Posted tagged ‘PortAventura’

Two Planes and a bit in the Middle

July 16, 2010

Amid much fanfare and colossal amounts of bunting, thirty five thousand people waved us off and soon we were 35,000 feet in the air heading to the sunny climes of Spain. This was our third time in Salou, which has the wonderful PortAventura theme park.

The last time was a few years ago when the kids were younger and played happily, youthfully at childish things. In those days I was their hero as I was fearless on the middle ranking roller coasters of PortAventura, now however, they were big enough to adventure onto the main rides (that’s the giant scary ones). Feigning injury wouldn’t do as I’d be mocked forever, so summoning up all my Braveheart spirit I joined them on these man made crazy trains.

First up was the big Daddy of them all: The Dragon Khan; Better to get the most daunting one out of the way. My wife became the cricket umpire and was charged with watching the bags, flip-flops, sun glasses and Boycott hats while we queued or in my case sweated profusely at the turnstiles. I’ll slide right out of this thing if I’m not careful, I said. Don’t be like Steff, my kids told me, get yourself together.

The Khan launched into a small dip before climbing 150 feet of rails in the blazing sunshine. Then we fell to earth and began a series of loop the loops, corkscrews, side rolls with probably a triple salchow in there as well. In my book, there’s too many turns in the ride in quick succession that spoils the Wow effect. I like a longer lasting thrill in a spin before the next one. However, as is the norm in these things, after finishing we ran back round to the start for another shot ignoring the over-laden camel with our clothing stuff. Back in a minute, mum.

The other main attraction is Europe’s fastest rollercoaster: Furius Baco. The furious wife was lumbered with our kit again and we took our seats in the belly of the beast. One of my kids told me the best way to enjoy a coaster ride is to relax completely and let the train soar you through the skies as if you’re flying. Gripping the handle bars and tensing up should be avoided, instead, go with the flow of the free fall. Giving this a try, the Furius Baco propelled us at high speed through longer turns than the Khan. This was a stomach churning experience but brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

A funny thing happened on the Stampida (middle ranking ride, not worth much fuss, over the hill). As we queued we saw a man in his sixties with his grandson on a train about to depart. We noticed he had his hat on and wondered if it would still be there when he got back. No such luck, he returned hatless (his grandson had made it back so it wasn’t all bad). He searched around but it was nowhere to be seen. He left sadly and we took his place.

All the way round the ride we laughed as we scanned the areas to look for the man’s hat, oblivious to the twists and dives of the coaster. I espied a walking jumble sale that turned out to be my wife with our gear, poor lass! Near the end at one of the dips we saw the shiny red cap the man was wearing. It was lying disoriented on the ground in one of the maintenance sections; the world is full of lost property. We came off howling in hysterics to a bemused crowd of customers.

The expectation of thousands of people at the airport to greet us back sent shivers down our spines. I envisaged scenes like the reception the Espana football team got in Madrid after being successful in South Africa. We came off the plane and…Nothing. Not a soul, not a sausage. The whole place was a ghost town. They’ve all packed up and left us. It’s not fair.