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RMCs & Poffertjes: Chuck & TPR 's 2019 Europe Trip


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Prelude to an Interlude: Wandering Around Amsterdam

 

Welcome to the semi-cultural portion of my Theme Park Review Europe Trip 2019 report! Yes, this “prelude” (or “foreword” or “introduction” or “preface” or whatever you want to call it) will be followed by an “interlude.” Get excited, ladies and gents!

 

The last time I was in Amsterdam with TPR, I did take in a fair amount of culture (such as the paintings of Van Gogh and Rembrandt), not to mention beer. This time, I wandered around the city with my pre-trip roommate, Brad; took a canal-boat ride; did some hard time in the Amsterdam Dungeon; and, of course, ate some poffertjes (oh, I miss these). So, why don’t you join Brad and I was we see the sights of this beautiful Dutch city. Will you learn something? Well, probably not, but it’s a nice walk.

 

But first we have to get there--via Iceland.

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At Dulles, it was about 102 degrees F and outrageously humid. Iceland was 55 degrees F and damp. I thought it was a good trade.

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A few hours later, hanging out in Amsterdam. How many of you have I lost to the Red Light District? Well, there's more than weed and naked women around here, you know.

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For example, there are nice, wholesome ice-cream cones . . . and weed.

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Poffertjes are nice, too. This joint was great. They made wonderfully unhealthy desserts using poffertjes, churros, or crepes as a base. Who wants little pancakes covered in Nutella, strawberries, and whipped cream? They also had some concoction named the “Red Light District,” which they brought to someone’s table with suitable hoopla. Yes, you could get chocolate bits laced with cannabis.

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I’ll have the Super Fly Sirloin with extra Dolemite, please.

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I like it. Simple, direct, and it gets to the point.

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Officer, they’re just seeds. What do you have against flowers?

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Brad had never been to Amsterdam, and I’d never been on an Amsterdam canal-boat tour. The big brick building is the central train station, which provided easy access to the city from out hotel.

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The ducks were all, “Why not? Take a nice boat ride. Learn a little something. Just quit annoying us."

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Ahoy, avast, and other such nautical claptrap!

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We were the last passengers to board, so we got stuck behind two panes of not-so-clear plexiglass.

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The canals are very narrow in spots, and tight turns were tricky. It was interesting watching the skipper navigate.

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A beautiful city in a not-so-beautiful photo.

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It’s tough to find perfectly level buildings in Amsterdam. The old houses tend to lean a bit thanks to the soft ground.

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All ashore. Don’t drink the canal water.

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For five euros, see what you're getting yourself into.

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Looking for a shopping center and a burger joint called “The Butcher,” where we met the Alveys for lunch after our canal tour.

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After futzing around a bit with Google Maps, we found Magna Plaza, which was within striking distance of lunch.

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We also found Amsterdam Disney! Mickey and Minnie will steam your glasses and scar you for life for a mere 25 euros.

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The palace was far more regal than the hot-dog stand. More to come.

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this is awesome!

 

i eagerly await following along Chuck (tho I saw you in a lot of pics on TPR's socials during the trip, I'm really looking forwards to seeing your pics).

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A bit more wandering around Amsterdam--OK?

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“You see that feather, pal? You wanna end up like that bird? Then cough up some chips fast!”

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No time for carriage rides.

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“You down there! Behave lest I smite thee with my Switch of Righteousness!”

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Aha! Lunch awaits within.

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But where within? Looks a lot nicer than your average U.S. mall.

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Where else?

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And a damn good burger it was, too. I ate it too quickly to snap a photo.

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See those cyclists on that bridge? Watch out! They want to kill you!

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Definitely unlike any city you’d see in the U.S. Well, except maybe for Solvang, California.

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Amsterdam is a great city to wander around in.

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Nice houses, but expensive to live in.

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I was surprised this carriage made the turn without knocking over any tourists or bikes--very tight squeeze.

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Find the bee . . .

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. . . win a kewpie doll!

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Speaking of creepy stuff, Brad and I toured the Amsterdam Dungeon.

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Well, maybe “toured” isn’t quite the right word.

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Dungeon bear has a serious attitude problem.

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Here’s the adorable souvenir I bought.

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Hmm--maybe it’s best not to end our Amsterdam prelude with a rat swimming in blood. Stay tuned for the “interlude” at Bobbejaanland.

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Excellent photos!! Rikki and I fell in love with Amsterdam last year and loved every second we spent there. You're so right, it's a great city just to wander about and discover something.

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Hey, is everybody cool if I just take Chuck's TR and repost it with my name on it?

 

Going through my photos now, and we have a lot of similar shots. It's almost like we went on the same trip!

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Chuck, I have no idea how you get a TR started so quickly after a trip. But suddenly, I want some poffertjes.

 

(A+ on the Solvang reference, btw)

 

Can't wait to re-live the experience with the rest of your report!

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This is awesome! Once I realized you were on the trip I began looking forward to the "Chuck Report" from the trip! Thanks for posting this and I look forward to the rest.

 

David

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Hey, is everybody cool if I just take Chuck's TR and repost it with my name on it?

 

Going through my photos now, and we have a lot of similar shots. It's almost like we went on the same trip!

 

Funny how that works.

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Seriously awesome start to this trip report Chuck! Looks like you had a great time in Amsterdam! Was there anything unique about The Amsterdam Dungeon compared to the others out there?

 

My only other Dungeon experience was Edinburgh, so I don't a have a large basis for comparison. The Amsterdam Dungeon had no "ride" of any kind (Edinburgh's had a boat ride through a vampire-infested cave). Like Edinburgh, this one did have a "trial," but also included a witch "burning." You got a free beer at the end, too.

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Interlude to the Prelude: Bobbejaanland

 

I last visited Bobbejaanland with TPR in 2008. Here’s what the entrance looked like then, along with my first reaction to the park.

 

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“Through this portal, ‘Weird’ has sex with ‘Wacky,’ who gives birth to ‘WTF.’”

 

A lot has changed since 2008, when the park was an eccentric place with a “Wild West” town and other random attractions. Today, it’s an eccentric place that’s morphing into more of a theme park, with the addition of Adventure Valley (a sort of “Indiana Jones,” jungle-themed land) and the Land of Legends, which features both old (Typhoon) and new (Fury) attractions.

 

Land of Legends revolves around the elements of Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water (and is not to be confused with the soul group Earth, Wind, and Fire). Each attraction here has entrances branching off from a central plaza. It shakes out like this:

 

Typhoon, the park’s old Eurofighter, represents “Wind” (but not “Water,” even though typhoons have rain). The ride’s queue now sports a Griffon (sorry, BGW) pulling a coaster car behind it. Other than that, it’s the same ride that opened in 2004, but with a nicer color scheme--it’s still a good, forceful coaster (more on that later).

 

Fury, with its crazy launches and dragon statue, represents “Fire.” This Gerstlauer coaster is also the first to let riders vote on whether they want to be launched backward or forward. After riders vote by pressing a button, a turntable in the launch zone turns the car in the winning direction. This is an excellent, intense, air-time-filled ride. But a word of advice: After taking three consecutive rides on Typhoon, don’t be shocked if a backward ride on Fury messes you up for a while (especially if you’re me). That being said, I liked this ride quite a bit.

 

Sledgehammer, one of those pendulum/giant Frisbee type rides, represents “Earth.” Well, why not? (It’s a re-theme of a ride that was there in 2008.)

 

A kid’s play area, with interactive fountains and a sea serpent, represents “Water.” This seemed a bit anti-climatic, but at least all four elements were accounted for in the Land of Legends.

 

All in all, it was a good day at Bobbejaanland. Let’s wander around and see the old and new of this eccentric Belgian park.

 

Don’t worry--Oki Doki, the creepy clown coaster, and El Paso Special are still there.

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Howdy! This here cowboy welcomes y’all to Bobbejaanland. (I think this statue was inside the park in 2008.)

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“Yippee-ki-yai--in French!”

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The park provided a nice breakfast-pastry spread that morning.

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Looks like a Typhoon is brewing. If you want to experience it, turn left at "Ingang."

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As you can tell from this statue in the queue, all Typhoon trains are now pulled by a Griffon.

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See it? See the Griffon? No?

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I guess you’re not worthy enough to see him. Too bad! He’s cute, and his name is Griffin, the, er, Griffon.

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This is the Guardian of Elements, and he protects those who visit the Land of Legends. Or he could be some random cosplayer who doesn't protect anyone. Hard to tell.

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Let me see if I can translate these runes . . . hmm . . . “Whosoever passes through this portal wilt not know whether he cometh or goeth . . .

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. . . for this be Fury.”

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Time to get equipped for your quest. Who wants the axe?

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But how can you tell if this train is going forward or backward? Let’s try the Dragon Test.

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Launch forward.

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Launch backward.

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TPR people are sick puppies who like to ride it backward. I fear to guess how this fits into their personal lives.

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I have no idea what direction this train is going.

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Here’s the “Water” part of Land of Legends. H2O is, indeed, present.

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Next came the long march to Naga Bay, or “The Coaster Formerly Known as Dizz.” We went from one side of Adventure Valley . . .

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. . . to the other . . .

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. . . and back again to the station.

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Yes, one must endure the travails of true heroes . . .

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. . . to ride the spinning (sort of) mouse.

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Well, we survived the trudge to Naga Bay. May as well brave the Forbidden Caves.

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Looks like another long quest involving many ordeals. First, you must cross the Swamp of Jungle Theming via the Catwalk of Manufactured Mystery.

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Then you must survive the the Graveyard of Abandoned Conveyances.

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Here’s a hopeful sign, at least.

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You must avert your eyes from the Perversion Chamber of the Purple Ape. Or just look at it. Didn’t seem to matter.

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Then you must endure the judgment of the Stone Face that Looks Like Someone Just Farted. “Don’t adventures ever have an end?” No, Bilbo Baggins, they don’t, but there’s an immersion tunnel, 3D glasses, and probably a gift shop. More to come.

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Great start for this park, Chuck! All I remember of this park (and 2008), is f-ing little buggers jumping the Pendulum attraction queue; riding one of my first (and sadly not last) face down flying flats...a Volares? Hated it.

 

Always looking forward to more from you. Oh, and a quick glance at this in a photo, made me incorrectly giggle.

Hey it "almost" looked that spelling, right? Right?

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French for Nerd? Not quite. But nice to know they get table signs, too. (o;

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I'm glad to see you all survived the judgment of the "Who farted?" stone face. Time to move on.

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I didn’t ride this goofy King Kong attraction, but I was afraid that his prominent nipples would put out someone’s eye.

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Nope. Not getting into a Banana Battle with Kong.

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Yeah, yeah, yeah. We all wanna change the world.

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Is this theming, or should we be concerned?

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This was the longest wait of the day. Appropriate, as it was for the longest coaster train of the day, too. Revolution offered VR (as "Mount Mara"), and this was where the line spilt up.

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Well, we’ve conquered Adventure Valley. Might as well celebrate here with a shot of rot gut.

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This is where Davy Crockett has his coonskin cap dry cleaned before he set out for the Alamo.

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Because “Old West,” you know. But since we’re in Belgium, shouldn’t these signs all be pointing west?

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Speedy Bob, old buddy! What’ve you been up too since 2008?

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Still cracking kneecaps and scaring the crap out of people? (This is a seriously crazy wild mouse that used to have two identical tracks.)

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In the Old West, people always kept cows in their rooms. Never know when you might need to start a stampede.

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There will be one more Oki Doki photo.

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Here it is.

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Sometimes, you just have to stop and appreciate how well landscaped many European parks are . . .

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. . . before you engage in spaghetti-western-style mayhem.

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"There are two kinds of people in the world, my friend. Those who sit on Bench: the Ride . . .

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. . . and those who have a really hot time on it." (Photo by Robb.)

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“So, you rode Typhoon three times, and now you want to ride Fury backward. Sheesh, you’re a moron.”

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So much Fury, . . .

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. . . so much hair time.

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It really is a great ride.

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But ya gotta know your limits. That’s all for now.

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Your report really brings out the odd mish-mash of the quality of theming at Bobbejaanland. I feel like that's something a lot of European parks have gone through as they modernize and become more serious (Phantasialand is a great example). Bobbejaanland is heading in the right direction for sure.

 

(and is not to be confused with the soul group Earth, Wind, and Fire).

 

Honestly, I would have preferred that.

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TPR people are sick puppies who like to ride it backward. I fear to guess how this fits into their personal lives.

I have exactly zero regrets from skipping the backwards rides.

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Revolution had a sister ride in Opryland called Chaos. The ride was pretty crap by the end with all of the effects broken but seeing Revolution brings back fond memories of my childhood. Great report so far Chuck!

 

Revolution's lighting and projection effects all seemed to be working. It's a goofy ride, but still fun.

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Some of those indoor queue photos started to remind me of the Kong: Skull Island queue at IOA. I found it hilarious that at the end of those series of photos was that King Kong ride. I am probably the only one dorkishly enough to find that funny. Looking forward to the rest.

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This random photo of Larry cracked me up.

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