The next morning found us crossing yet another border in search of creds and this time it was time to check out the Czech Republic.
Day 14 – Merlin’s Kinderwelt
One of the more last minute changes of our itinerary was the inclusion of this park. Czech were the last of the countries we visited on this trip to alter their rules from an absolute ban to ‘everyone’s welcome now, yay’ and the news had come in during one of our daily rundowns back in France.
It’s about the closest thing the country has to an ‘amusement park’ at the moment and sits right on the border with Austria.
Context shot, though this is one of many entrances that we didn’t use, I believe it leads to the indoor section. The park is all part of a larger complex called Excalibur City which includes a casino, mall and Asian supermarket. You can seemingly park pretty much anywhere you want and just wander in from any direction, but the outdoor section is where the good stuff lives.
There are a couple of token machines dotted around each area, taking cash only (Koruna or Euro) and not giving change. Most of the rides are unattended and operated as and when required, so before buying anything we made our intentions known to a wandering staff member, who gave the slightest of positive indications that he could run what we wanted.
And what we wanted was this poor beast, #1 Sliding Caterpillar. He’s tired and obviously had a hard life, but evidently couldn’t be happier. The train barely makes it up the first helix and then gets rather rowdy in the second half.
The other coaster lives over in a second outdoor section, across a road, the entirety of which was patrolled by an especially friendly staff member who pointed us in the direction of a second token machine and subsequently fired up the ride for us.
#2 Space Roller Coaster, a classic Golden Horse Space Car. Well, not so classic for Europe I guess. This one also ran like a beast.
And with that, the park was complete, along with the country, from a twisted point of view. Plopsa have sunk their teeth in and are opening a Majaland at some point in the near future and they have about 20 alpine coasters in various forms, but who needs a Czech alpine coaster when you can have a Slovak alpine coaster?
The original plan for this transit day to Poland, before the good news, had been just to pick up anything, anything at all in Slovakia to add to the list and see the day out. By Google’s calculations there was still time to do just that, particularly as we had just killed the first park in under 15 minutes of their operations.
What ensued was an endless sequence of yet more European roads letting us down, being overly congested, full of roadworks and generally irksome and so yet again, after a mere 6 and a half hours, we arrived at our destination with just moments to spare.
No-Fun Park Žiarce
Except those spare moments had been used by the operators of this single rail alpine coaster to pack up and go. It was bizarre and a little frustrating that we weren’t the only car full of expectant riders showing up at the last minute only to find we had missed out by mere moments. The staff were already completely blanking a larger group of disgruntled guests who had also arrived in front of us, as they began their winding down procedure.
Having physically suffered somewhat on route, we made a beeline for their toilets instead, which they next tried to lock us out of, all the while acting as though we simply didn’t exist. They lost that particular battle and instead of finishing the job just jumped on a moped and rode off into the sunset.
Almost in mock fashion, several more cars were still pulling into the car park, with many locals getting out and subsequently being disappointed as we sadly strolled back to our own car. I’d estimate they could have had at least another 20 paying riders that evening but obviously closing time is very strict for this particular establishment and not at all influenced by footfall.
Here’s one photo of Slovakia at least, facing away from the wretched place. Oh look, there’s another car rocking up too.