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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Anniversary Celebration @ Hansa Park

Since we couldn't celebrate our anniversary on the day of, due to some poor flight booking on Tom's part, we chose to celebrate it the two previous weekends. On the first weekend, we decided to take a Friday off so that we could have the weekend to celebrate.  Frivolous, I know, but it's not like we were getting paid or anything.  The original plan was to take a weekend trip somewhere, but all of our plans fell through (couldn't find accommodation, getting there was expensive, etc. etc.).  Instead, we decided to simplify our lives and take a day trip up to this amusement park on the Baltic Sea, called Hansa Park.  Friday threatened rain, so we decided to go Saturday instead.  Friday, we took it easy.  We went downtown by the lake and got breakfast at a bakery.  Fed some to the ducks and geese who all fought over it.  Then, we went to a great bookstore with an English section and skimmed book after book.  It was divine. 

 For lunch we got yummy, cheap Mexican (which didn't taste like Mexican, of course) and ice cream.  Then, we got a few groceries and hopped on some of the bike's I talked about in this post.  Our plan was to ride them to a movie theater and buy tickets for that night, then return them to the bike station outside a nearby metro stop.  Well, half way there my bike randomly decided it was done with peddling.  Yeah, the pedals just stuck in place.  Luckily, we had the extreme fortune to be just passing another bike station, so we dropped it off there.  We were going to just get a different bike and continue, but of course that station was completely not working.  So, we just walked.  Then, our plans were further destroyed because the movie theater only showed movies with German dubbing + the only ones we wanted to see were in 3D (which we hate) + it was super expensive.  Instead, we took the metro to the main station, bought tickets for the next day's excursion and spent the rest of the night, quietly at home.  This last part is what I mean when I say that living abroad does not always mean excitement.  Sometimes it means staying home because you can't watch a movie in English.

The next day, early in the morning, we headed off to Hansa Park!!!  It was a glorious trip from start to finish.  Can't say enough good things about it.  We love amusement parks and it had been too long.  The main thrill ride at Hansa is called Fluch von Novgorod (the Curse of Novgorod).  We, naturally, headed there first.  It was AMAZING.  Writing about a ride can never do it justice.  But, I would have to say that this is now probably my favorite ride ever.  The theming is all creepy Bavarian scarecrows and dungeon style.  It's very well done.  I was legitimately unnerved just walking through to the line.  When we went for the first time, the line was so short that we basically walked right on.  So, after being unnerved from the theming, I didn't even have time to prepare myself before being strapped in and not having the choice to back out.   

The ride starts off taking you past this ghostly knight who sings the story of the Curse of Novgorod opera style, which was even more awesome because we had no clue what he was saying.  Mystery makes it better.  Then the grim reaper says some stuff, then this door opens and you take a steep drop into the pitch black.  Before you have time to collect yourself you shoot straight forward toward a wall at a REALLY high speed.  Like, probably faster than any other ride I've been on.  Before you hit the wall, you take a fast turn and are outside.  As soon as you are outside, you are speeding uphill, then take a very big steep drop.  This is three things all at once and each one happens before you collect yourself from the last one.  This situation produces, in Tom, the most ridiculous laugh!  He really just starts this fast, convulsive laugh that is utterly infectious.  He does this on all the rides, but this one most of all.  So great.  Anyway, so after that drop you twist and turn a bunch of different directions and in spirals, etc.   Then, you go into the building you see below...

It takes you 90 degrees, straight up, slowly.  Then, you drop at a more than 90 degree angle.  Like, it bends back in on itself.  Crazy.  Off the drop you speed through several other twists, turns and smaller drops in complete darkness before the ride comes to an end.  If you'd like, you can see what I mean here.  But, of course, it doesn't come close to doing it justice.  It doesn't look that scary in the video.

There were many other fantastic attractions at the park, but our two other favorites were probably the swings and the ropes course.  The swings was just like swings at any other park, except that instead of sitting in a loose seat and flying in a circle near the ground, you do in really high in the air.  It was terrifying and liberating at the same time.

The ropes course was long and challenging and really interesting.  We both love physical stuff like that.  After we finished, we felt like we had just worked out and our hands were all calloused.  There was this little 6 year old kids that kept up with us the whole time though, which totally put us to shame.

The whole day was AMAZING.  We would go to amusement parks every day if we could and this one was one of the best.  

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