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9 July 2009
Bratwurst, bier steins, and girls with long blond pig tails are what immediately pop up into many a Brit’s mind when they think of holidaying in Germany – but did you know it has a huge theme park?
With the recession in full swing many people are looking closer to home to holiday.
With kids in tow or not it may seem natural to want to avoid the gloom on the news by heading somewhere a bit more fun.
Phantasialand was created in 1967 by Gottlieb Löffelhardt and Richard Schmidt, who, inspired by film and theatre, wanted to create a place where people could escape the worries of the world.
They re-created Alt (Old) Berlin, what would be the first of what is now six areas in their theme park.
The attention to details shows in the architecture of the
1920s, and traditionally costumed women serving old fashioned Berlin waffles.
After taking a stroll through the quaint streets we headed straight for Africa! Deep in Africa where sand-coloured towers rise up to the sky, interspersed with reed roofs and exotic plants.
Here we found the Black Mamba, an inverted rollercoaster which will scare you stiff. In my front of the train seat, I look over at my 'fearless' partner and he's got his eyes shut for the entire journey! We had sea-legs for ten minutes after!
Perhaps we would fare better with something in our stomachs. Opting for a spot of lunch back at Alt Berlin, we ate tomato pasta made on the spot at Unter den Linden. It makes a pleasant change to be able to eat healthily in a theme park!
But then all our good intentions went to pot as we tucked into a traditional Berlin waffle covered in cherries and whipped cream.
At this point we opt for a full stomach friendly ride and head over to the River Quest in the Mystery area. It wasn't quite the warm hot summer's day we'd hoped for, but we both hoped a few sprays of water wouldn't matter too much. Down the first sloop and the people across from me got soaked, but I managed to escape with a few drops. Just as I was thinking I was safe, and probably because I was laughing at the others for getting so wet, we head down the final drop where I get a hefty lap-full. The rest of the day is cold and uncomfortable, but hey, we are here to have fun!
Ready to up the ante again we crossed over to the Mystery Castle. We are told that it has a 65 metre free fall but what we're not expecting is the darkness. As we're shot up into the night with several flashing lights, it's not knowing how long it's going to last that really starts to rattle me. I can feel my partner actually shaking beside me after we manage to get through the first and longest drop. But straight away, we're shot up into the air again. My stomach starts to feel queasy again and the uncertainty really starts to set in. But just when I think I can't take the up and down motions any longer we’ve reached the bottom, breathless, and both glad it's all over.
But the park is not just rides. Each area sticks to its theme.
You can travel to Mexico. To the sounds of trumpets and guitars, dancers ply their trade. Walk a little further and discover the ruins of an ancient temple.
Or you can spot dragons, watch acrobats and stroll through temples and pagodas in China Town.
And to go somewhere completely different walk through the realms of fantasy. A long-forgotten tribe live in the valley of the Wuze. Warrior Queen Winja challenges visitors to test their courage in a series of adventures.
The Winja's Fear & Force is the ride that pushes me to the brink of
being sick. I just can't seem to handle any ride that does a 360. Put
me on any drops, flips, upside down rides, and I'm fine. Stick me on
a carousel however, and it's game over. My partner convinces me that
everything will be fine because it doesn't spin too much and there's
mostly just drops. I should have known to trust instinct!
It can take quite a while to get around Phantasialand, so, of course, it has places to stay. But the park does nothing ordinary!
Its two hotels have either a Chinese or African theme. The four star Hotel Ling Bao is instantly calming was opened in 2002 and is the largest ‘Chinese hotel’ outside of China. Feng Shui architecture and music give the place an authentic feel. The wood was carved in China, and the hallways smell of cedarwood.
And if you want to de-stress even more there’s a sauna, indoor and outdoor pool, and the Mandala Spa.
Outside, The Pagoda Camila, beautiful Chinese gardens add that extra feel of serenity.
Two restaurants complete the experience, with the a la carte Lu Chi, or the buffet at Bamboo Restaurant. After dinner you can unwind in the Li River Bar or enjoy a fantastic view over the park in the two-floor Dragon Bar.
The hotel has 140 family rooms, 20 double rooms and five suites. Price per person and night including breakfast go from 60.00 E for adults and 43.00 E for children. Suites from 250.00 E, max two people.
Looking to stay somewhere a bit more lively? The three star Hotel Matamba, which opened in 2006, feels like you may have just stepped into Africa!
Built in the style of typical Cameroon village architecture, the hotel is dotted with jungle plants.
And when we say this hotel is family-oriented, we mean it. Kids even have their own check-in area, family rooms have tents for them to sleep in. And there is an indoor climbing area for your little monkeys.
For the adventurous, the Zambesi restaurant offers anything from ostrich to crocodile. Children also have their own separate buffet, with a chocolate fountain, which may or may not resemble the muddy waters of the Congo!
The hotels other restaurant and bars continue the theme, replete with African sculptures, palm trees, banana plants and even have piped in calls of African birds.
At Hotel Matamba price per person including breakfast go from 49.00E for adults and children 33.00E
Phantasialand is open until 01st of november 2009 daily from 09:00 am until 06:00 pm for the summer season 2009.
Day ticket for adults
Day ticket for children up to 1,45 in height
Day ticket for seniors for 60 years and over¹
RAILTON ROAD SE24,
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TEA TRADE WHARF SE1, £1,295,000 , For Sale
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PROVIDENCE SQUARE SE1, £1,600,000 , For Sale