take my to very cold temperatures so I wanted to be prepared.

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No pictures are allowed inside Schloss Dracula after this entrance queue.

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But you can buy Dracula's Blood at the exit.

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This doesn't look like a safe way to ride the go karts.

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There is a jungle cruise type ride.

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With a familiar looking scene in the background.

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Sinbad's Adventure was another pleasant surprise of the park.

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These ride vehicles are perfectly synchronized to gently spin to catch all the effects.

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The antique car ride was short and not interesting.

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Pedal Swan Boats looked like fun.

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I skipped the 3D theater

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and I skipped the Pirate Ship.

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One area of the park has a fairy tale walkway with these dioramas.

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Jungle Love - Monkeys love bananas

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There was also an outdoor theater with a Country Bear Jamboree type show.

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While eating this awesome Wiener Schnitzel I looked up at the wall and saw a lot of promotional photos on the wall.

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and saw my tour guide from Schloss Dracula wearing a suit and tie (red shirt in the upper left hand picture) in a lot of pictures. It was then I realized he must be important. I consulted the park brochure and realized it was Mr. Erich Wagner, one of the Park's Directors. I went back to Schloss Dracula to thank him but couldn't find him.

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That concludes my morning at Erlebnispark Strasswalchen, a great value for the price. More from this day to be posted shortly, including a Mountain/Alpine coaster and a tour of the Hallein Salt Mine.

Edited by larrygator
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So many of these Euro-parks seem to have a goofy charm that can't be found in the States, which is a real shame.

 

I hope Francis Ford Coppola's lawyers don't take a close look at the signage on the front of Dracula's crib.

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Larry, what a charming looking village to walk through on your way to Erlebnispark Strasswalchen. Great update, and I can't wait to see more!

 

thanks Mark, it would have been more charming if it was flat ground.

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How was the coaster?

 

Coaster??????

 

Well this was my first PAX and I had heard there were all kinds of messed up, so I was expecting a near death experience. It was a fun little coaster, crazy at times with quite a bit of air over these little bunny hills that looked like nothing. If I hadn't been expecting the pops of air it would have really caught me off guard. I think you all will really enjoy it on the Oktoberfest Trip.

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^I mentioned beer. I can't remember the variety they had at the restaurant. A lot of places in Austria served Gosser exclusively. I can't remember if that was the case at this park.

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This next update will be quick. After leaving Strasswalchen I took the train back to Salzburg Central Station and transferred to another train for a 20 ride to Hallein. I originally planned just to visit the Hallein Salt Mine, but upon further research two weeks before leaving for Europe I found a mountain coaster right near the Salt Mine, and a special combo tickets for both attractions.

 

After departing the train a took a bus ride the Zinkelift, a ski area with a mountain coaster. I really love mountain coasters.

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After getting off the train in Hallein you need to take the 41 Bus.

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Request a stop at Zinkelift and you get to "Austria's longest summer roller coaster"

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A look up the mountain.

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It's a single tubular track.

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This sign and the warning pads did give me worries and I gently applied the brakes.

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Someone is going too slow.

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S-Curve

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My chariot

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Awesome view from the top of the mountain.

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I don't recall any written signs with rules, only these revolving billboards. NO TAILGATING!

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No driving with your head.

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Keep legs in the ride vehicle and don't use your cell phone.

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Don't stop or exit your vehicle and take pictures.

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This is not the Michael Jackson Thrill Coaster.

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Women may not use cell phones, either.

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No riding with a cane.

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This isn't Bedrock and you're not Fred Flintstone, "NO BREAKING WITH YOUR FEET"

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Please keep arms inside the vehicle and absolutely no dancing allowed.

Edited by larrygator
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Most Mountain Coasters reach 25-28MPH, this felt similar to the other two I have ridden.

 

But due to the proximity to the ground mountain coaster gives the sensation of going much faster.

Edited by larrygator
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Back to the salt mine.

 

Actually, I've never been to one before but when I started planning this post TPR Trip it was the one touristy thing that intrigued me the most when looking at cities on my itinerary such as London, Amsterdam, Salzburg, Vienna and Budapest. It's probably the sense of history I have knowing that the Salt Mines in this region contributed greatly to the wealth that built up in the region and political tensions between the countries now known as Germany and Austria.

 

The Salt Mine Tour takes about 75 minutes and consists of a guided tour covering 1 kilometer with:

- A pit railway (electric train) taking you into the bowels of the mountain

- A flat barge ride over a man made salt lake

- Two wooden slides (each 132 feet) that miners used to descend down to lower levels in the mine

 

Google says that in 1969 the tour used to be 4 kilometers and included 7 slides.

 

Unfortunately, I couldn't take a lot of quality pictures in the mine due to poor lighting, but I hope you enjoy these photos and my walk around Salzburg that evening.

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Instead of waiting 30 minute for a bus I decided on a 20 minute walk down the mountain road, through an avalanche zone.

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Here's the entrance to the Salt Mine Tour. Ooh Ah!

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You are expected to dress appropriately for the year round constant temperature in the mines.

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and they have a hot chick giving you a required jump suit to wear to protect your clothes.

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I'm stylin'

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We look like a bunch of mental ward rejects.

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Here's the pit railway that takes us to the heart of the salt mining operation. The entranceway only provides about a foot of clearance on each side and about 6 inches overhead. Some people had to duck to avoid injury.

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Actually, we look like klansmen with the hoods. That's our guide on the far right in the official tour guide uniform

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At different stages of the tour they showed us a movie about how the nobility and archbishops in the area made a fortune from White Gold. It is also explain how the technique over the centuries changed from extract blocks of salt to flooded sections of the mine to create a briny solution that was removed from the mine and water and salt were later separated.

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Our guide demonstrating proper wood slide riding technique.

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Difficult to see from this picture but the slide is steep and you really start picking up speed. I could feel the friction from the slide heating up my thigh.

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The mines are literally right on the border and you cross over from Austria to Germany.

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I pictoral guide for the next slide, the tour guide did not give her spiel again.

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One view looking up the second slide.

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A bad picture but this is the barge that took us across the salt lake with our heads about 6 inches from the ceiling.

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The train station at Hallein isn't much to look at but has a nice view. I headed back to Salzburg, removed my bags from storage, checked into my hotel and headed out to see the sites of Salzburg.

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Walking along the Salzach River.

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There are many small bridges that span the river.

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I have no idea why I took this picture.

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Here I end up at the Palace of Mirabell Gardens.

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But that big ass palace on the hill in the background is to far away to walk to and I don't remember what it is anyway. It might be the Hohensalzburg Castle.

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An old church who's name escapes me right now.

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Higher education and useless art.

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Then I crossed this bridge to find Mozart's birthplace.

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Check, that was easy!

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I also took a picture of this building since every other tourist was doing it.

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On the way back to the hotel I followed more tourists and ended up on this pedestrian street looking for something to eat.

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Found this reasonably priced restaurant where I watched the first half on the Germany/Spain semi-final with a Gosser Bier and huge plate of Wiener Schnitzel.

 

Thanks for reading, Wiener Prater will be next but I may not get it posted until Sunday night, so please be patient.

Edited by larrygator
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Thanks for posting this, Larry. That salt mine tour looks very interesting, and the slides, quite a unique experience.

 

I knew you were staying after the trip ended, but I didn't know you traveled this much after we all left. You got to visit some truly remarkable and gorgeous destinations, I am quite jealous. Can't wait for the next update!

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Very interesting, I was just in Salzburg a week ago. I was staying in a town called Bad Reichenhall, they also have a significant salt mine, and we did something very similar to this. Salzburg is a really nice town, I think it was one of my favorite parts of the trip; wish I was still there!

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This really helps me geek out for the time it took to read this TR. Being a Miner myself (giggety?) I am always interested in seeing other mines!

 

We don't have slides though I am guaranteeing it will be in the suggestion box Monday morning!

 

Is the mine still active? I assume it isn't since they have set up what seems to be standardized tours, but it also sounds like a big mine so the tours could be in an old section!

 

Thanks for this awesome update!

 

Chris "Gets his geek on for mining" Damm

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Hi Larry,

 

great Trip report so far! I´m glad, you enjoyed your Trip on your own, after we met at Phantasialand and Efteling. With your last Photo TR of the Salt mine, you bring me back some memories of my childhood years, I totaly forgot about! Thanks

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Dammie - Although Salt Mine Tour started in 1607, production of the mine continued until 1989.

Shawn - thanks that that mean a lot coming from a PTR "Hall of Famer"

 

And again thanks for your patience everyone, I needed a break from this PTR and spent the day at Knoebels yesterday and today I have a attend a Baptism. I tried to download my first video, as a teaser for Wiener Prater, but I failed. I have so many pictures from Wiener Prater and so many rides to cover that I'll probably split those pictures into two posts and will start tomorrow at the last.

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I've been having a lot of trouble uploading this to CoasterTube, but here is a YouYube link to a video of the Tagada I took at Wiener Prater. I starting filming about a minute into the ride and stopped filming about 30 seconds before it ended, it was approximately a 6 minute ride cycle.

 

Edited by larrygator
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