Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Rollercoaster Club

Well we have a pretty crazy week at work after we got back from Ireland , but did we sit down and have a relaxing weekend. Nope.

We got up bright and early Saturday morning and our friends Barnaby and Maristela popped by to pick us up at 7:30am. We whizzed up the M1 to Alton Towers (past Birmingham ), which is a theme park not unlike Dreamworld I suppose, but way better. More rides, scarier rides!

It is in a lovely location, set on the very large old Alton estate, so lots of green and even the old mansion slash castle, which doubles as both the haunted house ride and historic site – educational and fun! Everything has to be lower than the tree line to ensure the countryside beauty is maintained, so it’s quite cool how some of the rides are set into the sides of hills and such. It was a great day for it, as although it’s supposed to be autumn here, the weather is still in the 20’s, so we only had a tiny bit of pretty autumn foliage to see – some golden yellows, but no reds yet.
Two car loads of us all finally got there and amidst the chaos of arrival, were ready to go at 11am (a quick discussion ensured that there would be no family friendly rides). It turned out with the walking, queuing, and gondola rides between the different park areas, there was hardly time to do all the major rides let alone any others or the family friendly ones – but we managed all of them. Though very disappointed I didn’t get to go on the Nutty Squirrel Ride though - would have been a hoot!!

First there was a roller coaster ride called "Air", where you are basically sitting, then before the ride moves off you go face down. So if you put your arms out you are in superman pose, great fun. It got better the next one was called "Nemesis", more of a regular roller coaster (i.e. sitting up), but lots of loops, hoops and twists, plus much faster again. Brilliant. We had express tickets for those, so not too time (10 minutes max.) was wasted lining up for those.

After some food (ugh theme park crap) and yet another gondola ride we queued for “Rita Queen of Speed” (stupid name – but fast ride, go from 0 to 100 km per hour in 2.5 seconds). While lining up we had some dancing entertainment from our friend Danni (Barnaby’s sister) and singing from Maristela.

Though the singing should have been Barnaby as he lived in Japan and is a karaoke superstar. Every song was deemed a karaoke classic, but cheekily he would not sing! We ended up waiting about an hour and 15 min, only to have the ride breakdown on us. What a pain! We were given a special express pass to come back later.

So we moved on to a kind of weird haunted castle thing, called Hex – quite a strange feeling doing that (hard to explain you had to be there).

On to better things, we decided it was time for "Oblivion". Well that is scary just to look at it. You basically go way way up, roller coaster style, and then you drop straight down (and I mean straight down) into a hole. It has some very serious G forces on the way down. Just awesome – the best ride.

A quick dash to the other side of the park had us on "Nemesis" again, and then yippee "Rita" was up again, so a sprint back across the park to do that prior to the park closing. That was amazing. The fast bit at the beginning is awesome and so is the rest of the 23 second ride! It’s soooo fast; you feel just like an over filled balloon that someone has just let go of going every which way around the place!! (we have since learned there is a faster one at Thorpe Park so that will be another theme park visit to do that)

We were absolutely exhausted, our bodies had no idea what hit them – all the adrenaline running through them whilst we were trying to scare ourselves silly. Fortunately, we were staying nearby at a nice cosy B&B pub called The White Hart in a little town of Uttoxeter , which we deemed had, oh about 20 permanent residents. After a few drinks and dinner, by 11pm we were all practically snoring at the table. I don’t think I have ever been so tired in my life, certainly not at the dinner table anyway.

Next day, amidst a bit of a gloomy grey morning, we had a fun group breakfast tossing up what to do. In the end, as originally planned, we decided that a cosy country pub lunch was order of the day and the only strenuous thing we all wanted to do for the day. The weather cheered considerably by the time we had gotten back down the M6 to Hertfordshire and the little pub in Frithsden, Hemel Hempstead was just beautiful. No franchise job here, it was the real deal and so cute with just amazingly delicious food to boot. Sunday roast dinners are just the best!

Then after a fond farewell to Resh, Andy, Sophia, Julia and Danni; Barnaby, Maristela, Mark and I headed on home, back down to London , which was a breeze as we had missed all the Sunday traffic.

Was a brilliant weekend and cannot wait to do it again, especially when we become the rollercoaster club and do the Blackpool rollercoaster (some 64m high) next summer.

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