On Sunday we and some friends made a trip to Heide Park (https://www.heide-park.de), an amusement /theme park which is about 3.5 hours from Berlin by car. It’s one of the biggest amusement parks in Germany and certainly the biggest I’ve ever been to (actually, the only other amusement park I’d experienced previously was Ratanga Junction in Cape Town – http://www.ratanga.co.za/theme-park, which was also a lot of fun). Heide park has nine rollercoasters as well as a variety of other rides suitable for many different ages and preferences. When we arrived in the morning it was cold and windy and we were worried that it wouldn’t be much fun being outside all day, especially if we got wet in the water rides, but soon enough the sun came out and it turned out to be a lovely day.
We started off near the entrance in the pirate-themed section, and took our first ride on a rocking pirate ship. Then everyone spotted a ride called “Krake” (Octopus), a dive coaster where you slowly ascend up to the a great height in a floorless train, and then go plummeting down at a near vertical angle into an octopus mouth and out the other side. Of course everyone wanted to rush off to do that immediately. I’d rather build my way up to stuff like that and not just leap right in, since it looked, quite frankly, terrifying. So I volunteered to take photographs instead. On an adrenaline high, the others then rushed off to another scary one called Flug der Dämonen (Flight of the Demons). Want to be thrown around at high speeds (up to 100km/hr) in loop de loops and experience weightlessness? For me it was too early in the day for that! I kept my job as photographer, where I was enjoying playing with the sports setting on J’s camera to take action photos.
Luckily the next ride we found was something easier to start with – the Schweizer Bobbahn, a bobsled type coaster with tamer speeds of about 50km/hour. There are really lots of coasters in the park of all different levels, which is great, and the next one in the queue was Limit, which seemed to be similar to the Cobra at Ratanga junction. Then it was time for lunch. We went to the Mayan Village where you could buy hamburgers or chips and dip. There were also rides in this area, which all seemed to be spinning ones, probably better for before lunch! For some reason some friends headed straight from lunch to a fast spinning ride called “Magic” (which we renamed Washing Machine). One friend came off looking completely nauseous and felt ill for about 2 hours afterwards! The rest of us went on Lady Moon (tilting and spinning one) but this guy felt ill just thinking about it.
Afterwards we went to take a look at the Colossus, a huge wooden rollercoaster (maximum height apparently 52m, though it looks much higher!). We decided to go on it later when our friend was feeling better. In the meanwhile we headed to the water rides section and went on the mountain rafting ride, where you ride down a man-made river on a round raft. Our Queasy Friend sat back and closed his eyes, expected a relaxing ride, but soon opened them again with a scream when there was a big splash of water – the ride had some bumps, spashes, twists and turns. I found it relaxing, but it seemed to be the final straw for Queasy Friend, as he then decided to take a much longer break. While we were waiting for him to recover we tried a more peaceful ride on the water (labeled as a 60+ ride, but it was very quiet so anyone could try it). First we sailed in pretty surroundings with statues of animals, gnomes and so on, but the ride then took an unexpected twist when we went into a dark cave full of moving caveman scenes. After that we went on the nearby rollercoaster called Grottenblitz which was a fun and not too scary one.
After a break, Queasy Friend was ready for action again, and we all went together on the water ride called Wildwasserbahn 1, one of those log flume rides where you sit in a log that rides over the water, ascend up some slopes and then go flying down, making a splashdown in the water. The heavier the passengers, the bigger the splashes, and all five of us sat in one log, so you can imagine. J sat in front and got drenched! We all got pretty wet but the sun was strong enough to dry us quickly. Obviously don’t have photos of this – we didn’t want our cameras to drown!
Finally it was time for the Colossus. That thing is scarily huge. When the train ascends up the first and largest slope, you just know it is going to be a tough way down. I basically clung onto J and screamed the whole way until the end, which he found hilarious. Open your eyes! Open your eyes! he kept saying. I did open them now and then only to close them again when I didn’t like what I was seeing in front of me! I think I might have opened them more the second time around, and considered going on it again but couldn’t bring myself to suggest repeating the experience.
“Did you scream?” Queasy Friend asked me afterwards. “Of course! All the way. Didn’t you hear me?” I asked.
“I couldn’t hear you over my own high pitched screams,” he said.
Once we’d been on the Colossus we just wandered around the park trying out some of the smaller rides, like the viewing tower (great view of the park), the Panorama train and the Splashbattle pirate ships, which was a huge hit with all the kids around.
We had some waffles in the Wild West area, and then it was time to go. On the way home we stopped briefly in Hamburg, where there was a harbor birthday festival, and then drove back to Berlin, tired but happy.