Wednesday, May 17th
PortAventura and Barcelona
Wednesday was the last full day of the trip. We'd taken the overnight train from Granada to just shy of Barcelona, which didn't cause me to get a very restful night of sleep. The train rocked quite a bit more than I thought it would, but at least I got more sleep than if I was sitting up in a regular seat.
We arrived at Tarragona, then purchased tickets to the PortAventura train station. This was the first place of the trip where we'd encountered things being written in Catalan, which is almost like a Spanish/French mixed language. Having not had breakfast, I got a bag of cheese curls and a frozen orange drink (which I ended up throwing out because it tasted horrible!). Soon enough, we were ready to board the train that went directly to PortAventura, which took less than 15 minutes to get there. By the time our train got there, we had lots of time before the park opened. First, we wandered through Hotel El Paso, which seemed very nice! Then we stored our backpacks in a locker (only 4E for two huge backpacks, two smaller day packs plus a merchandise bag) and got our park tickets. We were able to get well into the park before reaching a blocked off area, and within about 15 minutes, the park was open.
"Welcome to PortAventura!"
...or "Welcome to Universal Mediterranea!"...whichever name you prefer!
Our first stop was Sea Odyssey since we didn't really know what it was. I was hoping that it would be a *real* submarine adventure, but of course it wasn't.
It ended up just being a simulator, and what's worse is that it was one of those simulators where the room is stationary but just the seats move. Ugh...I was happy when it was over since those type of simulators border on making me motion sick. A good part of it was in English though, so I was able to at least piece together the story line.
Heading further into the park, we stopped for our Tami Tami credit.
Happy Tami Tami riders
Cha-ching! Another roller skater credit!
We also paused to admire the exquisite theming and landscaping. You can definitely tell that it used to be a Universal park.
From there, we went back into the China themed area to ride Dragon Khan. The entire way there, we didn't see it cycle at all, so we were worried that it was closed, but it wasn't. When we got to the station, they were just about to dispatch, so we only had to wait through one train, and snagged seats in the front row. Then the ride op did something I'd never seen...two people came up and stood behind Kevin and I, wanting to wait one more train so they could ride in the front row...and the ride op absolutely refused to let them wait while there were still empty seats elsewhere in the train! Their argument was in Spanish, so I only caught bits and pieces, but the couple wasn't very happy about it. I'm not sure what the big deal is about letting people wait??
Anyway, the ride was really intense! It was a great ride, but bordered on too intense for me in places. It shook around a bit, and while Kevin said he thought it was rough, I wouldn't exactly say it was that rough. My ears got boxed a tad, but not too badly. Inversion after inversion was awesome, but by about inversion number 5 or 6, I was just really wanting a nice bunny hill or something hehe. The coaster kept it's speed really well though, flying through the MCBR without so much as a graze.
Kevin got some popcorn at that point, but when we tried to go into the wild west themed area of the park, it was still closed for another 15 minutes or so. So, starving from not having had any breakfast on the train...
I decided to get a egg and potato bocadillo thingie...ugh, Spanish food sucks so bad. It was soggy from ketchup, and was cold, just like every other egg dish I saw in the whole country. I managed to choke down a little over half of it before offering the rest to Kevin.
Soon the entire park was open, so we rode El Diablo Tren de la Mina next.
We waited FOR EVER to get a couple of action shots of the coaster, then managed to ride it twice in a row - once in the front, once in the back (the back was light years better).
Passing on the one-of-a-kind drop tower (that looked pretty much like any other drop tower to us), Serpiente Emplumada caught our eye. It was some evil looking spinning flat ride that had colorful theming on every square inch of it, so we decided to ride.
It was fun, but Kevin was very ready for it to be over by about halfway through the ride!
Please don't take off your clothes during the ride, thank you.
Finally we made it back to the wild west area, where the first ride we came to was Tomahawk. This was a fun little woodie with some sort of painful laterals. Nothing to write home about, but it was nice.
They also only allow one person per car, so I am surprised that the wait wasn't horrific for it. After Tomahawk, we wandered around enjoying the theming...
...such as tombstones with interesting epitaphs...
...a playground with a wooden train...
...and a walk through western village with a graffiti plant!
We also had some fun in one of the gift shops, which should be no surprise to anyone who reads my TRs!
But first things first...no smoking, drinking wine or eating bocadillos in the gift shop!
Also, anyone caut stealin will be hanged!
Heeding the rules, we first wreaked a little havoc with a Donkey hat!
We were very glad that PortAventura didn't support stereotypical images of Native Americans!
"Man, I'm gonna miss watching Sesamstraße every morning once I get back to Canada."
Next up were the last yet most anticipated credits on the trip...
What can I say except that I thought it was CCI just about at their absolute finest! We both ended up loving this set of coasters! They had great airtime, felt crazy and out of control, but stayed well paced through the whole ride. And the way that the trains split, then duel, then race again was a great touch!
They were fantastic! Why do these coasters have to be halfway across the world from me?! It's not fair! haha
Kevin is scared of the chicken stampede!
Afterwards, we wandered around the western area some more, noting that it looked more like Frontierland than Frontierland does! It was definitely my favorite of the themed areas, and I believe it was Kevin's favorite too.
Even the directional signs at PortAventura are very well themed
We popped into an arcade and got a "Gogh's Workshop" sketch done...
...then we played with Shrek and Fiona.
Or should I say that Fiona played with herself?
Kevin also met Chilly Willy!
Hi I'm Kevin. I'm Canadian, eating French popcorn in a Spanish park with an American chick. Wanna have Chinese for lunch?"
Kevin spotted some multi-colored popcorn so he decided to try that, then we both took advantage of a photo op with a cowboy and a can can dancer.
I have a very interesting conversation with a can can dancer...
While Kevin stares down a cowboy for going near his rainbow popcorn!
When we were done, we walked back towards the Chinese area in hopes of having the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet for lunch. Alas it was closed when we got there, so we opted for the quick service Chinese place instead. I had a noodle dish, some bread, some Jell-O and a chocolate chip muffin, and I also purchased a refillable PortAventura sipper cup since I have a small collection of them, and it was only about a Euro more than the drink alone. The lunch was really good...the best meal I'd had in days, at that point. The seating area was within ear shot of Dragon Khan, which I only heard cycle twice during our 45 minute meal. Not sure what is up with not cycling that coaster more.
The last thing on the agenda was Templo del Fuego, which was sort of like a toned down Poseidon's Fury. The actress in the show spoke mostly in Spanish, but did say a few of the key plot points in English. There was a preshow very similar to Poseidon where there is a lock on a door, and when you turn it, an emblem is revealed and it's opened.
Then in the main show, there were tons of special effects...there were stunts, there was fire, there were pop-up skeletons...it was really really great! But then I really love Poseidon's Fury, so it was no surprise that I loved this one too. The only thing missing was a water portal.
We decided that, to end out the day, we'd take the train round trip, then head on into Barcelona for the night. On the way, we spotted a sign that said "Armadillos -->" so we went to investigate...and found another bouncing horse ride!! Yes!!!
We ended up being three for three with bouncing animal rides in Spanish parks! This was actually the lamest of the three though, since the bouncing wasn't as violent as at Parque de Atracciones, and they weren't llamas like Isla Magica They were fun nonetheless though.
Finally, we boarded the train...
Kevin does his "I'm sad to be leaving PortAventura" Dance
...but once it got to the next stop, every other person on the train got off! I guess European's aren't big on round trip train rides?? We got off near the main entrance, so we headed out, claimed our backpacks, then hiked it back out to the train station. We hopped on the next train that arrived and stayed on all the way into Barcelona-Sants, the main train and subway hub in Barcelona.