Photo TR: Larrygator returns to Europe with TPR

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Re: Photo TR: Larrygator returns to Europe with TPR

Postby larrygator » Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:41 pm

Bruges

I knew I would either have time to take a train to Luxembourg and walk around Luxembourg City or visit Bruges. As I posted on Facebook from Ghent a college roommate asked if I was going to Bruges, which he said was a great city to walk around not only from an architecture and history perspective, but the locals are very nice and friendly. Food wise, Bruges is known for chocolate, waffles, beer and fries so I knew I needed to go there before returning to Ghent from Bellewaerde. However, I had much fun those four hours that I decided I needed to return after Plopsa de Panne also. Maybe I'll get to Luxembourg on another trip.

My mistakes walking around Bruges were twofold:
1) not realizing the wear and tear walking on cobblestones for hours at a time could do on your feet
2) disregarding the friend who told me I would get lost walking the streets. The layout is about as far as you can get from a grid pattern. Add in street names that can't be pronounced and change names without warning, lack of streets signs, few posted maps outside the largest tourist attractions, and an assortment of canals and you can get completely disoriented. The one thing I knew was that as long as I didn't cross the largest canal encircling old Bruges I could eventually follow that circle back to the train station.
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My starting point - the Train Station
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A close-up of the map to show you these street names are no joke.
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Pretty much this is the totality of the Bruges tourist area. encircled my the canals. Within the boundaries are some of the finest examples of medieval architecture. During both WW1 and WW2, Bruges was occupied by the Germans and in uncharacteristic fashion they left their conquered city practically intact. The train station is located below the bottom left hand corner, and my goal the first day was to get to the larger market squares in the center of this map.
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One of the larger canals near the train station
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This is how many streets looked
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Streets just bend and sometimes change names without fanfare
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These cobblestone streets were closed off to most vehicular traffic
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Whenever I passed a grand building I took a picture but honestly have no idea the names of all the buildings
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This might be the famous Church of Our Lady
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Or this one might be
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Or maybe this is it. Hell, I don't even know if all these are the same building just from different angles. But I was there.
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Here is the proof that I found my way to the large Market Square
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and in that area were many chocolatiers
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and waffles
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and beer
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but mostly chocolate
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a lot of chocolatiers
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and chocolate by-products
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This store allowed you to choose your style of chocolate to create your own hot chocolate
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While the US was going through a heat wave in early August it was in the upper 60's at night in Belgium so I visited this shop both nights.
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There was a Dali exhibit at one of the museums
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but I was more intrigued by the canals
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and the architecture
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on my second day my goal was to return to area A on the map and then walk due west to Area B, which is one of Bruges six city gates, as the map makes it looks like there are actual windmills in the vicinity also. However, I ended up where you see the handwritten C on the map
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stupid curving streets
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and canals threw off my sense of direction
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I was blissfully unaware that I was lost
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and kept taking pictures of interesting buildings (Bruges City Hall)
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I finally reached a moat like canal, one of the large ones that circles the town.
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and found one of the city gates. It was only when I consulted the tourist map next to the site that I realized I was on the west side of the city not the east side. Thus no windmill picture.
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To ensure the shortest trip back to the train station without a getting lost, a decided to follow a path south keep the large canal on my right side at all times.
Last edited by larrygator on Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:49 pm.
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Re: Photo TR: Larrygator returns to Europe with TPR

Postby Electerik » Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:39 pm

larrygator wrote:Image
on my second day my goal was to return to area A on the map and then walk due west to Area B, which is one of Bruges six city gates, as the map makes it looks like there are actual windmills in the vicinity also. However, I ended up where you see the handwritten C on the map


I feel like there's a hidden meaning in your letter selection and arrangement, perhaps implying some regret in your choice of walking...?

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Re: Photo TR: Larrygator returns to Europe with TPR

Postby SharkTums » Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:34 pm

If you're going to get lost somewhere, at least it's in a place that has a lot of chocolate!

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Re: Photo TR: Larrygator returns to Europe with TPR

Postby The Great Zo » Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:29 pm

Make-your-own hot chocolate? I could have used that on some of those chilly pre-trip days!
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Re: Photo TR: Larrygator returns to Europe with TPR

Postby larrygator » Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:23 pm

The Great Zo wrote:Make-your-own hot chocolate? I could have used that on some of those chilly pre-trip days!


It was amazing how much cooler it was in Belgium in those 3 days before the TPR portion of the trip started. I only brought outerwear because we were going further north on the trip but I never used it after Belgium.
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Re: Photo TR: Larrygator returns to Europe with TPR

Postby larrygator » Sun Aug 25, 2019 8:40 pm

Bobbejaanland
Although I did not take any pictures at Bobbejaanland, I'd like to give my opinion on the park since my last visit 10 years ago.
The VR on two coasters and heavy crowds made this the only park of the trip that couldn't be finished if taken at a leisurely pace. I was in no need to rush around so I skipped Dreamcatcher which I had ridden previously without VR. VR slowed down the line on Revolution even for those not wearing since it caused 10 minute dispatches on ALL trains.

The park always had a "clean" layout, but as others have mentioned trying to squeeze existing rides into newly themed areas has made getting around a little messy.

I liked Typhoon years ago and still like it. Fury was the most pleasant surprise of the trip. I expected to like it but I was overwhelmed. Every medium sized park looking to expand to short on space should put this on their short list. Although it would be a capacity problem for larger parks.

Forbidden Caves was a new attraction for me. Maybe compared it to Universal's Kong, but I never rode it. I loved the concept but apparently missed many effects sitting in the front row.

The park recently added an upcharge horror themed escape room that I would have liked to try but no one in every group seemed interested.
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Re: Photo TR: Larrygator returns to Europe with TPR

Postby larrygator » Mon Aug 26, 2019 9:43 pm

Efteling

This was my third trip to Efteling. Before we get into the comparisons to Disney, let me state that I'm not a huge Disney fan. Although I like dark rides, I prefer the gritty ones, not the sanitized ones. With that said I have always enjoyed Efteling.

The park is still beautifully manicured, but they have been adding more exciting and thrilling attractions since my first visit, while still holding on to their heritage. I owe a bit of gratitude to the Efteling team member who took some of his personal time to walk us around the Fairytale area and explain some of the stories, point out some eggs and sort out the chronology of additions.

We had four hours in the park the first night and ERT on most coasters the following morning, so the group I was with took the park at a very leisurely pace.
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Here is part of the park entrance, since I always stayed at the park hotel, this was the first time I walked to the front of the park to witness the WOW factor.
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I have no idea what the plaque says
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I was more interested in the support structure of the front entrance.
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I'm a big fan of old school dark rides but Symbolica blew me away, not as good as Pooh Hunny Hunt, but very fun and re-ridable. Although the interactive part could have been better
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Just as I was about to get a grand tour of the castle...
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Efteling's mascot and court jester, Pardoes shows up
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He parts the staircase and takes everyone on the special tour.
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I was able to ride all 3 tours in 5 trips through the single rider line (single riders can not pick their tour)
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Many felt the best part of the ride was when the animatronic whale
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cracked the glass in front of the vehicle
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I enjoyed the King's feast even though the dancing part wasn't as good as Pooh's Hunny Hunt
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Baron 1898, is a fun a well themed Eurofighter
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I don't think the Flying Dutchman would "fly" at any other major park, but it works for Efteling
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BTW - this is the rescue boat in case something goes awry on the Flying Dutchman
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I can not believe they rebuilt Python, nor the fact I rode it again.
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It is much improved over the original.
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An inside look at Villa Volta - damn Goatriders
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Droomvlucht (Dream Flight) was the parks first big ride, but I prefer Spookslot
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What do Efteling and New York Mayor diBlasio have in common?
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No respect for Asians.
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The park has an awesome carousel
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with an antique paper feed calliope
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This view from the Flying Island shows how large and well shaded the park is.
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First Aid Station
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ATM
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Restaurant Menu
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I'm still not sure if we were stealing the eggs or protecting them.
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I tried to enjoy Raveleijn show I picked front row seat so no one would stand up in front of me
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Except someone had other thoughts on the topic.
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Thanks for the wonderful parenting!
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Yup, she stood up for the whole show.
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Luckily horse on fire emerges from the right side.
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Good night all.
Last edited by larrygator on Mon Aug 26, 2019 9:56 pm.
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Re: Photo TR: Larrygator returns to Europe with TPR

Postby The Great Zo » Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:38 pm

larrygator wrote:BTW - this is the rescue boat in case something goes awry on the Flying Dutchman


This is the kind of in-depth park analysis I read a Larry TR for...

larrygator wrote:but I prefer Spookslot


...and this is not. :lmao:

Great write-up. I enjoyed this park on my first visit in 2016 and I think I liked it even more this time around. Good weather and reasonable crowds always help. I missed one of the three side-quests on Symbolica, but as you mention, those weren't the best part of the ride anyway. The first room and the whale room are really spectacular.
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Re: Photo TR: Larrygator returns to Europe with TPR

Postby A.J. » Tue Aug 27, 2019 3:44 am

larrygator wrote:I tried to enjoy Raveleijn show I picked front row seat so no one would stand up in front of me
Except someone had other thoughts on the topic.
Thanks for the wonderful parenting!

Ooof. Sorry that happened, at least you got to see the horse on fire!

No respect for Asians.

I saw that during the ride and kind of just sat there in silence until we moved onto the next room. I don't think I've ever seen two sumo wrestlers represented as one gigantic two-headed person before!
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Re: Photo TR: Larrygator returns to Europe with TPR

Postby larrygator » Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:51 pm

Toverland

A lot has changed in the world over the past 10-15. I don't think I'm going too far out on a limb to say in the world of amusement parks Toverland has made the biggest changes. On my first visit in 2006 I encountered a small FEC that was primarily focused on playgrounds and physical play areas. On my second visit the park had introduced its second major outdoor coaster and Troy gained the park some worldwide notoriety. Over the following ten years the park continued to grow into a full fledged amusement park but has maintained it playful heritage.

Many non-local enthusiasts do not realize that Toverland is owned by Gelissen Group, the only other holding of Gelissen Group is Gepla BV. Gepla BV is responsible for finishing and furnishing of buildings and supplies and assembles total solutions in the form of wall and ceiling systems. The imagined finishes in Toverland have also been realized by Gepla's craftsmen.

If you read up on the company it is clear that Toverland will continue to grow and their buildings serve as a proving ground for Gepla's talent. Some of the designs in the newest park areas (Magic Valley and Avalon) may remind enthusiasts of other parks, but in the information age practically every new design gets inspiration from someplace else.

For whatever reason, I just wasn't feeling myself this day at Toverland and my aging body had no desire to challenge Toverland's play areas. I remember spending a lot of tie indoors just chilling out. I thought I took more pictures and the ones I took are just off.
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The former amusement park in a box has a proper entrance now.
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Let the inevitable comparisons begin.
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and let the comparisons continue
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Not going here for the unlimited ribs was my biggest regret of the day.
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The Flaming Feather is not as blurry in real life.
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After walking on cobblestones for so many days you wouldn't think this would present a challenge.
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Toverland's playful heritage continues in the new outdoor areas, where you have the opportunity to take a more challenging path if you wish.
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Oh yeah, there is a big new coaster here
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It was quite enjoyable
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Merlin's Quest is a boat ride that interacts with Fenix and even has a dark ride section
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Swinging Pirate Ship themed to a scorpion is unique
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I'm usually not too excited about BobKarts but the new version now has theming and was an upgrade over the original
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Chuck and Brad both enjoyed it too
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No play areas for me this time
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The original amusement park in a box
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It appears the coaster is in the middle of nowhere
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More of the "original" design work
Last edited by larrygator on Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:02 pm.
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