Crazy Mountain Coaster/Culture Day
Being a resident of New England, I have my fair share of mountain coasters in New England. I've also ridden the many down in Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg as well as a few others in my travels. But nothing could prepare me for what was hiding in Bavaria. What if I told you there was an Alpine Coaster longer than the Beast?
"Well of course it's longer, all alpine slides have those ridiculously long lift hills."
Except this one doesn't have a lift hill. The track length and ride time is longer than the Beast and it doesn't even have a lift hill. Let that sink in for a minute. It's mind-boggling.
Where is this 8000 foot long mountain coaster? Somewhere in Bavaria at a place called Kolbensattel. I only know that because of the park's billboard. I had zero cell service leading up to the park, but that was perfectly fine by me since the drive was scenic. At one point we pulled over and had this view waiting for us!
Back to the coaster (to me it's one but to each their own) before I lose everyone. So if there's no lift, how do you get to the top? It was coasterbill's dream. The only way to access the station is a 10 minute long sky ride up the mountain. Sky rides up mountains are amazing. If only a certain regional park in New England had one... Oh wait, the park closed it because people find it difficult to sit in a seat and not try to kill themselves.
While the sky ride didn't get more than 20-25 feet above the ground at any point, I knew we getting higher than James Franco. About halfway up, my ears popped. I don't quite know what this coaster's elevation is, but I'd be willing to bet it's technically taller than Top Thrill Dragster or Kingda Ka.
Another cool tidbit about this coaster is that you aren't the only one who gets to enjoy the sky ride; the sleds get to enjoy it as well. It's similar to the system mountain resorts use to return the sleds on their alpine slides.
The descent took four minutes and that was without me touching the brake once. If you went slow to admire the views (which you could easily do on this thing thanks to its amazing location), I honestly have no clue how long it could take to reach the bottom. But I much prefer to take in my views going 30 miles per hour testing the engineering behind those tiny little sleds.
Not only is it insanely long, but it's incredibly thrilling as well. Prior to riding this one, my favorite mountain coaster was the one at Attitash. I still think Attitash's is just a hair more intense, but this one is about four times longer. I kept thinking each turn would be the last, but then I'd peer down the mountain and see just how tiny that Bavarian village still looked.
A few of the turns in particular were pretty aggressive. I distinctly remember one about halfway through the ride that was an S-bend with a pretty steep angle of descent. I thought for a second about hitting the brakes, but thought better. If I was going to go out, that honestly wouldn't be a bad way to do so. But I survived and was treated to some insane laterals. There was also another really tall drop earlier in the ride that dropped into a tunnel. That's something I don't necessarily expect on a normal coaster, let alone a mountain coaster.
It's off the beaten path for many, but if you find yourself in Bavaria, do not miss this mountain coaster. I was interested to see how it would rank when I compared it to other coasters I've ridden. When I asked myself the question would I rather ride this insane mountain coaster or Coaster X, I found the mountain coaster won more often than not. Honestly, it's probably better than 90% of the coasters I've ridden. This mountain coaster is the whole package. 10 out of 10
I could have ridden the mountain coaster alone and had a marvelous day, but we also got to see two palaces/castles. The first was Linderhof Palace. The palace was beautiful, but our tour guide (not Robb and Elissa) made it a point to mention just how fantastic the fountains were. Maybe fountains are rarer than unicorns in Germany because that's the only possibly explanation why our tour guide was so madly in love with this fountain. To me, it looked no different than a geyser on a lazy river or river rapids ride.
From a cultural standpoint, the highlight of the day was Neuschwanstein Castle. The castle was the inspiration for Disneyland's castle, except this one is actually tall.
The castle really needs to be seen to believed. Pictures do not do it justice. The castle looks straight out of a movie and it looks so grandiose that it doesn't even look real.
I wish I could say the inside was as impressive, but it was like opening a bag of oreos and only finding one on the inside. The castle was being built by King Ludwig, a king with a fetish for swans and a disdain for people. He hated people so much that he didn't want to interact with people. Just how far did he go to avoid talking to the servants? Instead of setting the table for him, they raised the table from the floor below via a pulley system.
But back to King Ludwig. You could say he was an odd duck. People back in his day clearly thought so too as he was declared insane and deemed unfit to rule. He mysteriously died shortly thereafter, but his castle was never finished. The tour goes through maybe 4-5 finished rooms (with a ton of swans), but the rest of the castle is unfinished and abandoned.
I'd say it was like the American Dream mall though that project has miraculously seen the light of day. I'd definitely go look at Neuschwanstein Castle again, but I probably would skip out on the tour in favor of admiring it from the outside. Oh and the best place to see the bridge is on a very narrow suspension bridge a good 200-300 feet above a gorge. You could say the view was gorgeous.