Today began with a visit to Papéa Parc, a small park located near the town of Le Mans, the town World famous for being home to the Le Mans 24 hour endurance races.
On route to the park I had a great time watching all the various aircraft flying in and out of the town, no doubt on track related duties. The highlight was getting to see the Goodyear airship again after watching it fly over my head on the way home from work just a couple of months before.
The first coaster of the day would end up being the first of far too many Wacky Worms on this trip. I forgot to take a picture of this one but rest assured that there’s more than enough to come.
Chenille was riding really badly, almost as if it didn’t have wheels. It was intensely vibrating and louder than a B&M invert. Oh and it kept starting and stopping randomly on the lift. I’m not sure this caterpillar is going to last another winter…
Up next was the imaginatively named Roller Coaster, a Zierer Tivoli that looked brand new and this time was installed on concrete instead of the usual “in some trees” setting, I quite liked it.
I spent the entire ride sliding about in a car to myself while practicing the Soquet shuffle, and I liked that too.
We’d just ticked off 2 of the 3 things we visited the park for in less than 20 minutes, so we decided it would be best to slow down a little and check out some of the other attractions at the park. This would come back to haunt us…
The first of which was La Grande Roue, the park’s Ferris Wheel, which offered nice views of the park and surrounding area all while also setting the mood by blasting party music. There was some kind of event on today, despite the park being almost empty, and it would culminate with an “exceptional concert” later in the day.
La Rivière Enchantée was the next and final of the “might as well” rides we stumbled upon. It was a slow moving boat ride past pretty scenery and gnomes, operated by a friendly Irish man. Isn’t it nice to find time to relax in parks these days? If only we knew what was going to happen…
Train de la Mine
Another day, another Soquet.
I’m pleased to say that after the slight let down of Dragon Chinois, that the French boys were back on form today and that I had a great time in the deep seats of Train de la Mine.
With that our visit to Papéa Parc came to an end, but not before we’d accidentally walk past the “exceptional concert” in all of its glory.
One man on a small stage DJ’ing for a crowd of 4 people, who weren’t paying attention, while 2 people, we think his parents, were sitting on the stage infront of him, also not paying attention, and it was at that exact moment that I knew in my heart that I liked Papéa Parc. A chilled morning of fun rides and a nice atmosphere indeed ending with an exceptional concert.
The second park of the day would be Festyland, another small family park, located around 2 hours from Papéa Parc. We were still doing great for time in our minds so once again foolishly opted to take things slow.
2 Soquets back to back, are you teasing me?
Drakkar Express was great fun, adding a little bit of intensity to the expected and excellent sliding around experience I demand from my Soquets. The coaster also looked fantastic, with a nicely themed station and queueline and well presented coaster section.
Now though it was time for the main event. All the Soquets that came before it were merely warm ups compared to the might of 1066. The tallest (jointly) and fastest (probably) non travelling (we will get back to that) Soquet in the World!
Themed to the well documented moment in history when William The Conqueror defeated Harold Godwinson and conquered England by deploying a large ram onto the battlefield. The coaster’s station contains the actual Bayeux Tapestry as well as a wheelbarrow used during the battle itself.
Joking aside, 1066 is awesome and it was great to see the boys at Soquet dabble with adding more speed and intensity to their layouts, this coupled with the picturesque setting made for a great experience. I’d love to have gotten another lap in but as you’ll find out soon things didn’t go to plan.
Park complete and time to spare we decided just like at Papéa Parc to experience some of Festy’s “might as well” attractions. The first of which was Eretic, a large Zamperla frisbee flat ride that was pretty great and offered good positives and plenty of airtime moments.
The next and final would be Kaskade, an elevator lift Zamperla rapids ride that intrigued us offride by how insanely fast the boats were spinning as they made their descent.
While queuing, 20 minutes if I remember rightly, we all got chatting about the park schudule over the coming days. There was 1 park that Heartline couldn’t place on any day, it was Ange Michel and it was about to cause us a world of hurt.
Kaskade was indeed insane and span us to the point of uncontrollable laughter.
While me and Heartline’s wife were laughing, discussing the previous peril and examining the damage as we got off of Kaskade, Heartline himself launched off into the distance with a look of pure panic on his face. When I managed to catch up to him I asked him what was wrong, “we need to leave, we should be at Ange Michel…”.
With that we all left the park as fast as we could and made our way back to the car. Time for some maths… If we leave right now, we will reach Ange Michel 15 minutes before it closes…
Clearly that wasn’t the best of plans, so we began frantically moving things around to make sure Ange Michel could happen, not because we really wanted to visit the park, more so because we took it personally that we’d made such a stupid mistake.
After we confused ourselves for 10 minutes and still got nowhere, Heartline remembered something I mentioned earlier. There was an alpine coaster not too far from here, so let’s put a pin in Ange Michel and get the second bonus cred of the trip.
Oh wait yeah, Festyland, I enjoyed it, nice park, fun rides and a chilled atmosphere, now let’s break out of here.
The sat nav took us on a brutal drive to Clécy Gliss, up many tight single track mountain roads before it finally took us to effectively a dead end. Half a mile from the “park” we were faced with another single track road, a 30% decline and this time a no entry sign.
As tempting as it honestly was to ignore the sign we thought better of it and decided to leave the car at the top of the hill and continue on foot. It became apparent just how steep this hill was as we shuffled down it, the real challenge would be getting back up though, but that’s for future me to worry about me.
At the bottom of the hill we found the alpine coaster, named Clézy Gliss and almost nothing else.
Clézy Gliss would be our first Brandauer made alpine coaster, we had more planned for later in the trip so this would be a nice introduction to the new set up. More so because the layout was nothing special and was basically a series of zig zags back down the hill.
So how was it? Was it better than a Wiegand? Well yes and no. Yes because the single rail aspect made everything feel even more unsafe than a Wiegand and yes this is a plus point. No because the design of the Brandauer cars made it very hard for someone with short arms to operate the controls properly. We would become aware later in the trip when we rode another Brandauer that when single riders use the cars a booster backrest needs to used, so actually this was Clécy Gliss’ fault, so actually Brandauers are better than Wiegands and I’ve just wasted everyone’s time.
Thanks for reading, click here for day 3, where we visit La Récré des 3 Curés, Kingoland and the first of many Summer Funfairs, Luna Park La Palmyre.