Amusement Park Survival Guide

 

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Amusement is listed as meaning: mirth, merriment, hilarity, glee and delight, or from a slightly different angle: entertainment, pleasure and leisure. Whilst in Italy we traipsed into Garda Land, close by Bardolino on Lake Garda, and later Lego Land in Bavaria. Needless to say these were the  highlights of the road trip for the children. The park redefined these definitions.

For Garda Land we bought our tickets, which were expensive for four people, online before our departure. It saved very little, apart from a bit of queuing. The rides in Garda were pretty fast and high, at least for me, but of course the kids loved them! Take deep pockets for change, or better still hand over your small change to your wife who is sensibly staying on the ground. When climbing into the super spinning cup and saucer, don’t, repeat don’t think about the large pastry you untypically had for breakfast. Close eyes and focus on the fact that it won’t last long. If you feel the urge to projectile vomit as you climb off at the end, at least direct it from your group! If staggering due to a still spinning head, play act as if you are just pretending.

Remember before you join the long snaking queues that you really don’t have a head for heights. Then ensure you sit behind the children so they cannot see how strongly you are holding onto everything you can. Just get me down, oh nooooooooooooooo!

If the day is scorching hot, it hit 41.5 degrees in Bavaria, then ensure you go on as many of the log water rides as possible for a free soaking. Beware the cost of bottle water in these amusement parks. After selling one kidney and buying one bottle of water for each of us, we noticed the water drinking fountains where people were filling up empty bottles for free. Head gear is also useful and any cinema style inside attraction is a boon on such a  a hot day. Such cinema style attractions also have the advantage at not propelling me at muzzle velocity, perilously high in the sky! And finally, don’t forget to pack the headaches tablets, you know the super strength ones!

Roadtrip Lake Garda and Bruised Shins

 

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Carefully shoveling everything back into the car we headed off to the rocky shores of Lake Garda. A lake along the banks of which Emperor Claudius defeated Germanic tribes and where Napoleon gave the Austrian army a bad away day. To follow were the battles of the ‘I’m not walking that far’ and ‘what are we doing?’. The route took in Innsbruck and the increasingly mountainous scenery as we ploughed on southwards. The children were fascinated by the mountains and stopped looking at their ipads and tablet etc., for…oh, about 2 seconds!  400km of a beautiful route to drive. The Brenner bridge over the Brenner pass. At 180 meters I declined to look to much at the stunning views, being the pilot, even when invited by the navigator. Although it was late June we did not encounter an real traffic jams or marmalades or other confiture.

For Italy we did not have to purchase a vignette, which was pleasing. Less pleasing was the way the road tolls racked up in Italy. Eventually making the  vignettes look good value! At Trento we left the motorway for the sake of our pockets and to better get a feel of the place on lesser roads.And there it was, diamond lights sparking on the surface of Lake Garda. We took the quite road down by the lake to Bardolino which snuggled on the east coast of Garda. Ah…Vacansoleil and our accommodation beckoned. The SR249 is not Russian spy plane, but the funky designation for the road which bisects this camp. I had a choice, pull in on the right and check in. Off course wrong, two receptions, back in the car back on the road and into the left-hand reception. A strange set up as the SR249 (or on alternating Tuesdays, the BR696) was a tad busy and there were many, many families with young children. Later after traversing the road we found out that there is a tunnel connecting the landlocked camp and the shore side area. The tunnel is a cycle and Llama free zone, but cars can go there, too. Super!

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The shins explained and our accommodation. After being read the rules we were led to our chalet. Small timber built chalets packed close together amongst very large mature trees.After coating the car in vaseline I just about managed to slip it in next to our chalet, up to the back of the neighbour’s chalet and a big knobbly tree. With children fleeing the car technology in hand we unpacked suitcases and the staggering volumes of blankets and divans. A timber sitting area is traversed and we’re in. Having once visited Chatham naval dockyard on a family visit, and having been aboard an Oberon class diesel-electric submarine , I wasn’t unduly shocked. It was tight. A tiny kitchenette was passed to get to the children’s room which was snugly snug and stifling in the heat. As for the bathroom, well just don’t turn round. If you drop the soap, leave the bathroom and come back in on your knees. Our room was an emaciated double bed with steel legs. Hardly enough room was left to go alongside the bed or get to the tiny wardrobe. Hence the oft repeated, ‘Oh gosh I seem to have hurt my shin again darling, what a clumsy soul I am”.

The camp was packed, noisy and the pool was old fashioned and undersized. An onsite camp shop was not the cheapest, but the supermarkets 10 minutes drive away were very good value.The entertainment reminded me of camps in England as a boy.Noooo! But our  submarine sized hut was merely a staging post for amusement parks, sightseeing Sirmione and Verona.