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I was taken to this park during a recent visit to France. Its only half an hour fron the border, so if you are visting Alsace (or north Switzerland)its well worth the short trip. It is a bit difficult to find, road signs could do with being a bit clearer. Parking is pleantiful, but is NOT free. (Remember to purchase a car park token before leaving.) The park itself is sizeable, and themed on the various European nations. Each has its own area, some more contrived than others. It was all a bit tacky based on hackneyed national stereotypes...British beefeaters, Spanish flamenco dancers, Vikings etc... Piped music throughout was annoying...there is only so much Swiss/German 'umpah!' music you can put up with when in a ride queue! The rides themselves are varied and pleantiful. Only two stand out: Eurosat, a high speed in-the-dark rollercoaster situated in a large golf-ball...(beware the sudden stop at the end!) and 'Mir'; an original spirally spinning roller coaster. Queues were often long, but with typical German efficiency were processed quick. Mir has numerous carriages operating simulataneously, so don't be put off by the queues. The park was spotlessly clean, it has pleasant landscaping, the food was edible if unexciting and the staff pleasant! The main drawback was the size of the place. Very extensive and with some dead-ends (especially the Scandinavian section). There are readily available trains which helps, but you can be sure that the kids will drag you around until exaustion! A pleasant day out...but we have better in Britain...Blackpool and Southport offer more in the way of excitment in a more compact area. If only they were as clean!
I've been driving a 1.6 Focus Ghia Saloon for about six months and have not been dissapointed in it. Initially on my choice of car; I test drove and compared nine others (Rover 45, Toyota Corolla and Avensis, Citroen Xsara, Renault Megane and Scenic, Chrysler Neon, VW Golf and Seat Cordoba). Only the Focus was I immediately comfortable and impressed with! Its comfortable...seat can be moved to suit all, easy to get into without knocking knee on on trim (Rover take note!); responsive...just takes roundabouts with a roll of the wrist on the steering wheel and acceleration just a feather touch on the pedals, and practical...nice touches throughout...CD contols on the steering column, arm rest, good dashboard layout,large boot, collapsible seats. Economical...as good as my old Escort which I swore by! Whats more, it impresses others! I've lost count of the time work colleagues and passers-by in car parks have commented on the vehicle! Definately, the saloon looks more stylish than the 'fat-arse' hatchback. Complaints....well the absence of a rear wiper, the difficulty in getting coins out of the coin holder, the automatic 3-wipe smearing the windscreen when you use the washer is a pain when you run out of water, and the sun visor hits my forehead. As you can see, only trivial complaints..so its all good. Get one, but import it! Update Feb 2004: After 3 years and 60,000 on the clock I can still say that my initial satisfaction has been surpassed by its onging relaibility and comfort. Brake pads and tyres have been changed, everything else is still as bought and running fine. I do drive other cars occasionally, but it always a pleasure to return to the driving seat of the Focus. I have yet to find another car that feels so comfortable. As for the styling of the saloon that many have expressed as odd?I still fine it appealing....each to their own I suppose.
Just finished the latest of Iain Banks's 'M' books. Although I loved all the others, some immediately, some eventualy, I cannot say the same for this. Two loosely interwinded stories, mascarading under the misleading "sci-fi" title. It's basically a medieval warlord type novel. Ok, so there are two suns...hardly sci-fi. (And it may be a culture novel...so to you anoraks, i failed to see that). Very dissapointing...the ending basically a cop out, inviting the reader to re-read to see what he/she may have missed. Sorry Iain, I really can't be arsed.
I was planning to take the family to see the Dome....but after costing the trip I decided not to bother. £57 for entry, the cost of a 500 mile round trip (especially with the cost of petrol!)....we decided to spend it on several days out locally in the north-west! Not that cost was the only deterring factor....if I had decided to drive down...there was no where to park!....advice given was to park outside and use public transport in.....sorry after driving 4+ hours down south, the last thing you want to do is mess about on an unfamiliar local transport system! However, I did get the chance to visit the Dome myself when I was recently down in London...and I'm glad I didn't bother bringing the family. Initially, I was astounded by the size of the architecture....the building itself is certainly something this country should be proud of...think of it as equal to the Eifell Tower or another major monument. However, the content was dissapointing. Yes, there are many interesting exhibitions inside...but an equal amount of bland and incredibly dull features. Two things came to mind...the over presence of sponsorship names, and the loss of opportunity to show the history of this country over the last millenium. With all the 'controversy' of the content beforehand...it appears they have opted for the least 'offensive' PC approach...the consequence being that many exhibitions were insipid and bland. I can't say that I would miss the contents when the exhibition closes...but the building should have a future!
Update: 2006 closed down...a sad loss! Its owners, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, picked through the bones taking the best ride (Traumatiser) for its own park. Although the site has been leased out to new owners for 2007/8, I have yet to visit. I doublt it could have retained its previous appeal
Just ask my daughter what she thinks of Pleasureland. Each and every time we go...its first in, last out! Its a great place and superb value. It is expensive during the school vacations, but even £12.99 for a 'white knuckle' wrist band is excellent value. Try out of season or obtain one of the many reduced price offers or vouchers for even better value.
They even do a season ticket now...which is excellent value for the 'frequent flyer'. Or go late in the day...get late afternoon and early evening for reduced rates!
As for the rides themselves...well it can't compete with the likes of US parks but there is an excellent choice. TraumaTizer...its pure evil ...and wonderful! Chaos...simply puke making...excellent! Mistral...looks tame but great fun! But combine the new rides with old favorites, including Dodgems, the Cyclone roller coaster& the best helta-skelter and swing-boat around, and there is such a variety....its hard to get bored. Even if you do...just go out into Southport for a while then return later on. Your wrist bands will still be valid!
But the best thing for families with 'suidcidal tendancy' kids is all the rides (including TraumaTizer) are available to all whose height is over 1.30m....very unusual!
Disadvantages, well its a bit scruffy....a few extra cleaners would not go amiss. Toilets improved recently!
And its a bit of a rip to find the waltzers and now the renovated fun-house are additional cost!
Despite these.....well worth the trip again & again!
Update June 2001.
The site has tidied up a bit since last year. (Shame about the smell from the skips under the cyclone rollercoaster.)
New ride imported from Morecambe is King Solomans Mines, a "wild mouse" style rollercoaster. Probably the most uncomfortable and painful ride I've been on.
No other changes except for the price. £13.99 for a white knuckle wrist band. Again they have the evening cut price band
..good value if the park isn't too busy.
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! I have never felt so relieved as surviving a after a Nigerian Airways flight. The feel of tarmac uder my feet has never felt sweeter! Never have I known such a fearful experience! Where do I start?....the surly and rude inflight staff? Them who would not help in finding a seat , nor willing to eject those inacapable of understanding the basic concept of 'seat allocation! Those who providing even a glass of water was a major inconvenience, or even those that decided to smoke during take off!!!!!! What about the plane....decrepit or what?....I tried three seats before take off...one arm rest collapsed, one back collapsed, and i took off next to a window with a distinct crack in it. Luckily this partly distracted me from the clunking noise the starboard side engine was making on take off! The plane itself was filthy, food inedible, and as for the toilets I'd wished I'd overdosed on Imodium before the flight! Never, never, never, never again!
Aeroflot....Aeroflop....if you have ever travelled on this you will see such a variation in service. I flew Bangkok to London via Moscow, an the difference in the services was Jeckle and Hyde. Bangkok to Moscow (via Bombay)... antiquated ex-soviet airline...stewardesses as rejects fom previous soviet shot-putt teams and stewards as escapees from the local Gulags. Stop off at Bomaby...'first class'; full of 'soviet' diplomats each with what appears to be a million tons of 'duty free' electrical goods. Service apalliing , food ...if you like beetroot and dumplings...great. Moscow - London.....new Airbuses, attractive stewardesses,meat for inflight meals!..a nice flight so long as you don't mind sharing it with umpteen Indian illegal immigrants / asylum abusers. Overall...an experience...but really cheap!
Excellent airline....friendly, unpretentious, and true to ozzie tradition will ply you full of the amber nectar throughtout the flight. Great service, great entertainment (both visual and audio). Even if the stewards are as bent as corrugated iron, you cannot fault this service. Great for kids, inflight mags, freebies and trips to the flight cabin. Great for adults....pissed to the limits! Food fine! The price..well i've yet to find better. Flown UK to both far east and Australia , prices below £500..excellent! Definately check out the prices to Oz and other destinations!
I was reluctant to fly Gulf after bad experiences with arab airlines..namely Saudi and Egypt Air....but what a pleasant surprise. Cabin crew are European and Oriental...so expect a high level of efficieny and service. Food reasonable, entertainment good and alcohol supplied as requested! I was frequently flying from the Middle East to Far East and found the amount and timing of flights far superior to any other airline. So much so that on Muscat-Bangkok flights I changed to Gulf from Thai International. (it avoided that awful stop in Karachi!) Although, travelling from Europe, you will expect some long waits connecting if you are travelling onto Asia. Thats OK if you are in Dubai or Abu Dhabi as there they are good airports with opportunities for some serious duty free.But avoid Muscat if you can! Bahrain is excellent too; and I received wonderful service from Gulf in Bahrain (albeit slow -but accept it thats their way!) with a free Hotel & transport overnight. From Europe, terminating in the Middle East I found it far superior to any 'stop-off' airline. You are not waiting for incoming flights from Asia and so Gulf tend to suffer less delays. However, they were less relaible than British Airways. Prices tend to be a bit more expensive...about 15% more than Asian Airlines, but comparitive or cheaper than most European. Go for it!
For the last couple of years I ahve been using Vienna as a connecting airport wherever possible. It is much preferable to coneecting through Heathrow or Schipol. I have used Austrian Airlines on numerous occasions after connecting from thier partner airline Lauda. I must say they are a very good airline. Nothing fancy, no hype....just a pleasant, efficient and very understated airline. They have numerous connections throughout Europe and beyond. Although without the volume of traffic the major airlines offer, if you have flexibilty to choose your times...go for it. You may be pleasantly surprised. Price...well I've found them competitive, even cheap with some deals to Eastern Europe and North Africa. The only drawback....please get a new uniform for the hostesses. All in red (especially the stockings) can be just too much for the bleary eyed traveller!
So what can be said about Singapore Airlines that hasn't already been said! Yes they are good....clean, modern, efficient, comfortable. I've flown them many a time and always found this to be true. BUT...recently, both work colleagues and I have noticed a distinct decline in their service, particularly on the ground. Many mistakes have been made with bookings, connections, etc. giving many causes for complaint. Yet their attitude to this criticism was appalling.It is if they are believing their own hype too much. "We are Singapore Airlines, we are great, we win lots of awards....we cannot be wrong!" I'm afraid that if they continue to behave in such a patronising way then they will soon be landing on their smug faces! I will certainly consider continuing to fly SA, but they will not be my automatic choice out of Singapore any more.
Any Manchester traveller who needs connecting flights, but is sick of those huge monstosities of Heathrow and Schipol? Then check out Lauda flights to the compact and efficient Vienna. Prices are competitive, and in partnership with Austrian Airlines, there are many useful connections to Europe, N.Africa and the Far East. Ok, so there are not that many flights between Man-Vie, but if you are not tied to a certain time or date....check it out! As for Lauda itself; its inflight service is friendly, classy yet unfussy, and with good (for airline) food. Ground staff are both polite and efficient. Recommended!
If there was an Olympic event for the worst airport on the planet, assuming Berbera and Mogadishu in Somalia don't compete, then Lagos would be guarenteed gold medal each and every four years! I first visited there 10 years ago and was thoroughly abused, ripped off, and glad to get out of the place with most of my possesions intact! Much has been said recently on how the Nigerian authorities have clamped down on this..but during a recent visit I saw absolutely no sign of this. It was an official muggers haven then, and still is now. Trust no-one, baggage searchers, security guards, money changers, 'taxi drivers', 'guides' etc... If you hear the words "my friend"...act with extreme caution! It is a prelude to those infamous words "what have you got for me!" In the words of the X-files...TRUST NO ONE! Must you travel there,then a few tips: 1) Don't carry any expensive items such as cameras, radios, stereos etc. if you must..then try and dirty them up...apply electrical tape, plasters, string, sellotape, or anything to give the appearance of being old and decrepit. 2) Don't carry any hard currancy. If you have to..secrete it well on the person. If you have any left over currancy from holidays in Turkey or places where notes have lots of zeros on them ....fill your wallet with them! It will keep the 'officials' happy ...until they try to exchange them! 3) Keep credit cards safe....I have known people lose these on exit to the country. Advice is fill your wallets with video club cards, frequent flyer cards, supermarket loyalty cards, and the like...they will act as decoys. 4) Many will lose face if they can't extract something of value from you. They will want to get something of value, no matter how small.A packet of duty free or cheap cigarettes left at the top of a bag is a small sacrifice. Additionally, batteries have become popular...advice is keep used batteries and ret
urn to the original packaging. Again leave them in an easy to find place. They will go!(especially popular in Port Harcourt airport!) If you have a major item likely to go walkabouts, cause a fuss...they will usually back down! (Don't try this with the police if stopped outside the airport!) Above all, don't get into a major argument over trivial items, it is their country (as they will undoubtably remind you)and there is little you can do against organised and systematic looting! If ever you are unfortunate enough to have to visit this place....stay calm and good luck!!!!
On a recent business trip, I travelled on EA, connecting at Addis Ababa. Having travelled throughout Africa and on African airlines, with numerous bad experiences, I was daunted at the prospect. However, the planes were new and well maintained. Food was acceptable (by airline standards). As for the staff I found them both efficient & friendly...both in the air and on the ground. The organisation at AA airport and providing transport to and from the hotel (overnight stay provided by EA) was exemplary. Bravo..!